The house...

posted on: Sunday, 1 February 2015

We are 'on a break' with our house-build; the builders left in November and probably won't return until April or May. So as it stands one end of our house is done (kinda) and one end is untouched and outside there are the footings of foundations for a new extension. The garden is muddy and there are pallets of bricks stacked in our driveway and a distinctly unfinished feel. They did at least remove the Portaloo which has been sitting in front of my kitchen window (at a merciful distance). It's not pretty and it's not done and I am trying to ignore the mountain that we still have to climb to finish the entire project. Old houses; the gift that keeps on giving.

The overall project has been way bigger than we anticipated but I have learnt so much along the way. I thought we had done renovation before in previous houses, but this has been singly and totally different. More complex, with issues at every turn and many more building trades at once than ever before. There is an (un)healthy tension between the out and out, hemorrhaging cost that seems to accompany building work and getting the result you want. That and the knowledge that we are a family, with a normal semi-rural life that involves muddy boots and rugby kit and dogs and mass sleepovers with teenage girls. After the first phase was completed, our house took all of about a month to become completely 'family'ed' and now I see that all that angst about what door handle to choose (pewter) or what paint finish to go for (white) was unfounded. There are scuffs on the walls and dents in newly carpentered wood and all in all we are not so precious to keep it pristine all the time. I try to reconcile this.

It feels to me that house renovations are like making a really big messy cake. There's flour and sugar all over the kitchen, butter smeared on every surface, more washing up than you care to face but at the end there is this satisfaction of a fluffy, warm sponge cake to jam, ice and decorate. And then...well then you have to eat it don't you?!

Things I have been pleased with:

The white theme! White everywhere. I painted a bathroom floor with white boat paint and I love the result. The whole bathroom is white; it's lovely and easy and feels fresh and nautical.

The rowing oar banisters. Always a conversation starter.

The gallery wall; black framed, black and white photos of stuff we have done. From our Vegas wedding to the kid's surf lessons to family skiing. It just makes me happy to look at.

The large utility room where I seem to spend an inordinate amount of time, fluffing and folding, but happier as I do.

The extra space!

The enormity of what we still have to do does rear up sometimes and I long for it all to be pristine, or at least more habitable. At the moment we have one room that we don't go in at all because the walls are scarred with water damage and the carpet got eaten up by relentless moth infestations. I just shut the door and try not to think about it. I want to get started and renovate, but at the same time I have to admit that having builders here every day did mess with my head. You are never, ever alone! day (I keep telling myself) it will all be done!


  1. Oh Lou, I hear you! I have days when I can visualise an end to our interminable build, other days I despair of ever seeing a finished house. It is always at this time of year too, once the days warm and brighten, all seems more bearable.
    I spend too long on Pinterest, coveting the beautiful day, one day:-) x

  2. It does seem to go on and on and on and on and on and on and on, doesn't it Lou ? We have quite a lot of furniture etc that I have painted and distressed and, the joy of the ' shabby chic ' look is that, scuffs and dents are just dismissed as more of the distressed ' look ' haha !!
    I have to say that I'm not keen on having builders, decorators etc. in the house all of the time. Enjoy the couple of months that you can live without them.
    Don't worry ….. it's all part of family life and pretty much all of us live like that, one way or another. It's nothing like ' Homes and Gardens ' !!!!!!!!! XXXX

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