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  • Writer's pictureoriane

7 months in.

Somehow, this project started yesterday and also a lifetime ago. I imagine this is how everyone feels about their renovations. Looking back, I'm sure most say the passing of time happens in the blink of an eye and for a while I was actually saddened by the thought of finishing the house. But 7 months into this renovation and nearing the 70% mark, I can concretely say those emotions have waned.

I just want to be done.

We are at that awful, awful stage that feels very similar to the week before your wedding day: you're writing checks left and right, feeling pretty damn broke and don't have much to show for it.

Not to mention--- the stresses and fatigue associated with a sizable project are real and draining. Both Chris and I have full time, demanding jobs. Throw in the added benefits of living in the suburbs at your parents house for nearly 7 months, an hour away from the construction site and work, combined with the lingering effects of a worldwide pandemic and everyone's nerves (ok, mostly mine) are a little frayed these days.

At times, I feel like my husband and I are in a partnership running a corporation, and not in a marriage building a house.

There's a lot to be learned about relationship management as well as takeaways from that actual project.

A few notes on what we've learned in this process so far.

  1. Renovation is stressful. I've come to admit to myself and others, that this is a lot to take on, especially if this is not the only ball you juggle. I've realized that it's ok to sit at the top of your temporary staircase in your half built house and have a cry every now and then after a long day or week.

  2. Communication is key. .....But everyone communicates differently. Try and learn each persons "language" as quickly as you can. Emails are necessary (and important for legal and record keeping purposes) but setting a weekly meeting with each trade, your Architect, and your GC to trouble shoot or review information live is the most helpful.

  3. Things will change. This is stressful. Roll with the punches the best you can....

  4. Be ready for things to take longer than expected. We were told "6-8 months" when the renovation started. It's been 7. I thought we'd be out of the suburbs by about 4 months , but I think we'll be closer to 9 or 10 by the time the house is move in ready.

  5. Be ready for things to be more expensive than you expected. Pricing changes based on demand and availability with construction. You change your mind and extra cost can be incurred. The subcontractor didn't really read the plans before he bid your pantry space. There's a $600 freight shipping charge for your light fixtures. etc. etc. etc. I could go on, but there are going to be unforeseen, unplanned expenses--try not to be too surprised by them.

  6. A good team is the most important thing. They must help you make the hard decisions. They must know their jobs -- because you don't know their jobs and that's why you hired them. I am blessed to say that I love my architect who has gone SO above and beyond what most architects do these days. I also love my GC who is easy to communicate with and easy going. They are both very very different people, but good at what they do.

  7. You can't do this and "live in your house". Don't even try. It would literally be impossible. When we first started talking about the "plan" we figured we'd be able to live in portions of the house at various times through the renovation. But when you are redoing plumbing and/or electrical it doesn't really work like that. Make sure you take temporary housing costs into consideration when you are working on your budget--- and my ultimate recommendation is to try and make that temporary housing as close to the construction site as possible for frequent check ins. We didn't have this luxury, but would have saved a lot of time and stress if we had.

Preliminary take aways aside, we recognize we are incredibly fortunate to be in a situation where we can do this, and acknowledgement of this is key throughout this process!

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