Remodeling a house is a metaphor for life. It starts, it ends and in between are all sorts of lessons to be learned; “think outside the box”, “let of go of that plan to try another” and “let your spouse have their own way!” It was 74 days working every day off to complete this rehab; exhaustion, doubts and mental stress ensued but we survived.
David and I have done other remodel projects together and here is what we have learned about tackling huge projects and doing it together.
- Understand that everyone has their own Learning & Doing style. David and I approach projects each in a very different way. To avoid conflict, we have learned to work separately. In this project he worked one half of the day and I worked the other half or on completely separate days.
- If one person feels very strongly about an idea then just go with it. Trust that they have some creative vision that is important to them. (Even if it not what you would do)
- If you are living with the person you are doing a project with, save room to “have each other’s back”. On the days that David worked a long one, I made sure his laundry was caught up and that there was a meal at the end. He did the same for me. This kept home stressless.
- If you push yourself hard to the end of your “mental and physical rope”, have a nest to collapse into. In advance, prepare for your end-of-the-day to be restful both physically and mentally so that you may recoup. I took a hot lavender or pettigrain bath each night and read The Goldfinch during this project. I did not allow myself to think about any else than resting.
- Save time for friends to keep your eyes focussed on what is important in life. Honestly, it was the 1/2 days spent quilting with my buddies and the dinners after work with friends that kept me going. I think David feels the same way.
- While working hard physically, think of your body as a machine that needs to be primed and lubed. Drink LOTS of water and make an effort to eat healthy foods. I tried to cook large dishes once or twice a week that we could pack left-over meals from. Even still, we did rely on plenty of coffee and the occasional burst that sugar provides! No one is perfect.
- As a woman, I needed to step back into a polished profession after each work session so I applied these tricks.
- Paint your nails with clear nail polish. At the end of the day remove it and off with it comes any paint, dirt or grease. I have even painted my cuticles too. (I hate wearing gloves while painting.)
- Coat your hands before and after a days work with a heavy salve to avoid stains. I used Artist’s Hand Creme.
- The skin on the face is sensitive and paint fumes can cause rashes so I coated mine each day with a protective creme. I used Stop it!
The Old House rehab project is finished. C. W. moved in last week and is busy feathering her nest. What we did matched her sense of esthetic, she is improving upon it and the bones of this building are creating a refuge for her as we had intended.
Here are some final shots of the living room to close with. Thanks for following!