I feel like I should preface this post with: Don’t trust HGTV.
We’ve been so conditioned over the years to think that we decide we’re going to redecorate a room, or tackle a bathroom renovation, and poof, it’s complete in just a few weeks. TV shows offer of the pretty glimpses of home improvement, all packed into a 30- or 60-minute segment. The One Room Challenge sets up a 6 week window for it’s participants (and that pressure must be astronomical). I see in my clients when they move into a new home that they are so ready to “make it their own,” and often, I see them disheartened and disappointed when it doesn’t happen in time for the holidays, for Derby, for the birth of their child.
The truth is, this is a slow process.
When we moved in, we knew we had at least a good year of renovations ahead of us. Sure, the Covid pandemic and massive material shortages were a thing, but I am not Joanna Gaines. I didn’t have a slew of contractors in my pocket that were going to work on all of their schedules together to best suit mine. This renovation is not our first rodeo by far, and I have some great relationships with the people who make my dreams a reality, but it still takes time.
After buying our house in November of 2020, our first big goal was to have the kitchen, the powder room, and the floors done by Derby (that’s the first Saturday in May for you non-Kentuckians). Thankfully, we met that goal, and had the house completely painted, which was a bonus. We slowly started receiving our furniture throughout 2021, got all of our wallpaper installed, and started knocking out light fixture switch-outs. Since then, we’re taking goals a calendar year at a time. This year, I’m hoping beyond hope that we can have our porch cover put on and get the entire exterior painted. If I want a far-reaching goal, finding a dresser for the entry and finally getting our living room curtains done would be great, as well.
If you’re facing an upcoming renovation or redecoration, a few tips to keep in mind:
- ** It. Takes. Time. With lead times for materials from lumber to wallpaper to furniture and accessories being at an all-time high, you may order something today that won’t be shipped for 6 months (says the girl who ordered armchairs in October that are currently scheduled to arrive in April). The supply chain lag aside, designer Erin Gates says that a whole home renovation should be expected to be an 18 to 24 month long project.
- ** Along those lines, costs of building materials are up. The cost of lumber has more than doubled since January 2020. Realize that almost every project involves lumber in some way- closing a wall, building a porch, repairing a subfloor…
- ** You may not know what you want right now, and that’s ok. You don’t have to do everything at once. We still have an ensuite bathroom upstairs that looks like the 1970’s because we aren’t sure if we’re going to completely change the floorplan by extending over the garage. I have an office that’s wallpapered and empty because the only thing I knew for sure that I wanted in there was that wallpaper. Don’t feel like things have to be “done.” Rather, focus on doing them the way you want, when you know what you want, and know that your dining table and chairs might be a folding table and chairs for a bit.
- ** When you’re really stumped, call an expert. I like to feel that I had a relatively clear idea of what I wanted with this house, but I don’t have the extensive knowledge or resources that an interior designer or design firm does. When it came to getting really special window treatments, that ever-coveted Stark antelope stair runner, or an unbiased second opinion, we turned to Crystal Smith at Bittners. Her reach and experience took some of what I saw as an option, cranked it up a little, and made it a reality.
- ** No one is judging. I know that in the world of social media, so many of us feel as if there are a hundred sets of eyes on us, making snide comments or judging choices we’ve made. This home is yours. It’s where you welcome your kids off of the school bus and host Halloween parties. It’s your comfort zone and your happy place. Don’t let the fear of disappointing someone else make you shy away from a funky wallpaper, a bright entry door, glossy green kitchen cabinets, or a funky art collection. Who cares what anyone else thinks?
- ** We’ve all made mistakes. When we lived in Old Louisville, I was dead set on having a trellis-striped wall behind our bed and repeating the pattern throughout our bathroom. It took days. It took so much paint. It took even more painters tape. It was awful. It lasted about a week before we went back to Sherwin-Williams and grabbed another several gallons of a medium blue that felt so much better. Was it easy? Nope. But, admitting I’d made the wrong decision in the beginning led to making the right one so much quicker.
- ** There’s always going to be something you want to change. Even now, I’m wishing I’d just had our cabinet girl make us the cabinetry for our bathroom rather than buying an already-put-together stock vanity from Lowe’s. It’s ok. Some things are big enough to fix (like the aforementioned paint), and some aren’t (like our vanity).
Just know that whatever you choose to do to your house, it doesn’t happen overnight, and when it comes to creating your home, patience and an open mind are key. Happy renovating!
** this post is not sponsored in any way. all thoughts and opinions are my own **
** photos by Lana Carroll **