Measure Twice, Cut Once: Monthly Musings of a Home Renovator

I am the sometimes proud, sometimes disheartened owner of two small homes that have one thing in common: they both need a lot of work. When my husband and I were married sixteen years ago, we moved into a fixer-upper on his family farm. Over the years, we’ve removed walls, replaced floors, gutted the bathroom, changed the kitchen cupboards and countertops, added built-in storage, painted the exterior, painted the interior (twice), and added a verandah. Our ramshackle cottage is gradually becoming a home.

A few year’s ago, we bought another two-bedroom house in town (an hour’s drive from the farm). Like our first home, it has a bit of charm and a lot of potential; and so the tools have resurfaced. We are now in the process of adding a third bedroom, second bathroom, back deck, and if there’s money left over (unlikely), a new and overpriced kitchen window.

The word renovate does not, surprisingly, come from the latin root for headache or chaos. Renovate means to make new again. One of the things that I’ve learned during our journey in home improvements is that there is great pleasure in making an old room look new. Whether it’s aesthetic (like a fresh coat of paint), or functional (like a new wardrobe), there is nothing like a renovation to re-inspire a love-affair between you and your house.

For me, one of the advantages of renovating over buying a new house is purely emotional. I love that our home has a history. I enjoy noting the transformations that our house has gone through over the years, and knowing that these changes reflect the growth of my family. I am comforted by the idea that despite new colour schemes and reconfigured rooms, I still live in the house that welcomed my infant children.

Before having two kids (and a cat), I had a very different notion of home renovation. I thought (silly me) that renovations had a beginning and an ending. What I’ve discovered is that owning a home (now two!) involves an ongoing process of maintenance and upgrades. But instead of feeling dissatisfied that the end will never be in sight, I’ve learned that with the right planning, home improvements can be highly rewarding and even fun. I invite you to join me on my monthly musings as I embark on yet another mission of madness.

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