This is a question particularly for those of you who are building new homes or remodeling your home. Do the projects seem to be never-ending? Does it seem like you’ll never get to the end? Every time you have to write a check to your contractor or make another large purchase, do you think, “Is this really worth it?”
I have to admit that I’m kind of at that point with our house. It’s a cycle that comes and goes. I’ve had these thoughts at other times in the 8.5 years that we’ve been in this house, and I got past it. And I’ll have them again at some point in the future, and I’ll get past them again.
But I’m definitely in that slump right now, and I think it might have something to do with our wheelchair van purchase and the fact that Matt is getting out and actually living life outside of our house now — something I honestly never thought I’d see happen.
Obviously, when we bought this house, I knew it would cost quite a bit of money to fix it up and make it look like I wanted it to look. You can’t buy a house that looks like this on the outside…
…and looks like this on the inside…
…and not expect to spend a small fortune updating the house.
And we’ve definitely done that. We bought the house for $80,000, and we’ve put at least twice that much into it so far. Probably more. I don’t really know because, to be quite honest, I don’t keep up with it.
When we bought the house, I knew that this was the last house we’d ever buy, so I never really worried about “over-improving” the house, or worrying about how much we’d recoup on resale. I’ve never made any improvements or done any of my projects with resale in mind. I just knew that I had a vision, and I’d make it what I wanted. I’d do all of the work myself that I could possibly do, which would save a ton of money, and I’d splurge where I wanted to. And in the end, we’d have a house that we love.
And I’ve been perfectly fine with that strategy because Matt and I don’t spend a lot of money on other things. Having a husband who has been housebound for 13 years, not even leaving the house to go to a restaurant or the grocery store, means that we haven’t had a vacation in 13 years. Actually, it’s probably been more like 16 or 17 years since we went on a vacation. We haven’t been spending money on going to movies (which is so expensive now!!) or eating out at nice restaurants or going to concerts or anything else. We don’t spend money on hobbies, or entertainment, or sports outside of the house. There’s no fishing, boating, golfing, or any of those other things that a lot of people spend their disposable income on.
For me, it was all about making our home comfortable and beautiful. Since that’s all that Matt would ever see, that’s where I put my time, effort, and money. And since we weren’t doing all of those other things, I was generally happy to do it, no matter the cost (as long as it was in our budget). It paid off, because Matt LOVES our house, and I loved creating a home that made him feel comfortable and relaxed.
But now that Matt is out and about for the first time in 13 years, I’m weighing the other things that we could be spending money on against the things that we still need to spend money on at the house. A new driveway? About $20,000. The addition with the new bedroom, laundry room, and family/media room? Probably about $100,000, if not more. New deck off of the new addition, plus all of the landscaping in the front and back? I have no idea, but it won’t be cheap.
At this point, it’s not really a matter of trading off vacations with Matt for a new driveway. The fact is that right now, there’s still no way that Matt and I could go on a vacation. On days when we don’t leave the house, and he spends the afternoon sitting in his recliner, he’s exhausted and ready to go to bed so that he can stretch out and relax at around 5:00pm. On days when we do leave the house, he’s exhausted by about 3:00pm and ready to lie down in bed to relax. And once he’s in bed, he’s there for the rest of the day.
The longest he’s stayed up in his wheelchair so far on a day that we’ve gone out in the van is 4:00pm, and by the time I got him to bed, he was so exhausted and weak that it was like trying to lift and move 219 pounds of Jello. 😀 Okay, it probably wasn’t quite that bad, but it was very difficult, even with the Hoyer lift that I use to transfer him from place to place. And this heat we’re experiencing right now makes it even harder. (Matt’s M.S. makes him VERY intolerant to heat.)
So no, we’re not planning any vacations right now. As of now, our outings consist of restaurants, parks, and movies. But there is the hope that he can build up enough endurance and stamina that maybe we could take a weekend trip somewhere in the near future. It’s only been three weeks since we got the van, and Matt said he does see us eventually being able to go on a vacation. He knows his body better than anyone else, so I’ll take his word for it, and we’ll see how it goes. But when the time comes that he’s ready to take that vacation, I want to be ready!
Which brings me back to the house. And money. And the amount of money that we spend on the house. I can’t say that there aren’t times lately when I just want to stop spending money on the house. I just want to finish up the unfinished projects (master bathroom, home gym, and my studio) and leave it at that. Be done with it. Put that money towards our eventual around-the-world trip. (Joking!) But you know what I mean.
But how awkward would that be to finish up the unfinished projects and just leave it at that? That would leave us with a master bathroom that isn’t attached to a master bedroom, and that leads out to the back yard. It would leave us with a huge lot that really isn’t being used. And it would leave us still without a driveway.
Obviously, I’m not going to do that. Obviously, we’re going to finish what we set out to do with this house. I’m just feeling kind of torn right now. I’ve done so much, and we’ve spent so much on our house already. And there’s still so much to be done. I can’t help but stop every once in a while and ask myself, “Is it worth it?”
How about those of you building new or remodeling? Do you have these moments as well?
Addicted 2 Decorating is where I share my DIY and decorating journey as I remodel and decorate the 1948 fixer upper that my husband, Matt, and I bought in 2013. Matt has M.S. and is unable to do physical work, so I do the majority of the work on the house by myself. You can learn more about me here.
