When asked; “Have you filed for divorce yet?” at a kids birthday party I was rendered speechless. My husband and I were in the middle of explaining our home extension to someone.
Luckily when my jaw is on the floor my chatty hubby is a champ at scooping up the conversation. Call me naive but just because our project has been smooth-as-double-glazed-glass, it’s not the same for all couples. Pro Tip: It helps if one half of the partnership is a project manager in construction for a living. Yup.
Advantages aside, this was a massive undertaking for a young family. We built an extension twice the size of our home and managed the build and trades ourselves (when I say ‘we’ I mean ‘Matt’).
Take our (barely) 3 bedroom, 1 bathroom 1950’s style home and add an open plan kitchen/ living area and a parent’s retreat with walk-in robe and studio/ office space. Without demolishing anything (due to our previous renovation on the original house). Plus, stick to a skinny budget yet make it look awesome.
Good thing my beloved adores his career because doing his own personal build seemed to give him extra enthusiasm. Something to be grateful for when upon his return from a 12 hour workday he would bounce into the backyard measuring, locating mistakes, figuring out how to fix them and lining up the next round of tradesmen.
Even though the Husband knows everything about building, he still included me in every single decision (even when it needed to be explained five times.) Dude has the patience of a Saint.
What really made our reno a success is teamwork. I trusted his experience with construction and he trusted mine with finishes. We worked harmoniously on design with our wickedly talented architect. The result is a completely unique home which is an amalgamation of both of our tastes. (He is drawn to modern minimalist where I lean toward vintage classic.) We settled on modern industrial with a classic twist, something we both love. Now after just a few months in our new space I would not change a single thing. What a great feeling.
But back to the initial comment which rendered me mute, I thought back to the survey I took on Houzz.com.au about couples and renovations. From the questions in the quiz I should have guessed that building and renovating is highly stressful for a lot of peeps. You know the whole; “rate the difficulty of the renovation on your relationship” type of Q and A.
Matt and I related more to this quote in the Houzz article:
“While renovating is challenging, it can strengthen relationships. Many people reported that after completing a renovation project, they now spend more time at home together, eat and cook more at home, and have more company over. A large majority of people in many countries also said they feel more comfortable, happier and more organised at home.”
Our home is finally finished. It means so much more to us than just more space for more stuff. It means our daughter will have room to play, I have a dedicated place for my business, and we will be able to host family holidays and overseas guests.
The new part of our home is warmer and brighter. I cannot say enough how much this has positively affected my mood. The renovation has completely changed our day to day lives.
I’m looking forward to being able to relax with a glass of wine in our new living room and talk about anything other than construction and design. Who am I kidding? We’ve already started talking about our next project.
Have you survived a home renovation? What was the most difficult part? What was the easiest?