Moving Progress: The Magic of One Nice Space

CurrentCurrentHey, friends! We recently moved into our new home, which is still being renovated. It’s kind of like camping really. 🙂

We imagined moving into a freshly renovated, clean, bright space. In my imagination, we would be moving in the summertime, totally decorated and settled in by the fall time. Blah, blah, blah…. Everything would be just LOVELY.

But in reality, our renovation is months behind schedule, it’s autumn, and we’re moving into a house that’s not even close to done (no kitchen, only one source of running water, etc…). YIKES. It’s been a challenge. Tears have been shed. Pep talks have been given. And we’ve resolved to take it one day at a time.

As we’ve gone through this ordeal, we’ve talked to countless friends and family members who have been through the exact same situation. Sadly, it’s not that uncommon. So I thought I’d share with you the number one thing I’ve learned that has helped me deal with it.

The magic of one nice space!

I can’t remember who it was that shared this tip with me, but the first day we moved in (our home was a complete wreck and our moving truck hadn’t come yet so we didn’t have any furniture), we took the time out to create one space (a bathroom) that was clean, nice and sort of decorated. It’s not even a finished room, but just making it FEEL like a normal space was a huge sanity booster.

Our one semi-decent space. Sigh. Welcome to our our one good space. It’s certainly not complete, but it feels like a home and that’s all that matters during an intense renovation.

Since then, I’ve been working to unpack or settle a TINY space each day. Even if it’s just organizing our food or consolidating some boxes, it has helped me SO much because, even though I have zero control over the situation as a whole, I can start and finish little jobs that give me a sense of progress. It honestly feels like magic.

If you’ve been though a crazy renovation experience, I want to hear ALL the details, and most of all any methods that helped you cope! The other ABM readers will appreciate your tips as well. #grouphug you guys!!! xx- Elsie

Credits// Author and Photography: Elsie Larson. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess Actions

  • Stay strong, Elsie! I believe that all your past experience is going to help you through this challenge 🙂

    I actually have a renovation/move related question for you and the readers. I’m moving into an apartment soon and I was hoping to paint the walls white as a refresher. Do you recommend a white white color or some sort of eggshell, slightly less “bright” shade? It’s a small duplex apartment with light-colored hardwood floors, and decent natural light.

    Thanks and good luck Elsie!
    Thank you for your continual inspiration!
    Sara M

  • I’ve never renovated a house but I have moved 13 times! My best advice is to set up and make your bed first thing that first day. Then, no matter what else you get done (or don’t get done!) or how crazy your house looks, you have a real bed to crawl into that night. Makes all the difference in the world!

  • My husband, our baby girl and I just moved across the state and downsized from a 1,600sf home to a 600sf apartment. It’s been crazy. We got rid of all of our furniture except our bed and our daughter’s crib and about 60% of our other belongings. I imagined moving and settling in quickly because we had so few possessions. I was wrong. We still have tons of purging to do. Our livingroom has been so full of boxes we couldn’t even walk through it until a couple days ago. Not a renovation story, but I feel your pain with expecting a certain move-in and getting something totally different.

  • This is so true! My husband and I recently moved into a new apartment that needed some work, but we managed to get the kitchen set up and organized, and it was such a sanity saver to have one room all put together while we dealt with the rest of the apartment. Great tip!
    P.S. Your posts about decorating a rental have been great advice for us!

  • I’m not going through a moving or home reno experience but I recently left my full time to focus on my blogging and photography business. Sometimes I get overwhelmed with all the behind the scenes and business stuff that needs to be pulled together. I know it’s cliche but just having a list of things to accomplish has helped me a lot. It’s something visual and even though the list is long it makes everything seem more doable and I get to check it off once I’m. I write down the top three things I want done for that day and focus on them, and once those are done than I can move onto something else if I have time. 🙂

  • This is such a great tip! We are going through several room a renovations right now, and I’m ready to pull my hair out. We were supposed to be onto room #3 by now, but we haven’t even finished room #1 yet. It’s taking much longer than anticipated. I’m so sorry that your renovations are taking longer than they were supposed to. That is so stressful. Hope everything is finished soon. I’m excited to see how your house turns out!!

