Ok friends… time to get real. It’s been super fun sharing with you all the progress on our renovation thus far. I mean, who doesn’t love a good before and after? And when I show you the culmination of several days or even weeks’ worth of work in one tidy little blog post, it sure makes things feel like they were moving fast. But they weren’t. Remember when I said we would only be staying with my parents for a few weeks until the house was livable? As of my last post, it had been almost 2 months since we closed on the house.
Fair warning: this post is going to be a long one without a whole lot of “sunshine and rainbows” type of feely things. So if you can hang with that, read on my friend. If not, scroll to the end of this post and I will share some new furniture pictures… I won’t judge.
When we bought this house my husband had a job that involved him traveling a lot during the spring and fall, but he was pretty much home during the summer. Because of this schedule he was able to work on the house full time for the first few weeks. I would join him as soon as I got off work at 5:00, and we’d work until it was past everyone’s bed time. So there were a few things that did happen pretty fast. Within a week of closing we had the interior of the house almost completely painted, and we installed our custom window and door trim a few days later. The kitchen was demoed at day 12, and the floors went down just two weeks after closing.
Wham, bam, boom! And then everything stopped.
One reason was because hubby went back on the road, so he wasn’t there to keep working on the parts of the renovation that we were doing ourselves. I mean, I am DIY girl and one hell of a helper. But I’m the designer, and he’s the craftsman. There are some things that I just can’t do… or at least shouldn’t do because I can’t do as well. But the other major hold up was our kitchen. As a reminder… here is what it looked like at this point.
I’ve shared with you already how our mortgage program caused major delays in the closing process (77 days worth of delays). Well, since that mortgage is how we chose to finance the major parts of the renovation, we weren’t done dealing with its complications yet. It was still causing delays post-closing because the processes of the receiving the draws to fund the construction was painstakingly slow.
We signed off on the design for our kitchen almost immediately after closing, but we couldn’t even order the cabinets until 5 weeks later because we were waiting on funds to be released.
So picture this: you have just closed on your dream home, all you have to do is fix it up a little (ok… or a lot). You put everything you own in the garage and take your clothes, your kid, your husband and your dog to your parents. You spend every available spare minute you have working to get the house livable… I mean, it would be great to actually live in the place you’re paying a mortgage on, right? But then, the parts you can’t control (the bank and the hubs work schedule) bring everything to a screeching halt. I have control issues ya’ll… I don’t do well with that kind of thing.
The fact that there was nothing I could do to change the situation was certainly a trying experience for me personally. We’ll call it a lesson in letting go (or a lesson in letting the stress and anxiety build up inside to where the tiniest thing would set me off… but let’s not split hairs). But I think the hardest part for me was the fact that the stress of the renovation, and the anxiousness about moving into my home was compounded by the fact that my husband was away… and of course, I missed him. He had been in that job for several years, and we as a family had adjusted to his travel schedule. Not that we didn’t miss him when he was gone, but I had developed ways of focusing on other things to help pass the time.
But my whole life was kind of thrown off kilter living out of a suitcase in my parent’s spare room. Don’t get me wrong, we have a fantastic relationship with my parents, and I could not be more grateful to them for taking us in during this process. They went above and beyond to make us feel welcome, and to make us comfortable. However, going back home as an adult is never easy. I missed my space, and my sense of being somewhere that was “mine.” And without my husband there with me, nothing really felt like home.
So even though we were still at least a month away from moving in, that unfinished mess of a house became my sanctuary—my quiet place where I could go and feel at ease. Sometimes, even when I had nothing to “do” there, I would go over and just sit on the floor and drink my coffee… just to try to make it start to feel like home.
One night when I was feeling particularly frustrated and overwhelmed, my sweet mommy scooped me up and we went over to the house. We washed my bedding and make-shift made the bed in my master bedroom (even though no one was sleeping there and most of our pillows were still packed away). Then we sat on the bed in an empty room and drank wine out of a solo cup. If that isn’t love, I don’t know what is.
On the flipside, I could also go days without going by the house at all. Sometimes it was just too much of a tease, to go and look at half-finished projects and things I couldn’t change or fix. But little by little, I started decorating and furnishing. The “construction zone” phase was pretty much over, so I didn’t really have to worry about things getting dirty or destroyed. I’ve already shared our very special reclaimed mirror, and our breakfast nook furniture. Hubby made it home for a weekend, and he and my dad went and picked up our new couch we had bought for the space.
We had been making due in the old house with dilapidated hand-me-down couches that I hated. But we didn’t want to spend money on new furniture when we knew we would be moving into a new space. So couch shopping after closing was met with long-awaited excitement. However, when it comes to design and décor we have to put on our compromise caps. Although the hubs and I are perfectly aligned with some things, we are polar opposites with others. And when you just so happen to be renovating an entire house, this made for a battle or two, and some give and take on both sides. So while we agreed we wanted a brown-tone leather sectional his style with more this:
And my style was more this:
Source: Pottery Barn
But one day we were walking into Big Lots of all places (looking for patio furniture cushions I think) and walked right into this guy.
I mean if that doesn’t look like the two couches above rode off into the sunset and made a baby couch… I don’t know what does. It was the perfect blend of our two styles, and the price just couldn’t be beat. It’s not real leather, but we are a rough and tumble kind of family so it fits our lifestyle perfectly.
Other rooms were still packed full of boxes. Most had “Kitchen” in red sharpie across them, since there was still nowhere for all that to go. But having at least one space begin to feel like somewhere people might actually live was a much-needed step in the right direction for me.
Phew! If you made it all the way through this rambling, ranting mess thanks for hanging with me. Home is my sanctuary, and not feeling like I really had one during this process was much more of an emotional journey than I ever thought it would be. But I’d love to hear if you have a story to share, a time where your life just felt in shambles in some way… and you didn’t always feel like you kept it all together. Or if you do have it all together all the time, then by all means please share your secrets with this train wreck!
Up next! Now that we officially have a couch in the living room, we can actually start to decorate! I’ll be sharing my tips for decorating when you’re basically starting from scratch.