Spaces for Life: Diary of a homeowner – What it feels like to live through a major remodeling project
By Lance McCarthy
I haven’t talked much about it but as you may know, my family suffered through a house fire in January and have since been living in a rental house while ours was being rebuilt. In just a few days, we move back into our “new” old home and start to put this harrowing experience behind us.
There are so many emotions that my family has experienced over the past six months. It has been the most stressful experience in my memory, but there have been plenty of bright spots along the way.
My wife and I made the decision to use a reputable fire restoration contractor that I knew instead of doing the project myself. I joke that I didn’t want to have to negotiate chang
This meant that I personally lived through the “homeowner experience” that my clients all go through. This has dramatically influenced how I view my customers and their journey. I don’t just KNOW what they go through, I FEEL it–like an OB doctor having her first baby.
So what are my big takeaways?
This was of course partly because we lost almost all of our possessions and because we weren’t able to plan beforehand. Yet, even allowing for that, the remodeling experience itself was completely overwhelming (and remember, this is something that I have been doing professionally for 2 decades!) The number of decisions required and the rate at which those decisions come was something we never got used to.
Out of control.
As with many business owners, I have a need to feel in control. I want to thoroughly research unfamiliar ideas. I want to rationally play out scenarios. I want to predict outcomes. And yet, the remodeling process by its very nature is trying to tame chaos.
I end up second guessing the decisions of everyone involved, and minimizing the role of chance, “Murphy’s law” and my own decisions. What do you mean you can’t just move that light fixture?! What do you mean that completely beautiful custom tile is backordered?!
If you’ve been on a long trip overseas, you know this feeling–the unquenchable desire to be “home”. The positive side is the anticipation of the homecoming. The other side is the frustration and impatience. In another country, we blame this frustration on the “natives” and will say things like “these crazy (insert country’s name) people don’t know how to (insert thing you are seeing them do differently)”.
For the last month Jamie and I have been pining for home in a deep way that is hard to describe. Every delay feels interminable. Often we end up directing that frustration at whoever is standing near us (Chipotle tortilla warmer-lady, if you are reading this, I’m so sorry).
To be continued…
One of my favorite phrases for my clients is “the pain of the experience will be outweighed by the joy of your new life in a new space”. In the coming weeks we will see if I knew what I was talking about there.
We’ll see if the “firsts” will be as good as I imagined–first breakfast at the banquette; first cigar on the back porch; first movie on the new tv; first night in our fluffy bed; first argument on the stairs; first make-up kiss by the sink; first story-time in our wistful reading room…