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Remodeling Depression — It’s A Real Thing

I’m really surprised that it’s not listed in the DSM-V, and that there aren’t some really strong, make-you-happy medications available specifically for it, and that there aren’t support groups for it, because I’m here to tell you that remodeling depression is a real thing.

And it struck me hard yesterday.

Honestly, I didn’t even realize why I was feeling the way I was feeling at first.  I just knew that I was in a complete funk and wanted to crawl underneath the covers of my bed and sleep the day away, right after a really long cry.

My mood was like a dark and dreary storm cloud hanging over my house.  And it wasn’t just affecting me.  It got to the point that Matt finally said, “Kristi, you just need to leave.  Get out of the house.  Just get in the car and get away.  Go anywhere.  Just make sure that you stay gone for several hours so you can clear your head.”

That sounded nice, but I thought to myself, “I can’t go away for several hours!  There’s so much to do around here!” So at about 3:30pm, I walked into the breakfast room to get some work done, and realized the source of my depression.  The source of my funk.  The source of my storm cloud mood.

It was the mess.  It was the seemingly endless list of projects on my “to do” list that have to be accomplished before I can even get to the fun decorating steps.  It was the idea that I may be washing dishes in my bathtub from now to eternity, with my kitchen sink sitting on a furniture dolly in my living room.  It was the fact that this big huge ball got started rolling simply because I wanted to install my new kitchen light, which still sits in its big ‘ole box on my sofa.

It was the fact that what I really want to do is work on a pretty project — something that I can actually begin and finish in the same day and end up with something that actually looks nice and complete when I’m done.  (Removing the wall and putting up the header was a real victory, but let’s face it.  There’s still nothing pretty about it at this point.)

What I really wanted to do was paint my kitchen floor…

remodeling depression - kitchen floors

But I can’t do that until I figure out how to fill the holes in the old floor boards.  And there’s really no need in painting the kitchen floor until I get the floor installed in the breakfast room, since it will all be the same.

But I can’t install the subfloor and flooring until I get the floors leveled in the breakfast room.

new cabinets 5

But I can’t level the floor and install the flooring until I clean up all of this mess — the stuff that came out of cabinets that should have been boxed up from the beginning, but instead was just dumped in the floor of the breakfast room.

remodeling depression - mess in the breakfast room

And then there’s this unending mess that I keep creating from pulling old stuff off of the walls, and this is what remains after already making two trips to the landfill with the bed of the truck completely filled (and a third truck bed-full loaded up and ready to go).

remodeling depression - mess in the breakfast room 2

And even more overwhelming was the fact that I couldn’t do the floor until I got these huge cabinets moved out of the breakfast room and into the garage, which sits about 18 inches lower than the breakfast room and requires walking down three steps.

remodeling depression - old cabinets in the breakfast room

Yes, these needed to go into the garage that was filled to overflowing with furniture and boxes that I still need to go through, so there was absolutely room for these cabinets at all.

So I seemed to have reached an impasse.

And that was just depressing.

Cue the tears, the dark storm cloud mood, and the overwhelming desire to crawl into bed and sleep indefinitely.

But of course, that’s not a reasonable response.  So instead, I turned on some music, went out into my garage, opened up both garage doors to let in the fresh air and sunlight, and I got busy.  Reorganizing, rearranging, getting rid of junk, not only in my garage but also in the breakfast room.

It’s amazing how progress, as well as sunlight and fresh air, can lift the storm clouds of the mind.  It’s also amazing how physical activity and the sense of real accomplishment can push back the feelings of depression.

And after about three hours, my garage and breakfast room looked a heck of a lot better, and there was plenty of room in the garage for those cabinets.  I called up my brother to see if he would swing by to help me, and of course he was glad to help.  He got to my house at about 7:30, and by 7:41 we had those big huge base cabinets moved out of the breakfast room and into the garage.

remodeling depression - old cabinets in the breakfast room removed

That big huge hurdle has been removed.

And while that doesn’t mean I’ll be able to work on anything pretty today, it does mean I’m a few big huge giant steps closer.  It means that I can now remove the rest of the plywood from the walls, as well as the baseboards and shoe moulding.  And then I can level the floors of the breakfast room.  And then I can put down the subfloor and the flooring.  And then I can patch the holes in the kitchen floor boards.

