How to Survive a Renovation Project and Keep Your Relationship Intact
Whether it’s a loft extension or a complete overhaul of the entire property, any work on your home will impact your relationship. Renovations rarely come without stress, so it’s little surprise that a new poll from home renovation and design platform, Houzz.co.uk, found that in the midst of all the stress, and dust, many couples resort to keeping secrets from each other, and a small percentage even consider divorce. However, a little forethought and good communication can diminish the impact to keep things coming along nicely. Here’s how…
Hire a Pro
We can sometimes get carried away and think we’re the next Kirstie Allsopp, but don’t bite off more than you can chew. Couples find it hard to collaborate on renovation work, so it’s wise to hire a professional to manage the project without the emotion. Not only will they take away the burden of the work, they’ll act as a mediator and will force you and your partner to make decisions together, as well as saving you money and time. Understand the extent of your renovation or decoration first, then use websites such as Houzz and their Find a Pro directory, to help you find the right professionals for the job in your area and within your budget.
Make a Budget
Couples who have lived through and survived a renovation project admit that making a realistic budget from the outset is key. Agree on a budget up front, create a budget tracker and ensure you have accounted for all your expenses before you begin any work, checking in with your professional, who can highlight any elements you may have overlooked. Research costs for materials and projects and make a list of items that both partners need to approve such as wall colour, kitchen appliances and electronics. It’s also worthwhile putting aside a contingency budget for unforeseen jobs that inevitably crop up during any works. However much you allow for this, you may want to keep this amount a secret between you and your partner, to prevent any complacency in your building team.
Create a Moodboard Together
Less than a fifth of couples say they have the same style as their partner, which can ultimately lead to heating disagreements down the line. To avoid arguments, spend time before the project starts to strike a style balance. Moodboards are a great way to do this and there are plenty of options available online. Houzz, for example, has over 9 million high quality images you and your partner can browse, which you can then save into ‘ideabooks’ and collaborate on and look for commonalities. The Houzz app offers a Sketch function that allows you to scribble notes and add products to images, to help you better communicate exactly what you’re after, which is ideal for sharing and building ideas.
Cook Ahead and Enjoy the Occasional Meal Out
Simple, daily activities, such as cooking a meal, become difficult during a renovation, but spending huge amounts of money on takeaways and ready meals can become stressful, too, as well as expensive. So before the work starts, spend some time cooking lots of simple, one-pot dishes that you can freeze and easily reheat.
Remember the benefits of going out now and then, too. Take advantage of a nearby pub or restaurant and use the opportunity to talk through the project with your partner, or simply enjoy each other’s company away from all the renovation chat.
UK renovators struggle with the flexibility of living conditions while undertaking renovation work, more so than other nationalities, including Americans and Germans, according to the Houzz poll. In an ideal world, of course, we would all simply move out while any renovation work on our home was taking place, but most of us can’t stretch to renting another home while the builders dismantle our own.
Break up the dust, by taking friends and relatives up on offers of a night or two in a clean house and a home-cooked meal, and back on-site make sure you ring-fence some space that’s renovation free. It’s important to have a dust-free, functional place to retreat to, when you can’t escape to your Mum’s!
In addition to getting away with each other, it’s also important you respect each other’s need for some time away from each other, too. You shouldn’t have to sneak away to escape, make sure to build time in each week to go and enjoy something unrelated to the renovation. You’ll find that you both come back refreshed and ready to face things far better in doing so.
Find Builders You Can Trust
Most projects require builders or professionals. Do your homework and find a team of builders in whom you can put your faith. Read previous customer reviews and check the professional’s portfolio, to see if they have completed similar projects to yours. On Houzz you can also see how the professional has engaged with the community and how they respond to queries.
Hold a Pre-Work Meeting
Before the builders arrive and start swinging sledgehammers, hold a meeting to establish some essentials. Ask them to outline the progress of work and when any major utilities may be out of action. Establish which areas of the house are off limits and discuss issues such as bathroom facilities, parking, hours of work and impact on neighbours. This will help minimise frustration and give you and your partner clear understanding of what to expect.
You and your partner should agree individual roles beforehand to avoid any holes in communication with your professional team. For example, be clear that one of you is in charge of the budget to avoid any discrepancies down the line. Similarly, make it clear that one of you is the go-to on design decisions.
Resist Throwing Away
A handful of couples do admit to throwing away something of their partners during the renovation work, without their knowledge. If you find yourself insisting on tossing his favourite mounted antlers, be open and be prepared to give up something you hold dear, too. Conversely, if you’re not willing to let something go, be prepared to let him keep something you’re not a fan of either, otherwise you could have some explaining to do down the line.
Take Home Message… Celebrate the Achievements
Despite the relationship strain, there is light at the end of the tunnel with the majority of couples agreeing that the end result of a home renovation project is totally worth the stress and effort.
Remember your sense of humour along the way and enjoy the process more by taking the time to celebrate key achievements as they occur. Admire a new window once it’s been fitted, rather than focusing on the fact that the electrics still haven’t been installed and the floor is not laid. Remind yourself of what you house was like before and how it will look once finished. Keep your eye on the prize and try to stay cheerful.
For more information, inspiration and tips, visit the Houzz UK website.
Photo credits: © Houzz.co.uk
brooklyn (featured image)