I hope you’ll join me on my DIY and decorating journey! If you want to follow my projects and progress, you can subscribe below and have each new post delivered to your email inbox. That way you’ll never miss a thing!
Chelle EllisJune 17, 2022 at 11:31 am
If you and Matt ever want to visit the Memphis area, we would love for you to stay with us, to cut down costs. We live in a big old 135+ year old house, so we have more than enough room.
I’m so happy that Matt is getting out now. I can’t even imagine being housebound for so long, he must be so excited to be able to see the world outside again! <3
DebJune 17, 2022 at 11:32 am
I think anyone who lives in a house long enough begins to have these feelings at some point in time. When I was married we moved every four years due to job transfers and always bought new so I never experienced having to spend money on repairing or remodeling. Then after living in Texas 6 years we got divorced and I had to buy a home that was older and eventually needed repairs etc. My last few years in that house I had to replace the roof,AC,
deck, siding and have it painted inside and out. I did some painting myself and painted the kitchen cabinets and bathroom vanities. However when it came time to go on the market I hired a contractor to remodel the bathrooms and put new tile in the kitchen and numerous other things like new lighting fixtures etc. I wondered if it was worth it but in the end I am glad I did all I did as a young family with three little girls purchased it and it is an excellent neighborhood to raise a family. I am now in even an older home but it was well taken care of by the previous owners and I have made some cosmetic changes but have had to replace heat pump, refrigerator, and hot water heater. I think we just have to each individually decide what is important to us to make our home a pleasant place to live and keep our budgets in mind. You and Matt will be able to decide if a memory will be more important to be made now or later when it comes to deciding whether to spend money on the house or an adventure with the new van. Perhaps that master bedroom can just wait a little longer.
LindaJune 17, 2022 at 11:36 am
So, yes. Have felt that way. However, in your case I don’t see it as an “either” fix the house “or” you and Matt do fun things! So much in life we stop at either/or. How about thinking “both/and? Maybe curtail some of the expense on the house? And a vacation doesn’t have to be a BIG expense either. I’m sure you’ve given that some thought due to the time frame it would be safe initially getting Matt away from home for any length of time. And there is always the idea of interspersing vacation costs one year and house costs the next. You are so very practical and creative anyway, I’ll just bet you figure this out without giving up either getting out with Matt or giving up your home remodeling!
JulieJune 17, 2022 at 11:39 am
There must be something in the air. We just hit that wall too!
Did work on the house through pandemic because it needed it at it’s age AND as a way to combat being housebound, all the negativity, do something productive. Absolutely still need to redo the original bathroom and water damage in basement. Blessed to be DIY’rs too but after awhile you just want to stop. Not spend any money. Not fix or work on it, maybe just enjoy and play.
The other thing that gets fatiguing is when doing a project we struggle to keep up with regular maintenance so things seem to get rough around the edges elsewhere. Doing the needed updates during pandemic the yard got damaged or a bit wild, some areas overgrown or adopted some unwelcome weeds, etc. Plus With a couple things still on the docket we’re less than eager to complete some of the landscaping only to disrupt it with work again. Even replanting & watering grass is a cost and effort. Plants, landscape materials aren’t cheap and are a lot of effort. I LOVE birds but we live where a non-native plant called buckthorn is a problem. It produces berries that birds love, then poo the seeds everywhere. While focused on other work, they literally populated a row of good trees with the buggers. Getting rid of them is a project all by itself.
You will emerge. While you clearly love what you do it may occasionally be bittersweet to have your home and business be tethered together. Couple that with your ever in motion creative thinking, well it may feel like you never can just chill. To see an unfinished project while you and Matt just want to enjoy dinner or enjoy a movie can get old.
I have made one rule that has helped me with some of the above. To the best of my ability I try to contain a project to a specified area while keeping other/certain spaces clean or at least basic tidy without project creep. Lately our focus has been catch up & tidy, tie off loose ends. Have been pleasantly surprised by how satisfying that has been.
All the best. Your transparency and authenticity is validating to those of simply in awe of all you do. We feel your pain, celebrate your victories.
Kim MayJune 17, 2022 at 1:15 pm
I think you said it. Finish what you have started and wait on the rest. For the first time in 13 years you have a new place to put your money. I remember thinking at one point in my life should I spend for me, my kids, my house or travel. It all works out. Go with the flow. Life is short – eat dessert first!
Cathy RJune 17, 2022 at 11:40 am
It’s been 3 years since my Fella and I bought our retirement house together in Az. I had a house, he had one in Ohio and we each put our stamp on them. After making unilateral decisions on decor, paint colors, and improvements I find it frustrating to run decisions by him. But that’s what cohabitation is all about; consideration of the other’s wants and needs. So yes, our house still has the 1980s curtains and brass rods up, wallpaper & whatever that piece below the ceiling is, carpet I hate and he loves….you get the idea. But as I look at the housing news and hear about the frustration of couples who desperately want their first home costing the moon, I realize I have first world problems. We have a paid for home in retirement, and the rest is the small stuff. We’re chipping away at it and that’s just fine by me. So Kristi, if your projects slow down so you and Matt can have an outing, I say go. Make those memories, revel in the progress you’ve already made and together you can dream of the future in the time you have together. Enjoy the ride🥰
JeanneJune 17, 2022 at 12:23 pm
As a 73 year old who is starting to have health issues, i say get out, travel. Do as much as you and Matt can, while you can. Time passes quickly and before you know it, everything has changed. Your house will always be there.
