Last night I was overwhelmed with the thought that our house renovation is never going to get done.
I think that feeling is stronger on this project for a few reasons, 1. We are living in the house, now in the basement apartment, but still most all our stuff is in storage, so it’s not our settled home. 2. The time of the year that we’re doing this project is the fall, going into winter. That means Thanksgiving and probably Christmas are being gravely affected by this renovation. 3. Our project has been side-tracked more than once with issues as we’ve gone along.
It’s one thing to see that schedule delay possibility on paper before you start, but another thing when the snow starts falling, (yes, up here in NW Wisconsin we’ve already had some snow!) Christmas movies are running back-to-back on the Hallmark channel, and Thanksgiving is next week with Christmas around the corner.
I now realize our whole house project will not be done by Christmas… Renovating a whole house is a lot, and compromises must be made. We actually had originally held out hope when we first started, but then we hit one snafu after another and had to keep digging deeper into the renovating.
Here’s an example of a ‘snafu’ we have had to deal with. We weren’t going to build the front porch this fall, that was going to be a next spring project before we replaced the roof next summer. But then we found it… at least 3 leaks in the attic from the roof. Dang! Waiting another 6 months to replace the roof was now out of the question.
That meant that all the additions and/or changes to the house that affected the roof would have to quickly be done this fall before the new roof could go on. Roofers really don’t like to install a roof in the snow and ice, so the pressure was on to get our roof squeezed into their crazy busy schedules before it got too late to do it this year.
For all you locals that follow along on my blog, I just have to give a very thankful shout out to our roofer, Joe Donahue of Donahue Roofing! They have been crazy swamped this summer and fall because our area got hit with a huge hail storm in June. Plus this has been a rainy summer and fall, which really messes with contractors that depend on dry days to get their jobs done. Donahue came through for us big time! First, on our 100 year old house that had to have the hail-damaged roof replaced before we could close on that sale. Then totally worked with our schedule and squeezed us in to replace the roof on this Mid-Century-to-Colonial-Revival house even though they weren’t planning to do it til next spring. To have reputable contractors that you can depend on when things don’t go as planned is such a huge relief. If you’re looking to get your roof redone, I highly recommend Donahue Roofing in St. Croix County, WI. Not only did they bend over backwards to work with our schedule, they are extremely professional, and they are very competent roofers that do it right. Thanks Joe! (and no, they didn’t pay me in any way to say that… we are extremely impressed with their work ethic and help to us!)
That made for a huge change in the schedule and budget however… It’s not how I wanted the schedule (nor budget) to go. I wanted to have more time to design and consider for the porch. Something I would have next spring. But instead, with the winter wind breathing down my neck, I had to cram it in with everything else right now and lickety split too.
This is where renovation gets hard.
When the proverbial ‘wrench’ gets thrown in the works and you have to adjust… There are constantly things that are coming up in the renovation project that demand a compromising attitude… almost daily.
If you’re thinking about renovating, I’m not trying to discourage you… I’m just trying to educate you on what it’s really like and what it feels like to bend in places you didn’t think you could. (I know it looks like a rain cloud on my title page, but I’m really not trying to rain on the parade… LOL!)
Take for instance just the other day, the fireplace insert was measured incorrectly before ordered, so when it was time for the installer to put it in place, what was supposed to be a flush mounted face, now was going to be sticking into the hearth room an inch or two.
It was either that or get a new fireplace that is smaller. The fireplace guy was willing to give us a little break in the price, because it was his error. And they are going to have a new back plate built so the gap is filled with a piece of metal. When it’s all said and done, it’ll be fine and we’ll adjust. It’s just something that we had to decide how and what we could compromise on.
If you think about it, when re-doing an existing structure every part of it is about compromise. It’s trying to make something function and/or look better, but still working with what the existing structure it. That’s what I love, (and sometimes hate) about renovating. Sometimes the compromise is really hard but it is so satisfying to hit a snafu and creatively figure out a solution. It may not be what I had originally designed but sometimes it winds up looking or functioning even better in the end.
Unlike building from scratch, where you can build it any darn way you want… with renovating it’s already there, you want to change it, but what can you really change? What has to be compromised? And how much is that going to cost?
Just like in life, in renovating, every decision has a sacrifice… time, money, something on the other side of the wall… something will be impacted (sacrificed) by every single renovating decision. Some of those compromising decisions are impossible to know ahead of time until you get into each project and uncover an issue…
So my reminder to myself? (and a tip to you…) I must be constantly willing to compromise and be creative with the possibilities and design changes that come my way during this renovation process.
You can click on this link if you’d like to read more about our Mid-Century-to-Colonial-Revival house we’re renovating.
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This post is also found on these other sites: Between Naps on the Porch