It is easy to look through blogs/instagram/pinterest and feel that everyone has a far more fabulous life than you but guess what we don’t. I have not managed to share one full room reveal yet on the blog because not one room is finished. However if you follow me on Instagram the carefully cropped tasters tell a different story. The truth is a full home renovation is hard work and expensive and even DIY is not free. When you live in that house during the renovation things get even harder. When you have a pro active toddler who wants to actively ‘help’ you with every job your brain feels like it is about to explode with how hard this is, and exhausting and never ending! Let me share with you some home truths about home renovation with a family.
1. Everything Takes Longer Than Expected
This can be said even if you don’t have a family, you strip the wallpaper from a wall only to discover that it needs re-plastering. When you do that with a toddler you have added health and safety checks, dust levels that were tolerable for you are not acceptable for the kiddos, or paint fumes, or those interesting posting holes. Then they want to help which just means that you have to make up pretend jobs for them to do before you can get on with the real work. Or you injure yourself trying to protect them. Sanding, drilling, moving the ladder are all potential noises that will wake a sleeping toddler so the amount of work and type of work you can get done in the wee small toddler free house are very limited. People come over to see what you have achieved in the 6 weeks you have been talking about working on a room and try politely to hide their disappointed faces when they see how little has actually been done in that time.
Okay maybe rubble is an exaggeration, but not too much of an exaggeration. You live there, you NEED to unpack boxes for your own sanity. You have accepted point number 1 that speed is not going to be stopping by anytime soon so you dress shelves in a room that has crumbling coving and dusty plaster walls. You hang pictures on wall that are akin to the cheap student digs you had back in the day and hang curtains in front of sash windows that are rotten through because by god you have to do something to block the draft. This styling of rubble is never more true than at Christmas because I believe that it is illegal to have Christmas with out a tree and decorations. And let’s face it when you have kiddos you can’t deny them a little Christmas bling.
Okay so you are living there and saving money on rent but without being able to step back and view the whole project you sometimes make snap decisions and then spend more money having to redo the work you have just done. You see when I bought my first house it did not have a kitchen, not even a sink but I could set up a camp area and use a screwdriver and a bucket. I also had a very classy bucket toilet. Living that way with a toddler is too hard and can lead to you pulling huge chunks of your hair out. So when we moved into our current project and there was a leaking toilet we jumped into changing it straight away and I did not take the endless hours of thought and planning into a project that I normally do and now the toilet needs to be taken out, some tiling done and the whole room re-painted. Such a waste of money.
When a project is moving slowly, really slowly. SO BLOODY SLOWLY! And you live there, and when you have a toddler you spend more ‘at home’ hours just staring at the house it can get you down. You find it hard to see achievements as you look around and see to do lists, endless to do lists.
Whereas before you had a family you could pour spare time and cash into your home children need things, mostly because they insist on growing all the time. And kids need time and that is okay they are your priority now, as it should be so things gets bumped down the list and you are constantly trying to find the balance between not letting your children grow up in rubble so that they actually get to live in the family home when you have plaster on the walls and enjoying their childhood which will be over instantly. To combat this we prioritized spaces they Sebastian needed, playroom/bedroom so he had a safe place to place that was free of exposed wires and nails. We cleared the over grown garden from thorns. The garden does not look great, it is lacking plants but at least everything there does not want to injure or kill him. We are also trying to focus on a lounge so we have a family space as a haven from the building work. Oh and they want to ‘help’ so that is interesting.
So I hope I have pulled back the Instagram curtain. I would love to hear if any of you have stories or tips to share about full on building work and kiddos.