  • For us, we soon realized trying to eat healthy was the most important. It’s so tempting to eat out every night, but we felt a lot better when we figured out some reasonably healthy food we could make at home with a very limited kitchen. Apples and peanut butter, microwaved soup over rice (microwave location: living room), bagged salad kits.

    Then make sure you don’t expect everything to be perfect the moment when the renovations are done. It took us almost a week to get our kitchen back in order: getting the kitchen cleaned so we could unbox everything and then clean that stuff before putting it away.

    If you have friends that have offered to come help, let them. Getting a big chunk of stuff done in one day is such a great motivator.

    And don’t forget to take lots of before and during photographs! You won’t get a second chance to take those.

  • We renovated our ONLY bathroom. (Like, a total gut job). And we had a ridiculously hard time with the wrong materials getting delivered, so it took WEEKS longer than expected. 4 weeks without a bathtub or shower and a full 24 hours with no toilet. I was giving my two year old baths in the kitchen sink and I was showering at the gym (read: getting my fancy shampoo stolen). I was miserable. But I was keeping my kitchen and main living areas sooooo clean and tidy and cozy because they were the spaces I had control over. It really DID help!! Plus I had to keep the sink free of dishes so we could wash the kiddo and brush our teeth.

    It was so worth it in the end! Hang in there!

  • I remember when my family moved to our current home, my parents renovated the whole house while we lived there. We all lived in one room in the basement and had to BBQ each meal because we didn’t have a stove for months. Luckily it was summertime! We joke about camping in the basement now, but it was not fun. It will get better!

  • I feel your pain! We’ve been through several renovations on our home, but a couple of years ago, we decided to add a master suite to the main floor. It took twice as long as we were promised… part of that was our fault. Following in the footsteps of the book “If You Give A Mouse A Cookie” one project lead to another and what was suppose to be an addition poured over into more renovations throughout our home. I work from home so there was simply no escaping the mess. One evening, on the verge of totally losing it, I found my solace. Here is an excerpt from the blog post I wrote that night: “I discovered a way to hold on to my sanity for the next few weeks. (Which turned into months) When I feel my left eye twitching, instead of running around the room trying to catch dust mites, I pull out my journal, conjure images of beauty, and disappear into a fantasy world for just long enough to recharge my batteries and return to reality with a song in my heart or at least a tune in my head!” Creating watercolors in my journal pulled me out of my surroundings. I could control what was happening in those pages if not in my house. It saved me! BTW… I might add cranberry juice on the rocks with a splash of orange juice and a heavy hand of vodka doesn’t hurt. Good luck 🙂

  • Hi!! 🙂

    Thanks for the tip!! 😀

    It’s not like moving from one house to another, but I moved to Scotland to work here for a year and I had to leave all my things in boxes back in Spain and pack only the important things to bring them with me. Half of my suitcase was yarn and crochet hooks. Everybody thought I was crazy but I felt I had to have “my stuff” with me to feel like home here.

    I can’t wait to unpack everything again and have my “real place” 🙂

    Love your blog! ^^

  • Every time I’ve moved, I pack one box with everything for one full bathroom, so that we have one essential room DONE, and we set up all the beds. No searching for someone’s toothbrush, trying to find an extra towel, etc. On the first night, before unpacking anything else, I set up that one bathroom, make all the beds, and make sure we have everything ready for morning coffee. At the very least, we don’t have to sleep on sofas and floors, and knowing that bathroom is functional is one less thing to stress over.

    During our remodel (ugh), we set up what my husband called the Mobile Kitchen Unit: crock pot, electric kettle, microwave, electric double burner, mini fridge, and the most-needed utensils. He arranged everything but the fridge on the dining room table, which he’d loaded onto a locking-wheel trolley, and that kitchen moved around the house as work was being done in one room or another (or several at once, as is usually the case). We also used the grill a LOT. For awhile, we also only had one water source, which I found to be the most aggravating of all the living-in-your-half-demolished-house process (a lot of hand-washed laundry, that was fun). Although, the sawdust that managed to get into everything and keeping track of the cat were, er, challenging…

    Remodels can be so absolutely frustrating and stressful, and sometimes a good cry is the only thing that will get you through the next couple of hours. But in the end, when it’s done, and you get to LIVE in your HOME…ahhhhhhh…

    Chin up.