I’m so glad you have the van. Have you considered a cruise? I believe some depart from TX. And they don’t have to be expensive. A cabin bed would always be nearby. There are handicapped cabins. I cruised with my mostly wheelchair bound 90 old mom and we both had fun. She didn’t get off at every port but she always had a great view. She’s gone now but I treasure the memories.
Kristie, I would bet you might find a cruise line that would offer you a free or cheap cabin in return for you giving decorating/craft skills demonstrations. Heavens, passengers go to cooking classes, kitchen tours, and even classes on how to fold towels into animal shapes. Me? I’d select a cruise intentionally if I knew you would be teaching a class.
I’ll be eager to hear what you decide. It doesn’t have to be an all or none choice. I love your blog.
Sandy LJune 17, 2022 at 11:40 am
I know this kind of moments in your life must be exhausting…but as life has taught me…tomorrow is another day…I think “Scarlette” said that??? My daughter had MS and she also was homebound. So I know the frustration and how little they can push their bodies. But I am so pleased that Matt does get to get out now. He is your first responsibility so always let his needs come first. I know you already do this. We can tell how much you love and respect him via your postings in the blog.
StephanieJune 17, 2022 at 11:41 am
I think with house projects, they always open a new project or change even in rooms that were considered “finished” and you have to prepare to live with the unfinished sometimes longer than you would like. It also doesn’t help that right now doesn’t really feel like the best time to start a big project. Everything costs more, takes longer to acquire, or harder to find quality contractors. Borrowing to fund large projects is going to cost more. I think with every project or room we take on we try to live with as long as possible and do as much research before we begin and it often leads to long “rest” periods between projects. We both have full time out of the house jobs so we’re evening and weekend warriors when it comes to house projects that we do ourselves. There’s seasons where its just not feasible to take on big projects due to other commitments. For you though, because of the blog I assume that at least a portion of your income is dependent on the content you create, but i can understand the feeling of burn out and analyzing the cost to benefit ratio, especially now that you have the wonderful distraction of exploring the world outside your home with your husband for the first time in 13 years. Life is short…its worth finding the balance, even if the project takes longer.
Skt4meJune 17, 2022 at 11:48 am
Take an extended break and enjoy your new found freedom and the activities it provides! Or maybe just connect the bathroom then take a break!🚝🎈🎉
Skt4meJune 17, 2022 at 11:50 am
SusanJune 17, 2022 at 11:59 am
Been at the “I’m not spending another dime on this place” phase……finish your bathroom–enjoy hell outta it!!! Then come back, and say, “what at this point in time in our lives will make it better, easier, more enjoyable?
CarswellJune 20, 2022 at 10:52 am
I think everyone hits the wall occasionally. With home renovation and decor there’s always something. I would concentrate on dealing with the things you have purchased materials for – the home gym and the principal bathroom and then asses the rest of your projects on a “what would most improve the quality of our home life” basis.
Matt hasn’t got a tremendous amount of stamina at the moment so there’s plenty of time to do things with him – getting him and you out of the house is a great way to have some quality time – and to recharge your batteries for the things you need to wrap up that are currently underway.
KateJune 17, 2022 at 11:58 am
The quote comes to mind: if you get tired, learn to rest, not quit.
We built a house a few years ago, and it was like 2 years of constant $200-$10,000 purchases. At the end it was like a couple thousand dollars every week and it was completely draining. Then we got in the house and had just had 2 years of being used to throwing thousands of dollars around every week, and we had to readjust to slow down and lengthen my gaze out beyond just the next few months. We are now in the house that I want to spend the next 50+ years in – projects can happen every year, but ALL the projects will not happen every year.
Finish up your unfinished projects. You definitely have enough for a while to keep you busy. But remind yourself that you have a lifetime to do those other projects. If you finish them, cool! Rest and live in a house that isn’t a construction zone, and then when you’re not tired of house projects you’ll be ready for another one. It’s not awkward to rest between major house renovation, it’s normal. But after 8+ years of construction projects, I think you’ve just forgotten that – completely understandable!
MelanieJune 17, 2022 at 12:31 pm
Oh Boy! You hit the nail on the head..You are not alone on those thoughts at all. It seems never ending . And for me projects that were completed, done, finished 15 years ago now need redoing from scratch ! My mother used to say- Don’t be a slave to your house!- Home for me is where I want to find peace & pretty . That’s when I feel most comfortable – even if I was a zillionaire, traveling the world, if my home didn’t put a smile on my face before I opened the door- I know I wouldn’t be happy….