And then I can paint the floor.

I’m getting closer.  And the storm clouds have parted.  It’s going to be a great day!  🙂



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  1. there aren’t many things more depressing than looking around and realizing you are in a hole. glad you were able to get out of your funk and get some fresh air and sunshine… sometimes that’s all you need! 😉

  2. Ok I LOVE your husband! LOL. He is a keeper. But I agree with the depression that comes with remodeling. And since you do it mostly alone it must be hard that no one is there to commiserate with. I also agree that cleaning helps me feel better. Getting a space cleared helps me focus. You are doing great! The payoff of a beautiful kitchen is going to be something you enjoy each morning as you get your coffee. Maybe when you get down hearted your could walk into your lovely living room and take time to recharge! (After giving you wonderful hubby a big kiss for being so understanding!) You are an inspiration to so many of us!

  3. Aww. I can only guess how overwhelming the whole process can be. You work so hard and never let up. You accomplish so much in such a short amount of time, but you need to give yourself a break sometimes and get away from it all. Take a weekend and get out of the house and think about yourself and other things. Pamper yourself a little. You deserve it!

  4. Kristi, I think you are doing an amazing job, especially considering you are working alone. You have accomplished more in such a short period of time than most people have accomplished in years…decades. Take it all one day at a time and remember, we enjoy watching the progress of your remodel…even the not so pretty parts. I don’t even know you but I’m proud of you Kristi. You are amazing and you will get through this.

    1. i agree Nicole! well said!
      and thank you Kristi’s brother for popping by to help.
      you are amazing and getting so much done … maybe time for some people to come in and do some for you!
      two other thoughts …
      1. a day in bed under the covers can be a very good thing – when you plan for it and enjoy it … not when you feel so awful and are running away 😉 good on you for cleaning up … you are amazing.
      2. why don’t you and Matt plan a night or two away … i was thinking you could go to your gorgeous condo and be in comfort and at home and just take a little break from the dust and work. hopefully you’ll get all inspired…
      love your work and look forward to your every post!
      Claire x

  5. Awww Kristi, I wish I were closer to be able to help. You have done so much and mostly by yourself so go easy, take a breath and it will get done. Your hubby is wise and I’m so glad you opened up the door, breathed in some fresh air and got a renewed sense of purpose. I’d be thrilled to do a fraction of what you do in the time you do it. You really are an inspiration as Sheila F said. No question!

  6. I’m not sure how big of holes you are trying to patch in your floor, but I just had great success using Bondo to patch some wood holes (misdrilled cabinet hinge holes in cupboards, large gaps, etc). You can email me directly if you want more information. It’s stinky, but it’s quick and easy and dries completely hard in about 5 minutes and doesn’t shrink like other fillers.

    1. Ps. My downstairs bathroom is gutted and I have a toilet on my porch and wood siding in my family room and I’m working on my kitchen as well and have cabinet doors on my dining room table being painted. Remodeling depressing is totally real. I’ve been wallowing for weeks now!

  7. If you didn’t have days like that, I’d think you weren’t human. And I’ve often thought it might be a possibility you are super human because of all you do. I’m so inspired and impressed by your talent and willingness to share with all of us gawkers.

  8. I know the feeling–and it doesn’t even come from remodeling. Other areas of life, too, seem to have a list of things that can’t be done until something else is, and the something else also requires a prerequisite, around and around in circles. *sigh*

    You seem to have passed the impasse. Good!

    And like Angela noted, loud music often helps. 🙂

  9. What an overwhelming feeling. I also wish I were close enough to come and help. I’m so truly amazed at what you do all by yourself! I’d have already thrown in the towel and hired plenty of help!

  10. I absolutely feel your pain! Hang in there! We have been remodeling a 5,000 square foot house for the last 20 months. We are finally in the home stretch and if all goes well, we will be done by next week!!! Our master had been our kitchen for a year and we survived with just the bath sink, microwave and lots of crock pot dinners. I have moved boxes from room to room to room. Each thing I own seems to have been relocated at least 5 times. I have been to home improvement stores so much that I can now tell you in what aisle any item you might need is located. In the end, YES it will all be worth it. Remodeling is a tough job and no one quite understands unless they have been in the thick of it. Thank you for sharing all your efforts and accomplishments. I have gotten quite a few great ideas from you!