  • That is why I love ABM, it’s not all rainbows & unicorns, it’s also honesty when life is stressful and not as planned.
    When our house was in the middle of renovation it helped me, once the builders were done for the day and the dust came down, to go room by room and to imagine where the furniture would go, where our future kids were going to sleep and play, where our chrismas tree would go and where other memories were to be made. That gave me just that spark of enthousiasm I needed to see through the mess and chaos…

  • Don’t worry girl, it is a huge space and a big challenge but you will totaly master it in no time! You will teach us so much and we’ll bond with you even more through this rough times. Totaly feel your frustration but remember that feeling you had when showing us around for the first time; you were like a happy kid standing in that entryway! 🙂 We’re excited to see one day the finished tour of your home (and it will be majesticly grand!) but we’re here for the journey as well. And journey is about to get a whole lott better for you too. Go Elsie! 🙂

  • My husband and I bought our first house this summer and when we moved in, it wasn’t renos that we had to work around, but we had to clean the place as it had been empty for two years (cobwebs, dust, and evidence of mice from the previous owners). We took a similar approach though and the first night just cleaned our bedroom and set up our bed so we could have one little place of refuge, and then started working room by room after that. Moving is definitely not an easy task, but taking it one step at a time and thinking of every step as a “win” really helped me! Best of luck with everything!

  • Just a few weeks ago we moved to a new empty rental apartament in the same city. All the proccess from happily living in a beautiful space to having all the boxes delivered to the new house including searching for it and visiting lots of places happened within less than two months.
    When I was very stressed and feeling that people around me kindly listened to my complaints but I wasn’t feeling completely understood I read about your story and made me feel better. People around me could only think in the excitement of a new space and I was overwhelmed with the million small dificulties so also felt a bit guilty for focusing on trouble rather than opportunity.
    Having a space where I can unload and normalize my worries and negativities without feeling ungrateful has helped me a lot.
    Also, trying to group al the mess (boxes, disassembled furniture…) in only one room makes me feel that the rest of the rooms are a promise rather than a work to do, eventos if they are half-empty. I know that all moving guides across the internet tell you to put every box in the room where its content will be, but that for me was a constant reminder that everything was so uncomplete!
    Anyway, it surely will get better.
    Hope it helps!

  • I know how you feel. Last year my apartment FLOODED because our front load washing machine opened mid load. I was a wreck. It completely ruined our floors and I had to move into my bestie house for a few days. My hubs was deployed so I was pretty lucky I had some pretty awesome friends nearby. It took weeks for them to fix it. Hang in there. You got this. I focused on the things I could control. And kept the space as clean as I possibly could. And I bought myself flowers. Having one pretty thing made me feel so much better.
    Good luck!

  • Oh Elsie, oh brave you are! You’re not only building a nest but also memories to come and one day you’ll smile when remembering those moments. I built my dream house a few years ago and my main ennemy was dust…I couldn’t beat it beat & it was so annoying to find EVERYHTING covered of dust. Hermetic boxes weren’t optionnal ! A big hello from Provence, Daphne

  • I feel ya! I knew our reno would be a lot of work but it was even more than I had planned. My dad is a general contractor and told me that everything takes about three times as long as you plan. That seems pretty accurate to me so far. The biggest thing for me was managing my expectations. I wanted my fabulous cozy “after” picture! But that takes time. So we broke it up into phases. It feels nice to say phase 1 is done. We are now in to phase 2. Our phase 3 is the kitchen…so that will be a big one and we’re saving it for after the holidays. Also, it’s helpful to step away from it every now and then to think about something other than the house. Oh, and wine. Wine helps too!! Enjoy the process knowing that it will look fabulous when you are finished!!

  • I can’t believe I’ve been reading you for years and this is the first time I share a comment with you..! But I can identify myself so much in this post situation… During the past years I’ve changed homes like 4 of 5 times (some international movings as well) and those first weeks when you’re at home with all your stuff packed are just so stressful.
    What you did setting one little space in a “normal” situation is just the best option… but I would give you another piece of advice: try to keep all your packed stuff in only one room, that way the rest of the house will feel more relaxed! Empty and to renovate… but less stressful!