HeatherBJune 17, 2022 at 12:36 pm
It’s not just spending money on the home…it is every area of life. There are costs and benefits to weigh on where you spend your time and money. Opportunity cost, opportunity lost. You’ve had the ability to just pour everything into your home because that was really the only opportunity before you. That isn’t reality for most of us. Now that there is more than one opportunity doesn’t mean you stop spending on the home; you just cut back on how much goes to the home and start budgeting for other things. Maybe a “sinking fund” for local outings (movies, restaurants, etc.) and a “sinking fund” for the eventual trip around-the-world, while still contributing to the “completing our dream home” sinking fund. You tend to be all or nothing, Kristi, which is an awesome part of your personality! LOL BUT, this need not be all or nothing. It is just a new way to dream and plan for the future…an AWESOME new way 🙂
So excited for you guys!
MichelleJune 17, 2022 at 12:56 pm
Yes! We are selling our current Illinois house so we are packing up and getting repairs done, plus we have a flipper in Texas that our friend is working on and finally we have our forever home which we will move into in the fall but is a 1960s ranch which needs a lot of cosmetic updates. So yes, I feel like an ATM for Lowes and Home Depot right now!
My suggestion is to enjoy your life with Matt and pick up new projects when there is a lull in travels! You only live once and spending time with your partner and creating those memories is what life is about. I’m someone who loves my home and I create a haven that’s comfortable and beautiful (at least to me) but creating those memories is what keeps my heart happy! 😊😊😊
JeannieJune 17, 2022 at 1:02 pm
I agree with those who suggested balance between working on the house and enjoying it so far. I always figure the house will be here after we’re gone, and we won’t get any do-overs in life (only in house projects, LOL). Matt and you have years of not going places to catch up on, and now you have the means. Enjoy.
Janice Jeanne DinseJune 17, 2022 at 1:51 pm
Maybe you are burned out. You and Matt are really enjoying getting out of the house. If it was me, I would finish the bathroom, gym, and your studio, even if it is just putting up the moldings and painting the doors and trim in the studio and then take a break for a while until you feel motivated again. You are so close to being done with those three rooms, maybe you just need a break and enjoy your time with Matt more after you get those rooms finished.
Donna BrooksJune 17, 2022 at 2:16 pm
Perhaps it would help with the renovating and decorating costs if you would keep moving forward and not backtracking to change something that was finished a few years or so ago. Then when everything is finished, you could rethink about changing what you’re no longer satisfied with at that time. Just an idea.
LoriJune 17, 2022 at 2:18 pm
We have owned our house 40 years this year and we are the only owners. We had our unfinished basement finished in 2011. We have a lower level family room with a gas fireplace, cherry cabinetry dry bar with MW/fridge, granite surround on FP and dry bar counter, and cherry cabinetry/book shelves built in on either side of the FP, a semi-finished laundry room, guest room which required an egress window, 3/4 bath off the guest room and walk in closet off the bath. I was the project manager and I hired the contractors to do the work. Actually one new home dry wall contractor led me to the framer, trim guy. We had the electrician and plumber already from past projects. My husband and I installed the insulation and did the painting. My neighbor’s daughter was able to draw up the plans for me based on what I told her we wanted so I could get the permit to build out our basement. Yes we ran into an unplanned plumbing surprise that cost us an additional $5K but overall we added 400 square feet to our home for $40K and got everything we dreamed. It was the best thing we’ve ever done for this house. We enjoy it so much!!! What is going on right now for you is your priorities have changed. You are dreaming about the possibilities of a life outside being confined to the house. Does Matt received any ‘at home’ physical therapy? Is he on any kind of healthy supplements that could help him build his strength up? I’m assuming he works a job from home. I suggest you finish up your projects you have going right now including your workshop and keep the really big projects like the addition on the back burner of your dreams. They will always be there and ready for you when the right time comes. And watch your budget more carefully. I watched our budget closely…that is why I wanted to be the PM. You said you don’t really know how much you have spent because you really didn’t care since this was your forever home. I’ve seen you tear out beautiful projects because you wanted to build something else…you just blogged about it. That is the designer in you. I understand. But most people can’t afford to do it even when they are doing the work themselves. I LOVE your work, your house and think you are amazing. Once again, I suggest you focus on finishing your current projects and start planning for the new adventures for you and Matt…make every day count because all we have is today. We don’t know what tomorrow will bring. Wishing you much success and FUN!!!
Kristi LinauerJune 19, 2022 at 9:49 pm
Matt isn’t getting physical therapy anymore, but he has continued with the exercises himself. He does take supplements, but so far, we haven’t found anything that really helps give him that boost of strength that he needs. We’re always open to trying new things!
CarolJune 17, 2022 at 3:01 pm
So interesting–and affirming–to read your post and the responses. I don’t have much to add other than to keep the phrase “for now” in mind. Maybe you want to stop, for now. Maybe you want to shift your focus, for now. When something else becomes more important to you, you’ll know and be ready to shift gears…At least I have found that to be true for me.
As for the “forever home,” it’s still a huge asset and probably still worth considering the impact of your projects on its value. You never know what you may need to do in the future.