  11. Yeppers! We have moved into our home in December. We decided to paint the cabinets and did some wrong things so we still don’t have doors on our cabinets. There is so much to do, and with our job hours, very little time to do it. Good job finding another place to go with music and light to get a different perspective.

  12. What a fortuitous post for me!! I am in the middle of remodeling depression today……and for the past couple of days. It’s good to know that it’s a real thing and that it does end. 🙂

  13. I am so glad to see that I am not the only one who feels that over-whelming despair when things don’t get done in my time. I have had fabric to make new curtains for our bedroom for over 2 years but I am going to do it today. I also have fabric to cover couch pillows for the same amount of time. I finally decided that I was never going to do those since the one I did looks terrible so I am having a friend, who is by the way a seamstress, do them for me….if I ever get them to her!

  14. Kristi, I am so glad you talked about your depression. You could have kept it all to yourself and just blogged about your rosy solution, but that is why we love you… you are REAL.. like us. And why I will always be there to read and cheer you on

  15. Ditto, girlfriend. I’ve been working on a total kitchen gut-job since last July. By myself. And I have been working on “the bones” of my house for the last 5 years…waiting, waiting, waiting to get to the fun part — DECORATING!!! It’s sooooo difficult to put all the good stuff on hold while you do the necessary stuff. And I’ve decided 5 years is enough already!!! Gonna work like a maniac to get this dang kitchen done — and then I’m gonna turn this house into my dream cottage!!

    Glad you are feeling better. One foot in front of the other. Eventually it WILL all get done. You are SUCH an inspiration, Kristi.

  16. I feel like I just read “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie”! Thanks for being the cattle prod to my funk. Bring in the sunshine!

    1. I love the Give a Mouse A Cookie reference! Maybe you could take Matt out to dinner or even a weekend away…he’s a keeper!

  17. KRISI. give yourself a break. And bevery very grateful to God that you are able to do all this. I love remodeling and my head won.t hold all the decorating ideas that I have , but there is a catch,I am 66 years old and have some major health issues that unless I get aa miracle are not going anywhere. I have done what you are doing my whole life and mentally I can’t stop. My mind goes so fast and my body so slow. I would love to be able to help you. ,but can.t. Seriously I am amazed at what you accomplish. May I give you one word of advice. Do not let the mess get backinto the rooms you finish so you can always have a sanctuary. This is the first time I have ever left a comment. But I read your blog everyday God bless you my dear Mary

  18. Maybe you need to spend a few hours a week in the calm of your condo. Not only would it provide a bit of respite from all the mess and clutter that is brought on when in the midst of a reno, but I would think it would be a great reminder of all that you’ve already achieved and perhaps provide you with a sense of renewal for attacking the next item on the seemingly never-ending to-do list.

  19. So glad you gained some relief- and was able to move forward. I only know how overwhelming it is to pack and unpack, while it’s not the same thing. That’s why we can’t use the garage for our cars yet. Because I was so overwhelmed by all the boxes to unpack at the new house- it was keeping me from moving forward and totally sucking the life out of me, so we moved all the unpacked boxes waiting to be unpacked into the garage. Helped me gain back some perspective and motivation.Still slow going, but I’ll take it over the life sucking towers of boxes. It’s not how I imagined it 2+ months after moving. I thought I’d be at the fun decorating stage by now. Blank canvas of a house that would inspire me to create a beautiful yet functional home. cue the maniacal laugh… HA HA HA HA!!! It’s all good. It helps to have the support of loved ones. My husband has now helped me change the curtains in my living/dining room 4 times. Well- 5 if you count switching it back to the 1st option. *DOH!*
    Blessings to you!

  20. Oh yes! My niece reminds me “you eat an elephant one bite at a time”. But remodeling can seem to take forever and get overwhelming and depressing. Hang in there.

  21. While picking yourself up and getting some organization and cleaning/clearing done is a definite “good,” I think following Matt’s wise counsel, and getting out and away from the house is an even better ‘good.’ Husbands sometimes aren’t given the deep credit they deserve for coming forth with a wisdom and offering it, and we wives should take them up on their brilliance far more often than we seem to do. And when we follow their advice, there’s the added bonus of having given them the blessing they crave most from us — Respect.