    Hope it helps! 🙂

  • It’s always so hard to be living in a reno space. You have no privacy/control and its always dusty and dirty and noisy! But you have to keep your eye on the prize as they say and keep a mental image strong in your mind of the end result. You can do it!

  • Hi, we’re three & a half years into a complete re-build & re-model of our home in the UK & have been living in it (or a battered old caravan on the driveway) during the entire process. A bit like Liz N above, we finished laying the tiles in the bathroom on the morning that we moved in, so that one room was done. We also had a mobile kitchen on the table – we couldn’t have lived without our crock pot for the first year!
    We’ve lived through a month without a back wall to the house; a flooded kitchen caused by re-roofing during one of the wettest weeks of the last 5 years; having to negotiate around a mini-digger that was parked in the hallway and cows getting into the garden. Tears have been shed, voices have been raised and it’s been a lot of hard work. It’s also been a lot of laughs, brought us loads of pleasure and given us a home we can really be proud of – especially when the new bedroom carpets arrive at the end of this week 🙂 All the above advice is really good, especially one sane space, eating healthily & sleeping well. Try to take breaks where you both get away from the house and don’t talk about it either for a few hours every now & then. We drove ourselves – and all our friends – crazy with every little decision until we learned to do that.
    Good luck, take lots of photos and keep venting/ showing us your successes – we love it! x

  • I’ve recently moved cities too and even had to cross seas for it. Eeep! It was exciting but a little unnerving for an organization-obsessed person like I am. Haha. Of all the tips I’ve read and have been given before my move, this one was by far the best. I was also told that once you arrive at the new place, always start small and begin with your bathroom because it will tremendously suck to not have one ready when you need it. LOL. 🙂

  • Living in a house during renovations is certainly a challenge for even the most positive person on the planet. We’ve been through renovations on each of the two bathrooms and the kitchen over the past 5 years. The kitchen was by far the hardest, plus we did it right after moving back to the US from overseas. Nothing like piling on the challenges. In the end, it was certainly worth it. I had to take time each morning with coffee and blog reading to get my mind and mood ready for the day. I didn’t allow anything to interrupt that time.

  • oh you poor thing. I feel your pain. I started my blog on day one of our renovation (no that’s a lie, the second post I did was on day one of the reno, the first was as we moved in) and it charts the highs and all those lows..
    But it’s worth it!!!! Hang in there…

  • Pues lo más importante lo tienen: el baño !!!
    Lo más incómodo en una reforma en el hogar es no poder utilizar el baño, todo lo demás se supera fácilmente.
    Disfruten de la reforma, es un experiencia hermosa por muy estresante que sea.

  • I completely understand what you are going through!
    I have moved several times, and I’ve found that I am at my best when I strive to take it one day at a time, and accomplish something small every day.

    What works best for me is to furnish or unpack the area that I spend most of my time in first. This helps me feel less depressed about moving.

    I hope this helps, and thanks for your constant inspiration!

  • Hi ! I so relate to your post. We went through a very serious renovation and like you, when we moved in, nothing was finished (in my imagination I was gonna move in the most perfect house). I completely lost it the day we moved, my friends couldn’t believe their eyes as they always saw me as the strongest of us. What helped me go through was the feeling that I was doing something extraordinary. No everybody is able to renovate completely a house, plan it all and making it your own. It take courage, strenght and imagination. And I am now so proud of my house since we did most of everything by ourselves.
    My advise to you is “Keep going !”. You and your husband will be so proud and it’s gonna be so beautiful !
    p.s. I’m a fan from Belgium and I read your blog everyday, it inspire me soooo much !

  • It’s not always fun to go through, but the end result is worth the wait. We recently moved too. It was kind of sudden. The home was brand new, but we didn’t design any of it, so we are in the middle of a remodel. I’m sure our neighbors thought we were crazy as we were hauling out rolls of brand new carpet! We didn’t have living room furniture or window coverings for almost two months. My sanity was a photo collage wall I designed in the entry. Having a few pictures on the wall made it feel like maybe someday we’d live there. We have a long way to go, but it’s coming. Hang in there!