ChrisJune 17, 2022 at 3:14 pm
Ignoring necessary expenses like roof or ac replacement that maintain the value of your home, I think anyone remodeling has those moments when they think, am I doing to much and is this going to price this house out of my neighborhood? Of course for you there is the aspect that it isn’t just your home, it’s your career at the moment so it’s both about getting the home you want and putting some of things down to business expenses so you continue to have a great blog. You’re fortunate to have the flexibility to spend time with Matt and work at a pace comfortable to you; a luxury most of us don’t have. It’s probably time to map out personal and house budget priorities and a timeline for the next few years for both work and play and decide what is and isn’t doable. Things will be brighter soon I’m sure.
Mary LeahJune 17, 2022 at 3:33 pm
I’m pretty sure it’s harder to know where to draw the line when remodeling, versus new construction. Plus, you are actually planning a fair amount of new construction PLUS finishing older projects.
It’s hard to know when to say, “This is enough,” when part of you wants to say, “But it’s not yet everything I want.”
I can’t wait to read about all the future van adventures, even if it’s as simple as a Sonic trip.
“This tastes like victory!” Incredible ❤️
ColleenJune 17, 2022 at 3:34 pm
I feel like that all the time in this house. I am honestly tired of spending money on this house. We had to buy this house sight unseen except pictures 4 years ago (moved from Michigan to Pennsylvania) and every project turns into something bigger because this is wrong or that is wrong. The people that owned it before us, inherited this house from his parents when they passed away and he did nothing to take care of it in the years he had it. So now we are cleaning up his mess and it was disgusting. I almost cried when I walked in and quickly began regretting this purchase. For the first three years we had water coming through just about everywhere you can think of in a house. Things are now starting to come together, but we need a new kitchen and the laundry room needs waterproofing and we need to grade the yard so water stops getting in through the basement walls. I just feel like every spare dime we have goes into this house. I would love an addition on this house, thinking conservatory style dining area. Someplace cheery, but so long as these ‘oh no what nows’ keep happening, that will never happen.
AdeleJune 17, 2022 at 3:38 pm
When I bought my 80-year old, badly-maintained house 30 years ago this coming September, my brother-in-law said, “Now you’ll never have to wonder what to do with your time or money ever again.” So true.
cydJune 17, 2022 at 3:42 pm
You’ve always been good at making lists and prioritizing projects. I’m sure you’ll be able to do the same with the additional “projects” you and Matt are now able to do. I’m glad you have the flexibility to take a day trip when Matt is feeling great. That’s a huge blessing that not many have with a regular job. Enjoy it all.
YvonneJune 17, 2022 at 3:45 pm
We sold our home of 20 years last Fall and bought a new existing home that had all the space and other things we wanted in a house – except the yard was pretty much a green field with only some basic foundation bushes.
I am a flower gardener and must beautify the yard as I dearly love flowers, flowering bushes and flowering trees and COLOR. Also, we wanted to pave the driveway but to pave the driveway we needed it graded and a retaining wall built to deal with a slope. Spring came, the retaining wall and grading happened, then the driveway got paved at a cost of $16K. We live in a rural community so want a whole house generator installed thus we signed a contract for that work ($12K) to be done sometime this month or next. Supply chain meant a 6 month waiting list.
I have been working in the yard every weekend since March, creating beds where there was grassy lawn, planting trees, planting bushes, planting flowers and mulching it all. I also expanded the patio so we would have room for a grill.
It has been constant work since we got here, plus my full time job earning the money to pay for it all. First just moving in and getting everything settled, then the landscaping.
My husband is at the place where he is asking “How much more do you have to do? Are we almost done spending money on the yard?” I am at the place where I am TIRED.
TL;DR > Yes, I think we all hit this wall at some point. After this weekend, I will probably declare major landscaping work as finished for 2022 and only add more plants here and there to the new beds and plant some bulbs in the Fall. I will tackle the next phase of Yard Makeover in Spring 2023.
It is important to pace ourselves or we burnout. From reading your blog “cover to cover”, you have been on a whirlwind pace for 8.5 years! That is amazing in and of itself, and your work is phenomenal. Maybe finish your in-progress projects then step back and take a breather to admire all you have accomplished and enjoy watching Matt rediscover the world outside the house. You’ll find yourself ready to start a new project when the time is right for you and have the energy and fresh creativity to tackle it.
PhoebeJune 17, 2022 at 3:54 pm
OMG, you don’t know how much!!! Energy and creativity, rather than money, because up to now I’ve spent rather little (and done a lot). I’m actually thinking about hiring a decorator to finish this off, not because I’m unable of coming up with ideas in general, but because when it comes to my own home I draw a blank (or rather, too many alternatives, zero decision ability, nothing makes me happy). If I see other spaces, new ones, sure, I’m still full of inspiration, but with my own place, I just want it to be done – and I’m not even sure WHAT I want done (I used to know – the fact that I actually got an expansion after my original plans, and a cat that needs space adjustments is not helpful in the least). I have absolutely no drive, no inspiration, and frankly, NO MOTIVATION. It’s a burnout of sorts. “How would I like my house to look like?” “DONE!” Not particularly helpful…
For me, I’m thinking maybe it’s time to spend money to get it done, as I have now saved up a bit (I hadn’t eight years ago), and most things are done anyway. But the thing is, I don’t know what to do with it anyway, I’ve just lost my drive. Hence my thinking about hiring a decorator. My alternative scenario is to set out as if I were buying a new place, and think of what I would want; then try to fit it here (because you see, I have so many alternative scenarios but nothing is quite “IT”; I’m lost in an endless thought process – a cyclic one).
