There are generally two sorts of renovators – the ‘move out, call the builders and do it all in one go’ kind, and the ‘live in the mess and DIY’ type.
We’re firmly in the latter category and six years after buying our beloved Californian Bungalow in Melbourne’s inner north, we are embarking on our third (or is it fourth?) DIY renovation project.
Mostly, thanks to my calm and capable handyman partner, they have been stress-free and rewarding, but there are some truths we’ve come to accept.
1. Things are going to get dirty
No matter how many extraction fans you use, doors you shut and towels you shove under door spaces, your entire house will be covered in a thin film of white dust. It just will.
2. Cleaning is futile
Don’t try and clean your house. Sweep the floor or vacuum and quite literally the next moment you turn around, that floor will be covered in aforementioned white dust.
3. You’ll learn something new
You will learn the name of a tool you’ve never heard of before – this time around for me, it was a ‘demolition saw’. Sounds terrifying.
4. It’s an emotional rollercoaster
You will go through several emotions: Shock (when you are first faced with the extreme mess), panic (when you madly try to ‘tidy’ and ‘clean’ in a bid to maintain some semblance of normality), fear (that your life/house will never be the same again) and finally, acceptance (when you give in to the mess, the dust, the chaos and just roll with it).
5. You can’t trust anything that runs on electricity
You’ll get very good at resetting clocks – the power goes on and off a LOT.
6. The Internet has (most of) the answers
You will consult the ultimate handyman – YouTube. What did we EVER do without it?
7. Sleep… what’s that?
You will actually utter the question “does Masters open at 8am?” or “Is Bunnings open until 9pm tonight?” or, most likely, both.
8. Eating… huh?
You will forget to eat meals. This just happens. Day kind of stretches into night. You will look up, and all of a sudden, it will be dark.
9. You’ll get used to layering
Unless you’re renovating at the height of summer, it will be cold in the house. With the number of doors that need to be propped open for extension cords and comings-and-goings of stuff being taken in and out of the house, it will get chilly.
10. Your timeline is a mere wishful guide
It will take about twice as long as you think it will. Seriously. Just accept this, be calm and keep going. In fact, they should put that on a tea towel…