  • I’m sorry Elsie! We’ve never renovated, but we just moved this summer and still have boxes and piles throughout the house, which is very frustrating. Made some more progress today though, and every little bit feels good! I look forward so much to being not only fully functional as a home (which it’s basically been since week 1), but really homey and complete and styled. It will come! Love your ‘one space’ tip.

  • I feel your pain! last summer we spent what was supposed to be 1 month, but turned out to be 2 months in a house while it was being renovated! i like your idea, of going one tiny space at a time. some days are harder than others, but it’s all sooooo worth it once it’s done! say strong!

  • One of my favorite memories is of the first day in my childhood home. My parents are big into renovation so the house they had bought had broken windows, broken doors, and was just a mess in general. That first day we swept, vacummed, and washed walls. That evening we had a taco bell for dinner while sitting on crates and using a box as a table since we couldn’t unpack anything yet. My brother and I slept in the master closet until the carpets were replaced because of how much broken glass there was. I think being a kid makes living situations like that a lot easier to deal with because for us we just thought of it as camping. Luckily it didn’t last long because I think even for imaginative kids the stress can bring you down quickly. Good luck with your renovations! I hope things start to move along quickly. A completed home would be an amazing Christmas gift to yourselves.

  • Why are we reading about this now? You are on a sponsored trip to Amsterdam right now!
    Don’t you like Amsterdam?

  • Yes, I am in Amsterdam right now on a trip where we just taught at a blogging conference.

    Before our trip we wrote extra posts so that we wouldn’t have to blog too much “in real time” while we were traveling, but we’ll share lots of photos from our trip soon. 🙂 -Elsie

  • Ugh – I feel for you! While I haven’t gone through a renovation, our last move was when our daughter was 1 month old. I would not recommend moving with a new baby and on no sleep!!

    But, I love the idea of one nice space and I LOVE the “bathmat” in your bathroom. It reminds me of an outdoor shower, which is one of my favorite things.

  • Thanks for sharing this tip, Elsie, and I hope your new house will feel like home very soon. When it finally does, you’ll forget how long it took 🙂

  • Thanks for sharing! My boyfriend and I have actually just moved into a new apartment, and were thinking that everything would be fine (because well, it’s an apartment not a house!!). We’re having our own issues and delays and it’s true.. Pep talks and tears! Taking it one day at a time is great advice, I also think that having one space that is clutter free and decorated is key to your sanity. Great post!! Good luck with everything moving forward. I hope things start to come along for you both!!

    Much Love,
    -Stephanie Eva

  • Our house flooded a year a half ago and we were crazy and added a 800 square foot addition DIY , expanded the kitchen, and fixed flooding damage….WHILE living in the home. We had two bedrooms and a bathroom functional. We did it all DIY with the help of family – including the addition and hiring a guy to help with the framing and roofing and concrete company for the foundation. It was insane to say the least but we saved a TON of money and it all turned out in the end.
    I need to get better photos but here you go…. 🙂

  • That is SUCH a good plan! I moved in with my parents while I prepare to purchase a home, and it’s been super challenging to keep myself organized while moving in – I’ll have to try this approach!

  • Wondering if your new house is Nesbitt. If so, my Mom and Step Dad are your neighbors. Enjoy!

  • Hi Elsie,

    I’ve been following abm for a while and have never commented until now, because this article hits close to home. Like you, my partner and I are in the middle of remodeling and it has definitely been a challenge. We are remodeling a 1940’s farmhouse and have encountered many struggles along the way. It’s funny because I remember when we first moved in and had no working kitchen, I also felt like I was camping. Although no one room is completely done yet, I am finding acceptance by putting each room together, one day at a time. First tackling our bedroom, then the bathroom (toilet and a shower), and finally the kitchen (we just got our sink installed (!!)). We still have several rooms that need to be finished, but like you I’m focusing on working on one space at a time. Glad to know that there are other ppl out there that feel the same way. 🙂 Sending positive vibes your way!