In your case it’s worse, because you suddenly have the van, and the van means you have new interesting opportunities you’d never thought about before, and this is bound to get your creativity funnelled elsewhere. All these new interesting ideas and things you could do! But I would think that as soon as you actually process all this, you should get back some brain power on the house. So maybe try to go with it and process it, see if this helps? Make specific plans with Matt, like renting a house by a lake or something, or going to a spa. Specific plans also means having an idea about the budget, which should also help. How about making a special week about accessible holiday plans on the blog? It would make for a nice change of pace, and who doesn’t love reading about vacations anyway?
Lastly, I know you said money, but I answered mostly the “tired” part, because you asked how we feel. But as for the money, remodelling this house is basically your job too, isn’t it? As a reader, the money spent has always read as business expenses to me (well, to some extend) – it’s the way my brain makes sense of things. So maybe this kind of mindset could also help you? Something like “house/business expenses” and “personal/outings expenses” if that makes sense?
So basically, I guess maybe try to divert your creativity towards the exciting new opportunities for a while, and some of the budget from now on, too? That’s what it looks to me, an outsider. Now if I can have an outsider tell me what to do, maybe it would help! lol (But really, omg you have no idea HOW much…)
trishaleJune 17, 2022 at 4:20 pm
I have been working on my 1930’s house for 8 years and I am a single 64 year old woman. I am completely self-taught, thanks to you and the internet. (: I have done 95% of the work myself, I contracted out the exterior painting , refinishing heart pine floors and the new roof. Yes, I am sick of it ! I have removed walls, torn out acoustic ceilings, carpet, vinyl plank flooring, gutted the bathroom, caulked, primed,painted, installed trim , put in new windows and tiled the bathroom. I removed the exterior cedar siding and exposed the original clapboard siding. I love the results but it has been hard. I,of course, lived in the house the entire time. Next on my agenda is tearing out the old site-built kitchen cabinets so I can get new cabinets and I dread it so badly. I dread the mess it will create and another trip to the local dump to get rid of all the junk. I think the part I love is the creative part, how to make it better. I love to look at tile, light fixtures, paint samples, etc but the hard physical labor is getting old. Writing checks is getting old. I don’t think I will ever completely stop my home improvements but I do take longer breaks in between projects now. After a while I actually want to crank up the miter saw and plug in the air compressor. I am sooo proud of what I have accomplished so far and I could not have done it without you, dear Kristi !
Wendy CopenhaverJune 17, 2022 at 4:22 pm
Maybe its not one or the other; instead, about pace.
LeahJune 17, 2022 at 4:34 pm
We live in the Lott, TX area, which is like a 1/2 hour south of Waco. My husband works with some building contractors that work for pretty good prices. Maybe one of them could give you a price that wouldn’t be that expensive, to where they would do most of the work and you can vacation with the money you save, or hopefully would. I know that right now things aren’t very cheap, but maybe that would be an option.
Amy StaufferJune 17, 2022 at 8:56 pm
I agree with trying to focus on completing what you have going on now. In between checking off those boxes, prioritize being out and about with Matt as often as he is able.
Track your spending as best you are able, even for a few months…see what comes in, what goes out. That will give you an idea of disposable income available to devote to adventures with Matt, both long and short term.
Finally, make memories first and home improvements second. You can usually always make more money somehow, build rooms and have driveways poured. Time with those we love, making memories is priority one.
I know many folks who saved and scrimped for retirement, working long hours, only to fall ill, or have a significant other fall ill…and they missed out on those memories. Find your balance.
Marianne in Mo.June 17, 2022 at 5:34 pm
i can only comment on what our situation was/is, which is nothing like yours, but it is our experience. When we got married, we got a new house asap. It was only a little over 1,000 sq. ft., but it was new. We lived there for 27 long years, redoing and updating every inch, some more than once or twice! At about the 21 yr. mark, the girls were in college and we had extra funds finally, so we added on a 4 season room, which led to new flooring in the entire house as well as a new hvac and roof. Oh, and a covered porch and nice, large sun deck! Finally, the house was almost perfect, but still not what we had dreamed we would have by now. So, we hung on for 6 years, the market turned once more in our favor, and we listed! Hate to think of the money we’d put in to that 1st house, but we knew it would never pay to change what had never been large enough….2 baths and a kitchen were still 1975 sized, but like new in “clothes”! We sold in a month for asking, and were already in to building another new “FINAL” home. That lasted 7 yrs., ’til we found a lake lot we couldn’t resist, and built AGAIN, our FINAL, FINAL home. We don’t regret any of it. Those were the cards we were dealt with, raising our girls with a Mom who stayed home until they went to grade school and living mostly month to month. We jumped on opportunities for improvement when fortune came our way, instead of blowing it on big trips. When the markets were right, we took advantage. So, you need to decide what is most important in the long run. For us, it was not letting strangers raise our kids, being together as a family for dinner and making the most of the earnings we could bring home while achieving the goals we had. If, at the end, you have a home you love, with no regrets, then you’ve accomplished what you value. We never considered it wise to blow $5K-$10K on a week when we could buy an above ground pool our family could use for 10+ years. That was an offer we made to the girls once; A pool or a trip to Disney World, and they chose the pool! WOW!
