What I wish I’d known
Apologies for my absence recently. After hitting the ground running with this blogging business, it turns out that there is only so much one human can do. My job, the renovation and having more kids than the old woman who lived in a shoe all seem to have got in the way. Seriously though, WHAT a shoe this old woman has now though. I won’t lie, it’s not been easy, I have walked very close to the edge on a number of occasions. I have cried, tossed, turned and gone fully bat shit mental at people I shouldn’t have but now the dust has settled (hmmmmm, I’ll get to that later) I can honestly say it was totally worth it. We entered into the renovation with an actual spring in our step, here we are now limping and hobbling somewhat, wiser, poorer and far less naive than we were a year ago and it got me thinking. What did I really wish I knew those 12 short months ago?
There will be dust.
Obvious right? Yes, but no one warns you about the ever appearing dust, the dust that you find down your bra at the end of the day weeks after the builders have gone. Dust really is the gift that just keeps on giving. Don’t get me wrong, I love a present as much as the next person but I’d choose any scented candle or bunch of flowers (even garage carnations) over dust bogies and perpetual grimy surfaces. I’m pretty sure there is no cure for this problem just be prepared for its onslaught!
You need to start at the end.
So, you tell yourself not to get carried away. There are more important things than soft furnishings, lighting and furniture right? WRONG, you couldn’t be more wrong. I was told by Mr Peach not to get too excited, to stop designing every room but the first fix of the electrics happens way sooner than you think and I found myself making big decisions in a rush. I never realised that at first fix you have to make final choices on the position of every socket, light fitting and for us, radiators. This means you need to have planned where your furniture will be positioned, where you will keep your small appliances in the kitchen and where your lamps will go. Think about whether you would like wall lights, once walls are plastered it’s pretty hard to then add them. At first fix for our bathroom wall lights, our electrician asked for the mirror that was going between the two lights so he could position the cables correctly. Obviously I hadn’t chosen a mirror, or the lights, or the basin at that point so felt like a right wally
You will likely want to punch your spouse in the face.
Or divorce, or dismember them and bury them in the foundations. Ok, I only thought about that once but seriously, this has been a whole other level of stress and pressure. Over the last six months despite having a really solid relationship we have always been ten seconds away from a row. Looking back now it was entirely ‘build related aggression’ or B.R.A. Finances, lack of quality time together, stress of choices and just the general strain of dealing with problems all contribute. This lead to a typical conversation about what we wanted for tea easily spiralling into I want to rip your limbs off and feed them to the dog. Ok, I’m exaggerating but you get the point. B.R.A. is the bad friend on your shoulder always pushing you toward that argument, be aware of it before you find yourself needing to dig a hole under the patio.
If it’s less than a grand you’ll think it’s a bargain.
I’m trying to remember that point at which my concept of value changed, the point at which I felt relief at something ‘only’ costing £900. Even if you don’t have expensive tastes, the costs of renovating is eye watering. Everything seems to be ‘about a grand’. Now I’m not being all ‘I remember the good old days when a curly wurly was 11p’ but seriously, when did stuff get so expensive? Which leads me to my next point…………..
You will consider selling an organ (or a child).
You know the feeling, you open up a copy of living etc and immediately covet every gorgeous piece on the page. I used to get a similar feeling about babies when we were first married. I’d see a newborn and my ovaries would immediately start clanging. Now it’s an internal interiors bell that goes off when I see something that I know would look great. Some of those extras will make your home but if buying them means an argument or any other sacrifice then wait. I wrote a (long) wish list with my most lusted at the top. I’ve only ticked a few off but you can’t have everything. Besides, I’m unlikely to get much for my gin pickled kidneys and grubby kids anyway!
You need to LOVE your builders
I have spent more time with our builders recently than I’ve spent with my friends, family and maybe even my kids. It’s no good just getting a recommendation, when you meet them you need to really like them. You will need to have difficult conversations with them, you’ll need to ask favours of them and you’ll need them to be on your side when dealing with other tradesmen. All of this is really tough unless you have a great relationship to start with. We totally lucked out with our builders, so much so that I genuinely felt sad the day they finished, hell, they even came to Mr Peach’s 40th party. Just choose wisely or you’ll be digging a bigger hole under that patio!
Happy renovating everyone