As I’m sure with most people moving house, we agreed that we wouldn’t rule out a house that might have needed a little bit of work. I think I even said that it would be a way of ‘putting our own stamp on it’ – little did I know just how much work needed to be done here. Looking back now, I must have just been sucked in to all the excitement of moving house and completely underestimated the amount of work that was required. I think due to my lack of experience in building work, I naturally assume that everything is a two minute job. I still now find myself thinking – “Give it two weeks, maybe three, and it will be all complete!” – Hmm. I’ve always known that I am quite an impatient person but gee wiz – this project has confirmed this theory. I really am an impatient person.
When Jon showed me the listing for this property, he was already really excited about it. Personally, I just thought it looked a bit sad and to be honest, I thought (hoped) someone else would have bought it by the time we enquired. Anyway, we went to the viewing and well, the rest is history. The smile on Jon’s face was from ear to ear throughout the entire viewing. From the moment we walked in, he was tapping walls, (Still don’t know why this was – I think it was something to do with the condition of the walls or plaster?!?) and quizzing the estate agent on features of a property that I had never heard of. Whilst he was parading around, I was trying to contain a two year old Amelia who had become quite fond of charging around on the wooden flooring. As we left, I just knew that we weren’t going to be looking anywhere else and we put an offer in.
We’ve been here just over a year now and we have made huge improvements on the house but there is still a long, long way to go – (which I remind Jon everyday as role of ‘Moany Wife’) Yes – I would be totally lying if I said it’s been a joyful experience and a complete doddle. At times, it has been a living hell and I am not ashamed to say that. Some of my fondest memories so far includes a mouse infestation – that’s probably a bit overdramatic but still there were LOADS – lasting a horrid few sleepless weeks that I never want to repeat again. We also woke up one morning in the Summer and found a stray cat in the house – I still have no idea how this happened but can confirm that the cat was not harmed in the process. Having Amelia going to play school and telling her teachers that her house is ‘broken’ and that she still misses the old house will also not be a highlight of this experience. On the plus side, my building skills are improving. I am confident that I have mastered sanding down, using filler and actually, caulking has become one of my favourite things to do!
If I was to give any words of advice for anyone considering a house renovation with children, it would be don’t do it – ONLY JOKING! There’s a lot online about setting a budget, making a time frame and plan plan plan – which is great advice but I am sure that people looking to do a renovation already know to do that. In my experience, trying to arrange quality work time for the house amongst everyday mum life is hard but you just have to work around it, room by room. Be realistic and perhaps just be prepared to have your dinner at midnight some nights, on the floor. Upsell the child friendly jobs around the house. We get Amelia involved on some of the work that needs doing – it isn’t usually to a professional standard but certainly A* for effort! She has helped painting the fences, tried sanding down and has helped putting some bits of furniture together. I appreciate that yes – it’s sometimes not ideal and some people would say it’s not within the book on “Rules of Having Children” as its quite disruptive to any sort of routine – but I think she’s enjoyed the involvement and to be honest, it’s made the experience a lot more fun for us too!
Seeing the results now is making it all worth it. I just have to remember, like all good things, they take time.