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September 15, 2022

The Emotional Journey of Renovation – Are You Prepared?

There is a lot more to renovation than dust. 

I think I’ve written before about growing up in a home that was always being renovated. When we moved into our English Tudor home built in 1906, I was 7.

The renovations began right after that, adding a garage for my father’s cars. The top of the garage was a patio with a wrought iron railing around the perimeter. The patio soon became a sunroom with lots of windows and a walk-in fireplace.

English Tudor architecture is notoriously dark, so my parents did additions that brought more light into the house. There was a cozy den with another fireplace, a wall of windows with another patio outside; and a kitchen with another fireplace. Toward the end of their lives, they added a sunroom. It was the only addition without a fireplace. But instead, they installed a hot tub with a waterfall!

Renovation was their thing. The house was fun, comfortable, and eclectic – perfect for parties and family gatherings. They lived well. They bought and burned lots of firewood.

Entertaining and making their home into a total representation of who they were was their lifelong passion. I don’t remember a lot of drama surrounding all the renovation, but I do know it was a part of their lives they became accustomed to. Our contractors were like family members.

Very few people share my lifelong experience with renovations. Most have never done it and approach their first project with caution – which is wise. While they might have a clue about the financial investment, few are anticipating the emotional journey that comes with it.

The fun part is dreaming about what could be possible. It’s exciting to come up with the plan; then actually choosing the elements…windows, doors, tile, cabinets, flooring, lighting, colors etc. There are a lot of choices to be made. Contractors to line up and schedule. And of course, making sure you have your finances in place to get through the project comfortably.

Then it’s time to get started. I love the demolition stage because you’ve made the decision to move forward and it’s really happening! And there’s no going back. More excitement!!

After the demolition, you will start to notice there is dust everywhere. (That is if you haven’t already moved out.) You will continue to find this dust long after the renovation is finished in places you never thought to look.

This is where renovation gets fatiguing.

It’s the point where projects can begin to lag and dull everyone’s enthusiasm for living in a construction zone. Then anticipated challenges can pop up which make for tricky navigation. I find it helpful to warn my clients ahead of time about this and to stay close and guide them through the tough parts. After all, I’ve had lots of experience.

Remember that you must address anything that starts taking too much time and too much additional money with solution-oriented problem solving – not with anger or blame. Try to keep emotions out of it. Surprises happen, some of them good, some of them not so much.

The best part is when you start to see all your well-made plans come to fruition. Being finished!

Then you can start dusting.

All the best, Courtenay

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