Marianne in Mo.June 17, 2022 at 5:47 pm
I need to add that I feel you at least need to finish the bathroom and get the bedroom addition done. You wouldn’t be able to get anywhere near the funds you need to move (in this market!) with unfinished projects that obvious. After that point, if you want to move on, see what happens! If someone bites on your price, grab the money and run to the next adventure! If not, count it as a teaching moment, and use the comments you’d recieved from realtors/buyers to make improvements you are comfortable with. BTW, did the house next door ever sell yet????
Carol R.June 17, 2022 at 6:02 pm
Kristi, Sounds to me like you need a break or some breaks. Now that Matt is able to get out of the house, and enjoys doing so, start taking some short trips close by. Take a couple of days and spend one night away where you can just relax and enjoy the scenery. If there a lake near you that would be great. If Matt does well with a two day trip, maybe try a longer on but close to home so you don’t spend a long time driving. I believe getting away from home will help give you a new perspective and help you to prioritize. As you said, you have been working on the house for 8.5 years. Slow down, take your time, and you and Matt just enjoy yourselves.
My husband and I have always been DIYers but are now in our early 80’s so our days of doing big DIY projects around our home is in the past. We now have someone to take care of the yard and I have a housekeeper who comes once a month for the first time in my life. In our younger years we built two houses, one for ourselves and one for my parents. We hired what we couldn’t or didn’t know how to do and did what we could. There were no blogs or DIY videos back then. We also did a lot of work on the other four houses we have owned. It’s hard for DIYer to hire someone to do what they use to do themselves but that time has come.
CharlotteJune 17, 2022 at 7:17 pm
We purchased our 1973 built split entry home in 1987….and have rebuilt it from the ground up. We’ve been here long enough to replace the roof & driveway…twice…same for the main bath. Every door, inside & out and all the windows have been replaced. New siding…all new hardwood & ceramic tile floors…tore out & rebuilt new fireplace…all new ceiling light fixtures…full kitchen renovation…some appliances have been replaced twice. Built two new decks…one encloses a pool. Built a new storage shed…have a large vegetable garden…and completely landscaped our lot with beautiful shrubs, flowers & trees. Put in three new walk ways. But in a new 3/4 bath in our lower level…where the washer & dryer sit…and linen cabinets & storage. Finished a downstairs family room complete with beautiful propane stove (resembles a wood stove)….. that was nothing but concrete, replaced all the interior door frames and floor mouldings and interior doors, new tile and carpet on the stairs leading to the lower level….and the list goes on and on. Had a heat/air conditioning pump installed…next on our list is to add a propane fireplace to our family room. Our home was a work in progress for so many years…I’m sure there are many things I’m forgetting. All the while raising a family and working outside the home full time. Our projects are winding down now….but we’ve enjoyed every minute of making our house our home for us.
Julie B.June 17, 2022 at 8:38 pm
I always assumed it was different for you because you make your living blogging about your home improvement projects. 🤷♀️
Kate SJune 17, 2022 at 8:51 pm
Another beautiful thoughtful post. And so many loving comments— you and your readers are the best. My two cents, worth what it cost ya… house projects are great, but time spent making special memories with those we love are greater. The house, the projects, (like dust and a floor that needs mopping) can, at least for a time, wait 😉🙏🏻
bethJune 18, 2022 at 7:32 am
Just curious if you ever write off some of these expenses on your taxes? Remodeling your home is your business so I assume you may be able to save quite a bit taking that route, which may leave enough for more outings!
HeidiJune 18, 2022 at 7:43 am
We moved into our home about 7 years ago, and have been working on it off and on since then, mostly on, with a long off since I became pregnant in March 2021. We have put in a LOT of work, almost completely by ourselves, while my husband has worked fulltime, and we’ve been raising and homeschooling our 4 (now 5) kids. It’s a small house, about 1600 square feet with basement and main floor. We had planned on building an addition, and while I still dream of it sometimes, we ultimately decided that for us, not adding at least $100 000 more to our mortgage was more important than everyone having their own bedroom. Plus, our kids are getting older, our oldest is going to high school, and they only get one childhood. While it’s been good for them to see us working hard and accomplishing big jobs, we don’t want renos to be the only thing that our discretionary income goes toward. So, no addition… unless someone gives us the money. Haha!
Nadine GarwitzJune 18, 2022 at 12:03 pm
Everyone needs a break. Short breaks boosts your energy, resets your focus, and gets you in tune to finish what is at hand to be done. Longer breaks gives your mind a change in activity.
Longer breaks gives you time and energy to enjoy fun things. Along the way you see things and do things that can please you on all levels of your being. Your mind and body are absorbing all of the fun things you are doing. You feel like a new human being when you return from a long break. Thoughts and ideas come into your mind….maybe even use ideas from things you saw or done during your break.
Kristi, take those short breaks because they help you get things done. Schedule those long breaks because they keep your mind in perspective on what is important in life….like your health, your happyness, and your faith.