    Hang in there… this too shall pass. ~:0)

  22. It is amazing that something that can make such a difference in a room is a new light fixture and it only takes about ten minutes and a screwdriver to do. Since it is so easy to put up, take down when you need to work on the ceiling and put up again why not install that gorgeous light, get the big box off the couch and enjoy? Even if you don’t have power in there yet it will look better hanging from the ceiling than sitting on the couch. Something pretty in no time flat.

  23. Kristi when you have those feelings, walk around and look at how much you’ve already accomplished, In a very short period of time may I add. When your the designer, and contractor, garbage hauler, it’s a huge amount of work and determination to make things happen. Sometimes walking away and focusing on something different helps us to regain strength to carry on. Your doing a wonderful job! Go easy on yourself, things are going to work out just fine. It’s so great to follow your blog every day! I too love DIY, as I have a husband who couldn’t drive a nail to
    Save his soul! Lol!

  24. Oh Kristi…my heart goes out to you….what a trooper you are ..you put those guys on HGTV to shame…doing this all by your lonesomeness…how you do it is beyond me…I get tired just reading it all! Kudos to you for finding the way out of the deep hole …nothing like sunshine and fresh air…way to go girl…keep it up! Love the blog…

  25. Thank-you so much for this post! I know this feeling very well. It gets overwhelming, I’ve been feeling that lately myself with my never ending to-do list in my 80 year old home. You inspired me today to get back at it. Don’t forget to follow Matt’s advice! Get out of the house, maybe treat yourself to something special, then come back and kick some more reno butt! 😉

  26. I am in the same place right now! My renovation of a 100 year old Victorian farmhouse is about a year past my original, and very naive, timeline. Some days I look around and am so depressed that it makes it hard to focus on one project at a time. I just have to give myself a good shake, a good pep talk, a new timeline, and narrow my field of vision to only what I am working on at the time. It will be all worth it though! (Right?)

  27. Girl, I do so admire your spunk. I love Matt’s advice too, and there will come a time for that, but when the problem is a mess to clean up, the only solution is to get busy and clean up that mess! You’ve done so much demolition and re-construction recently that there couldn’t help but be a need for some cleaning out and reorganizing. But you just ‘backed your ears’ and tackled it head on, and that is one of the things that I get such a kick out of about you. I’m glad that you are seeing some light at the end of the tunnel and feeling like progress is being made.

    Thanks for ‘keeping it real’ and allowing us the privilege of sharing the downs as well as the ups of your remodel. We are all looking forward to sharing the finished kitchen with you in the not-too-distant future!

  28. Although no husband is perfect (then again – neither are boyfriends LOL – no – I was gonna say neither are us wives), I gotta say that, you and Matt are really a cohesive couple! When a spouse can sense that you are in a funk and suggest ways for you to clear your head, and not make your feel guilty, well then you have hit pay dirt!
    I have a hubby that is like Matt — today I took all the winter bedding off of our bed, and exchanged it for the spring/summer bedding. This meant changing the Duvet covers – which also meant – Ironing a KING size duvet. Lets face it, there is no practical place to iron a king size duvet. The ironing board suck for this need. Then it dawned on me – use the new carpeted floors! BINGO! It worked like a charm!

    But, by the time I got everything done, and was shoving all the winter stuff into a space bag with the help of my hubby, I mentioned that I had to get to vacuuming the floors next. He kindly suggested that, I take a break for the rest of the day. Often I don’t listen to him, and I pay for it the next day, because I have Lupus and Fibromyalgia, I guilt myself into doing too much, and WOW, if I over do it, I will be totally in trouble in my ability to move the next day.

    But, like you, I don’t often listen to myself, I need an outside voice of reason to speak up (and speak loudly), to get me out of my funk of feeling that iI MUST attack everything TODAY!!!

    Here’s to understanding hubby’s, and their ability to help us see the funk, as well as help in getting out a funk! The fun stuff will be here soon,,,I know that it seems EONS away,,,but it will happen before you know it! Never give up!!
    So glad that we can still keep up with the process (funk and all!). Have a GREAT day!

