THEY MAKE IT LOOK EASY ON TV, BUT AFTER HALF A DECADE OF HOME “IMPROVEMENT”, OUR RENO REALITY IS NO BLOCK PARTY
Trying to finish a home renovation on a budget is like playing a cross between Tetris and Pac Man. It’s like trying to build a wall and pack all the bricks and the bits and pieces in nice and neatly while, at the same time, a greedy little so-and-so takes great chunks out from under you, threatening to undermine the whole structure.
Where the chunks are missing, you race back to fill them, only to find out the yellow budget chomper is chewing away on a different section of your wall, or house, as the case may be.
Just when you think you’ll be able to finish one section of wall, that little chomper shows up in another section and you realise you have a bloody great gap in your house. Or budget, as the case may be.
We’ve been renovating for more than five years now. By renovating, I mean putting off renovating and living in a house that is part 1978 and part 2011.
When we bought the place five-and-half years ago, we went in (nail and glue) guns blazing. Walls came tumbling down, as did ceilings and insulation, and we spent three over-excited months taking our then very young offspring to a construction site every weekend while we played DIY
At the time, it seemed a good idea to only tackle the absolute necessities and get through the “first stage” of renos as quickly as possible so that we could move in and worry about the rest at a later date.
That date is yet to arrive. Like any sentence that starts with “it seemed like a good idea at the time”, it probably wasn’t.
With a limited budget left and several areas that need attention, the second stage of the reno is turning into a slow process, primarily because, as any homeowner knows, one job leads to another – which leads to another.
I realise now that a reno will never be finished – not as long as you live in the place anyway. Especially when you have kids... the walls are no longer Antique White USA and have instead turned more of a Muddy Mississippi, as have the carpets.
While hubby and I argue over priorities (his is new bathrooms, mine is a trip to Hawaii), the renos completed five years ago are coming due for a refresher anyway.
At the rate we’re going, we’ll just have to start all over. Which begs the question: Why bother with stage two at all? We may as well just go to Hawaii – swap laying carpet for a flower lei – and sell the house in another decade’s time as a “fixer upper”.