  • Oh man I’m so sorry to hear that!! But I can’t wait to see what it all comes down to and what great place you guys make of it. The worse it is now, the more you’re going to love it once its done, I’m sure! Lots of love, Yara

  • My husband and I recently downsized and moved to the city. First things first for me, is the kitchen! I cope with stress or no control by baking/cooking. The meals just always make me feel at home. So my first step is setting up the kitchen for some bit of sanity.

    Don’t add color with pillows until you choose the rugs.. I learned that one the hard way!

  • I noticed in one of those photos it looks like you have mattresses from

    Have you used these before? What do you think of them?

  • I haven’t been through a renovation before, but I love this idea! Such a great suggestion that can be applied to anything that is overwhelming, or out of your hands. xoxo.

  • Gahh yes! Having just one space figured out gives me a point to focus on — to balance. Even when my house is trashed, tidying up just one area makes all the difference. I can say to myself, “Well, at least THAT is under control.” #smallwins

  • Oh yes friend I feel you! We are living in the barn that we are converting into our home and to say its stressful is an understatement. I am so over waking up to people being in my house and can’t wait for everything to just be DONE. I also can’t wait to not share one tiny itty bitty bathroom anymore because with two boys that’s not the funnest thing ha. Cheers to us hopefully both being done with everything sooooon and I hope you are having the best time in Amsterdam! xo

  • I feel you! We bought our house the end of July and didn’t move in until the middle of September and still have our contractor coming in to fix things that aren’t done. All with a toddler and a husband who went to work immediately after the move. Stressful! Picture this: late night, super tired and sad 2 year old and a stresses out, crying mama trying to fix the crib the movers put together wrong. To be fair, I’ve been able to tackle a lot but still! Your bathroom looks super cute! 😉

  • Stay strong. I’m sure youve heard it a million times but it’s so worth it in the end. We started out kitchen Reno the day before the first snowstorm in Boston. So needless to say not having a kitchen or the temp kitchen we set up because they couldn’t figure out why the power wasn’t on wasn’t the ideal situation when you’re trapped inside with 2 kiddos under a lot of snow. But we made the best of it which sounds like what you’re doing. Sometimes things are blessings in dosguise. Having this time to sort through your stuff and not quickly unpack it into a new house is a great way too feel better. I can’t wait to see the end results and hang in there. You’ll look back and it will seem like ages ago.


  • This site is amazing overall, besides from the fact that the article is just what I needed ATM. Thanks for the amazing advice. I’m definitely sharing the post with all my friends, because you’re awesome and you deserve recognition.

  • I know how this feels! And, SO right! Its been really fun to watch the house hunt, the find and now the transition. I’m excited to see how it all comes together! I also love how a home really ebbs and flows with your life and you can add to it as your life grows, as well. One tip I picked up (I’ve moved over 12 times in my life!) is that you don’t have to rush it! Sometimes finding the perfect things for your home is half the joy. You picked a great place! ALSO! the commenting was closed, but I love the pre-reno tour video! You guys are adorable! (Elsie, you couldn’t be more gorgeous!!) Best to you all! Love the blog….

  • Hi Elsie! We just moved into our first home and have to gut most of it, and figuring out what to do and when to do it is super stressful. We have a Tudor style house, and of course I want a colorful Spanish style kitchen, and mid-century modern every where else, and this girl loves a good chesterfield couch, so there is no cohesion. We are really learning patience and trying to take our time, but it’s overwhelming and we just don’t know where to start. You’re so lucky to know what you want because we are just all over the place at the moment, so we are putting things on hold and creating a lot of inspiration binders and visiting a lot of show rooms in our area. My problem is that I love everything, so I am leaning towards hiring a designer to come in and tell me what will work and what will look organic in our space. We got so overwhelmed, we got a cat to calm our nerves. Reasonable. I guess what I’m getting at is, where did you get that shower curtain?

    Thank you for sharing and allowing me to do the same! Your blog is rad!