  29. I’m glad you found your way out of your funk. Asking for help from your brother was a big step. Just knowing that there is someone who is available to you must make the job seem less overbearing.

  30. Ahh- a kindred soul! I love that you are so honest, so real, AND so right that getting organized and accomplishing one major thing can change the entire scope your mind sees! Hooray for you!

  31. Kristi,
    You GO, GIRL!!! How lucky you are to have realized the remodeling depression was what was getting you down. And you dealt with it like a healthy person who has suffered through it before. I have clinical depression. I would LOVE it if opening the garage door would cure mine. But the principle is the same. Ya get up, and get moving. This was YOUR idea, YOUR vision, YOUR plan, so GET TO IT!!! And you did! I love reading your blog everyday. I am a new reader, but have worked my way back through some of your old posts and I appreciate your attitude, and your skill level. I have done many of the things you are attempting, and I enjoyed them all. Especially AFTER they were done, and I was reflecting back with the room in order. That always is a charming feeling! Keep up the interesting and good work. There are a lot of us living vicariously through you, and loving every minute of it. I would guess most everyone who writes to you would be willing to come and lend a hand. You GO,

  32. Everyone has said it all, but I wanted to tell you how much you do for me – even when you are having a down day! Thank you for sharing your feelings with strangers and be kind to yourself.

  33. I am going through the exact same thing. We started on our house over a year ago, and still have so far to go. I have been in the remodel depression for a few months myself. I do at least now have a kitchen floor and most of my new kitchen, but the living and dining rooms are still far from complete. We use our second bedroom upstairs for a living room now. Hopefully in the next few months, I will have new concrete floors in the living room and all of the new sliding glass doors and new windows installed, along with the new beams to hold up my second floor. I need something pretty to do too, something that will give me some sense of accomplishment or I am going to move into my car!

  34. We are right in the middle of gutting our kitchen as well. We are no to the putting back together part and see a little light at the end of the tunnel. My whole house is wrecked. We bought a house that we were renting and it is smaller thAn we are used to but such a sweet home so we decided to show it a little love! Wow! It is overwhelming sometimes. Especially when the fridge is in the family room!!

  35. I can certainly imagine at times it seems an insurmountable list of things to do!

    And I can relate to the depression in a way. I’ve never taken on a task so big as your kitchen, but over a year ago, I was in the midst of painting a room when I took a bad step off the ladder and managed to break my foot. The next month plus I sat and stared at those half-painted walls and felt oh-so-very-woe-is-me about the whole thing!

    So, you have my sympathies!

  36. Well I sure hear you and get it one hundred percent! Today, while trying to get through email and dealing with some stupid medical stuff, please hold for the next available…..you get it, right? All I could think about was that I noticed your post in my box and wanted to stop everything and read it! I couldn’t do it. I had to finish what I was doing because it was super important that I get it done and I finally did and although I was disappointed to see that you didn’t have “fun”, I totally get what you went through. I have a house where you can barely sit down or set something down right now. It is a total disgrace. I have been so busy running for my son who had the skiing accident and helping him, that I don’t have any time to get anything done here. I look around at night and say to the dog, ok, lets play “take 10”, (where you take a garbage bag or tote or basket into a room and spend 10 minutes picking things up that don’t belong there or putting things right in that same room. We did that in three rooms last night and it wasn’t too bad. No chance for it today, was up and out of here before 8 to go help Tim drop the dog at play group, back home, grab a quick lunch, get to the medical phone calls and now have a few minutes to relax before reclaiming the dog and heading to the grocer for stuff for my son. By the time I get back I will be too tired to do anything but take a bath and wash my hair. I have 9 pieces of furniture waiting to be redone, 3 kiddies projects for girlfriend who has grandkids being born faster than I can count (found a vintage rocking horse that has the seat in the middle) plan to paint it a pretty green/blue and then do some great decopage transfers from the graphics fairy. Hoping it will look real old time. Then there is the double tiered 60’s end table to paint a bright red and navy blue after cutting a square out of the top tier, glueing on green flat lego pieces to make the big table top a base for the builder and filling the cut out hole with a basket full of lego’s.Then there is the second grade desk and chair to paint a bright yellow and red, and the desk top will get numerous coats of chalkboard paint with the alphabet and numbers stenciled around the edges. These are the fun things that I can’t do, and I keep thinking these kids will be 10 years old by the time I get to them, but then I see you and you are such an inspiration. I know I will get it done, just like you, bite the bullet, and tackle one thing at a time. We are women, hear us roar!