SarahJune 18, 2022 at 2:57 pm
Oh constantly. I’m a new homeowner (bought my first house just over a year ago) and even though my house is only about 17 years old, there have been a lot of projects that pop up here and there and the costs add up. Furnishing the house, putting in a driveway, and an unfortunately timed AC unit replacement have all but wiped out my savings and I sometimes find myself so exhausted with the prospect of completing all the other things that need to be done that I daydream about selling and finding a condo to buy or something. I’m sticking with it for now but if I could go back in time, I’m not sure I’d still buy this house! Your posts are great inspiration though – it’s so encouraging to see what you’re able to do with just your own two hands.
DWFJune 18, 2022 at 8:17 pm
I agree with you that right now you can focus on finishing up the projects you have and then think about where to go from there. It’s great that you have a vision for the completed house and front and back, but that doesn’t mean it all needs to be done sooner rather than later–or ever. You might finish what you have going and then the next priority becomes obvious (like the driveway) and then you focus on that. Or not. But I’m sure that once you get these unfinished projects done you will have more clarity and feel such pride (well deserved) in all you have done, even if nothing else ever gets done. For now, those tomorrow decisions can wait.
EileenJune 19, 2022 at 5:39 pm
Take your time and enjoy the new Matt, but wait, wait, think, think some more about the new potential of your life. You are a smart and accomplished woman who has just been given another open door. Let that brilliant mind of yours process everything. Stay on track with your main goals and process your new possibilities. Time will sort out an altered path. Don’t rush Anything.
Jayne LibertyJune 19, 2022 at 6:34 pm
You say that you bought the house for 80,000 and have put about twice as much into it. Well if you take that 160,000 and divide it by the 8 years you have lived there (I dropped the half year because you said it was probably a little more than double), you spent about 20,000 a year. Most couples spend that amount a year in going out to dinner and movies etc. So you have done great and have a beautiful home to show for it. Where the couples who spent their money on entertainment have nothing much to show for it. The money you are going to spend on doing the rest will be spread out over time also. Plus if you think of it as owning your own business these are the costs of maintaining the business. Wonder if there are write offs there? Hmm. Anyway you have done great and can allow yourself to set some money aside for the day Matt does feel up to a vacation. You really do got this.
FrancineJune 20, 2022 at 11:44 am
Home ownership is expensive…period. A house always needs something, much like a car. You don’t buy a car and never have to replace a battery (in AZ every 2 years), get oil changes, brakes, etc. The same with a home, you are either remodeling, upgrading or replacing something. I have owned 8 homes in over 50 years and each time I sell or buy, I realize it all was worth it! Take a break, enjoy the freedom you now have with Matt and finish the bathroom, as it is a matter of comfort for Matt and you. You have always done the right thing, just go slower and take the time to finish what you’ve started, while you enjoy the great outdoors!
ToniJune 21, 2022 at 12:25 pm
I wonder about time even more than money. You know how much money you have, but none of us knows how much time we have. I’ve been trying hard to find more balance by doing the fun memory making stuff in addition to house stuff.
LindaesJune 21, 2022 at 12:38 pm
Kristi, lots of great comments on here from others, and I’m a few days behind on your blog so I’m not sure you’ll even see my comment. However, I wanted to respond to this statement of yours:
“But how awkward would that be to finish up the unfinished projects and just leave it at that? That would leave us with a master bathroom that isn’t attached to a master bedroom, and that leads out to the back yard. It would leave us with a huge lot that really isn’t being used. And it would leave us still without a driveway.”
Honestly, I don’t think it would be awkward AT ALL to finish up the unfinished projects (especially bathroom and gym) and then leave the rest alone, unfinished. It’s your house, so if it functions for you & Matt, that’s all that matters!
So what if there’s a random door to outside in your master bathroom? So what if the bedroom you use isn’t attached to the master bath (if you were really concerned about that, you could use the gym as your master bedroom, since that room IS attached to the master bathroom, but that requires more time and money to swap things around).
If the bedroom you are currently using works for you and Matt, who cares if it’s not attached to the master bathroom? You have years and years to build a future master bedroom addition, but it can take a backseat to spending tinne and money on activities or travel with Matt. Remember, th master bathroom wasn’t done just as part of a future master bedroom/bathroom suite, but because Matt needed a functional and accessible bathroom. Once you finish the last few projects in there, you’ll have that!
And, who cares if you have a huge lot that isn’t really being used? Who defines “being used” anyway? The land provides privacy and a buffer from neighbors, and I think Cooper uses some of it to run around, right? Those are uses!
The driveway part I can’t really address, other than if you feel like you are doing fine with what you have for now, then who cares if you don’t have a driveway? Once you finish the master bathroom (and gym), if your house is comfortable and functional *for you and Matt*, then leave other big projects on the backburner for a while.
That would allow you time to relax, work on art projects to restore your spirit, and spend time with Matt. I’m a teacher, and while I love my job, we absolutely need summer breaks to relax and recharge, because the school year is so intense. I always feel excited and energized to start a new school year after taking the summer off. I kind of feel like that’s what you need right now, or at least when the bathroom is done: a physical, emotional and spiritual break from work/house projects, so you can recharge to start back up again when you’re ready.