So, once again, I have left it months between this and my last post. “New Year, New Me” and all that garb…not so much.
I’ll start with an apology… The blog got lost somewhere in the rush of moving house and starting a new job at the back end of 2016. We were also on holiday for most of December instead of using the money for flooring downstairs (#sorrynotsorry, but don’t worry because karma is a bitch – I keep ripping my socks on the nails in our withered rotten floorboards).
In November last year, I was at breaking point with the house. We were living in our bedroom which was also doubling as a kitchen, lounge, office and utility room, we had no heating and zero money (I mean zero, like actually minus). It was at this point I wrote my last Five Favourites feature; a tongue in cheek look at the lows and lows of living in a renovation project.
Since that point, things have improved. We have a lounge with actual real life sofas and a kitchen with working cooking appliances and sink. Luxury. Most of this stuff is temporary until we recoup some money, but it has made life so much rosier.
And so here, just sneaking into January, is this month’s Five Favourites feature. Living in a Renovation – Take Two; a more positive take on the joys of living in a renovation and renovating in general.
ONE | ACCOMPLISHMENT
The main positive about living in your renovation is that feeling of accomplishment that comes when that next mini-project is complete. Living and reaping the rewards of each and every next step as and when you take it. Having your life made that bit more enjoyable as you manage to paint this room, tile that room, turn the central heating on.
For all the ups and downs (and more downs), that first day you get in from work and go into the lounge instead of straight to bed, or the first time you cook something as simple as a Spag Bol in your very own kitchen trumps it (ew, Trump).
TWO | OWNERSHIP
Making every single decision about where or what you want as you go along. And living by it.
Whether you make a mistake, have regrets or love the decision you made, everything in your renovation is unequivocally yours. Sure, there are downsides like wishing you had just spent the extra to get that cast iron radiator or realising that actually it isn’t intuitive to have that light switch there, but on the whole I love shaping every detail of the space I live in.
THREE | LOVE
A full renovation like ours gives you the opportunity to love everything in your new home. The first task when we finally got the keys was to strip everything off and out of the house, from wallpaper and carpet to kitchen units (I use that term loosely), fireplaces and bathroom suites (all of the hideous variety, see here). We were left with a completely empty shell just waiting for us to stamp our mark.
FOUR | CREATIVITY
If you’re anything like me (and I know a lot of you are), you don’t get the chance to unleash your creative side in your everyday life. I work in Operations and yes, some would argue you can be creative in any role, but there’s only so much I can spice up the forecast for a Steam Sterilizer ya know?!
I adore how renovating from scratch has given me the opportunity to focus on something I’ve loved for years with no creative outlet. Day-to-day I drive to an office and sit in front of a screen, like a lot of people. In my spare time I now scour the on and offline world for inspiration and do crazy shit like buying bright pink sofas, painting Edwardian woodwork neon yellow and deciding to start rubbing down the stairs at 10pm on a Wednesday (wild!).
I feel like the house has given me a compartment of my life in which I can really and truly express myself and do whatever the f**k I/we choose.
FIVE | TOGETHER
Let me just start with a health warning. If you argue a lot when you’re not renovating, maybe don’t take on a project. It is NOT easy making hundreds of decisions together, whilst living in a single room that you cook, eat, work and sleep in.
Once you get past the bickering about dark or light wood flooring, square or hexagonal tiles, why we haven’t painted the bedroom yet, etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. (endless list), you’re left with a project you have done together. The two of you. It is yours and no one else’s.
That’s pretty cool.