  • I decided to surprise my husband and paint our navy bedroom a pure bright white. He was out of town for three days, so I should be able to handle the timeframe, right? I recruited a friend to help me move the furniture to the center of the room, but other than that, I wanted to do it all on my own. Oh boy. We have a chair rail across the entire room, a floating fireplace mantle in addition to the fireplace itself, three doorways, and bulky furniture (read: solid wood dressers and bedframe). After taping the entire room and edging half of it, I went to bed exhausted. I awoke to half of the tape having fallen off the wall. Frustrated, I ran to the store to purchase true Frogtape and redo the gaps. I finished edging and started the base layer with a can of paint labelled with the color I knew I wanted… until I ran out of that can and had to buy more. My first can was mislabelled and the wrong shade of white by about 2-3 shades! In comparison to the true white I wanted, it looked light brown. When priming it had been hard to tell due to the former color of navy I was covering coupled with the fact that our bedroom has virtually no natural light (why I wanted to brighten the walls in the first place). I had to reprime all of the walls. So glad I had friends with listening ears (or eyes) who texted and called me with encouragement to break up the monotony and I had lots of good music to dance to while working. My arms couldn’t reach the ceiling without inching a desk chair around the room. With all the taping, bending over, reaching high, and scooting that chair around, I was feeling pressure to meet my deadline. After 3 coats, I could see I still needed yet another coat. By this point, my husband came home and was super excited. Thank Heaven he helped me finish that last coat. I was just done. Lessons I learned: Don’t be afraid to ask for help. High quality supplies are worth the price. Take lots of breaks. In the end, our bedroom is my new favorite room in the house. I just love it.

    I realize this in no way compares to renovating an entire house, but it is my most recent adventures in making my house a home for us. Jeremy and you seem such a good team. I hope you find solace in knowing you’re not alone!

  • First of all congrats on your new home! I am assuming you purchased with the plans of a reno, so that would be my first direction on helping me to cope: knowing that I chose to purchase a home that needed a whole overhaul. It would help me remember that I am the one that chose to do this and wanted to do it, and I would focus on gratefulness. Not that you don’t, but also remembering and keeping in the forefront that it’s a huge blessing and privilege to even buy a home let alone be able to reno it the way I would want! I would remember that perfection is an illusion, and nothing on God’s green earth is perfect, except for God Himself. I would remind myself that it’s character building for things to not go my way, and a refining process to learn knew things about myself, my spouse and life through it all. And appreciate the growth I will have encountered along the way, and have a more pliable heart because of it! Anyway, I’m sort of gabbing, but you asked 😉 It’s good you have a grasp of reality on how behind contractors ALWAYS are. And I’m glad you have a great support system too.

    These are all things that keep us humble XOXO

  • My house looks actually the same at the moment!! Moved in while the builders still had the floorboards up, not ideal! Been camping out on the 1st floor for 4 weeks now but today is the day I can finally move some furniture down 😀 The first room I gave an update was the toilet 😉 work still has to be done on the bathroom so we have one colourful (little) room in the midst of all the chaos 🙂 see the room here

    Success with your building work!
    X Hester

  • We are on the last day of what turned out to be an almost five month renovation of our home. Work started on June 1. We completely gutted and remodeled and expanded our kitchen and living/dining room. knocked out two walls, added central AC, changed doors, built a new deck and fenced in our yard. Today is literally the last day. They are at our house as I type this finishing the last of the tile backsplash and touching up paint. The inspectors still have to come to check everything out but I am calling this done! My best advice (and often times throughout this process I definitely needed to learn to practice what I preached!) is just focus on the big picture. Just remember that what you’re doing will all be worth it. Think of how beautiful and functional your space will be. Think of the new memories you will both make in your new home. Count your blessings! Again, I know, sooo much easier said than done. I certainly had my moments during our reno where there were tears. I definitely lost it a few times. Living through that chaos can do that to anyone. But when I just took a moment to take a deep breath, close my eyes, and realize how blessed we are to have been able to take this project on and to picture how amazing it will all look it really put things in to perspective for me! <3

  • Oh Elsie, I completely feel your pain! We remodeled our kitchen just this past summer – what should’ve been a “1 month” timeline job turned into the entire summer. I cried, I screamed, my emotions were all over the place. We were doing the dishes out of a very small, bathroom sink for a total of 3 months. It was horrific but at the end of the day, the finished product is truly amazing and we could not be more proud of our wonderful kitchen now. Hang in there!

    Sending lots of warm hugs your way xoxo

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