Back when V and I first embarked on our house hunt, we talked about the idea of buying a true fixer-upper. As is the case with most couples, we were watching a lot of HGTV and our heads were filled with images of farmhouse-chic mudrooms, exposed beams, and on-suites. During our nightly (and daily) joint searches of the new listings in our area we would rationalize all sorts of pitfalls in listings and grossly over exaggerate how far the money we saved would take us. I remember V saying to me, “you have to be okay with living in construction” and I confidently assured him that I would be.
The very first house we put in an offer on needed a tremendous amount of work; it was a small, traditional cape and the previous owner had been using the main floor as a yoga studio and the upstairs as her apartment. The kitchen needed to be relocated to the main floor – and that was just the tip of the iceberg – but it was reasonably priced and located in a very desirable neighborhood walking distance from the train, so we were sold.
My parents came over to see the house and after a quick (and mostly silent) walk-through my Dad famously told V, ‘this house is a tear-down. You need to start at the street and work your way back. You two don’t have time to blow your nose and wipe it – when are you going to do all of these renovations?’
He was right, between work, family, and friends, we just didn’t have the time to dedicate to a complete gut renovation.
Those blunt words from one of our biggest supporters helped to keep us grounded (and make us laugh, sorry, Dad) throughout our search, which went on for over a year. We saw everything from total gut-jobs and tear-downs to newly flipped remodels and we slowly realized that we wanted something in between, which is exactly what we wound up with.
That being said, we have been living in construction now for over a month and, true to my word, I am indeed fine with it. In fact, I’m more than fine with it because this is our house! I’m learning so much. Between painting and refinishing the floors I’ve kept myself quite busy. So far I’ve left the power tools to V and my father-in-law, but I’m confident that a tool belt is in my future.
Also, decorating is hard, you guys. It all seems like fun and games until you have to make a financial commitment to a light fixture you’ve never event met. So, clearly there is lots more to come on this front and I can’t wait to share it with you. Remember, sharing goes both ways, so feel free to leave tips and tales of your own house hunt and renovation struggles (or triumphs, hooray for triumphs!) in the comments.
It’s a beautiful life, let’s make it well-lived.