  37. What you have accomplished already is incredible. So hopefully you have got your focus back after that interlude, where you still managed to achieve a great amount in spite of being overwhelmed! Well done. It’s great to see your progress and drive. Be kind to yourself. 😀

  38. Wow, I hate to say it but you really made me feel better today. We bought a fixer upper cottage a year ago and have been going full speed ahead…until last month. We hit a wall. Burnt out and no more ambition to move on. I follow all your posts and you you always give me hope and today you validated my current state. Time to clean up, reorganize and then get moving again. You go girl:)

  39. You are a remarkable woman Kristi! And you’re husband is a great guy too! Glad you were able to shake your funky mood. I haven’t been so lucky lately but maybe your post will give me a new perspective. Thanks for sharing.

  40. I have been there too. I think your husband was right, take some time away to get your mind off it all.

  41. Glad you found a way out of the rough patch. In my experience, this is what remodeling is– it’s long, hard, dirty, ugly, expensive, and frustrating. Decorating, on the other hand is neither dirty nor ugly (might be the others, though). Maybe you’re not addicted to the remodeling part. Anyway, maybe you should keep a list of all the things you have done instead of a to-do list. It feels a lot better and you have done a ton!

  42. I so hear you. DIY is most difficult. I was so stressed from my kitchen reno that I developed alopecia. The job went longer then expected, ran into several unexpected problems, was hard on the relationship with my spouse and cost us a friendship. All of this and in the end we had to stop the job because I just couldn’t cope with it all any more. It has been eight months since we worked on the kitchen so we have not completed the last 15% of the job (basically finishing part). I needed to take a complete break from it all, get my kitchen functioning and save my relationship. I am almost ready to get back to it. Wish us luck on the home stretch. 🙂

  43. Did I miss something? Has the house been leveled yet?
    Don’t you need to do that before raising the floor?

  44. I’m glad you took a deep breath and outlined what you wanted to do and then did it! I’m sure the fresh air and sunshine were the best ‘medicine’ for your depression and it’s always a good feeling to get something organized. Glad your brother helped out and you got the cabinets moved out of the way.

    Now you can go step-by-step to get the floors where you want them. From there it will all fall into place as you have time and energy. (Sometimes I think we put a lot of pressure on you to finish projects because we’re so excited to see the finished product.)

    Remember, when you’re frustrated – step back. take a deep breath. get some sunshine and fresh air. and try to relax a bit. Take care of YOU!

  45. It’ll all be there when you get back to it. I’m forever mid-project, and your blog has become my afternoon “treat”! You’ve torn everything out and patched that initially miserable ceiling – you have come a very long way. It doesn’t help that your arm hurts. Keep that nice husband of your’s and do something away from the house for a day. You can’t be creative and careful when you are worn-out physically and emotionally. You are accomplishing your goals faster than you realize!

  46. Your blog today shows my age I guess– the first think I thought of while
    “listening” to your big time list was about “The Old Lady Who Swallowed
    a Fly”. LOL Glad you are feeling some better now. You do amazing jobs
    in your DIY— totally amazing! (BTW, they are not “make-you-happy” pills,
    they are “make-you-feel-normal-again” pills. Just saying.) You are a very
    inspiring lady, and I just know that you will make it all wonderful in the end.
    Keep on plugging, eat an elephant, or whatever. Classic Rock always
    makes me feel better.

  47. I know I have missed something. But your husband seems to be disabled . The clue was about widening the doorway.

  48. Dear, Dear Kristi…. Been there…..Been THERE….. OH HAVE I BEEN THERE…. But a wise person once told me, “You can only eat an elephant one bite at a time.” Wish I were close by so I could share my knife and fork….!

  49. No medication necessary for you! You did the right thing by going out into the sunshine and letting in the fresh air to help clear your mind and heal your emotions. I bet the music helped a lot, too!

    Now that you have gotten yourself over a hurdle, think back to everything you have accomplished so far. You know you have done a LOT and should give yourself a pat on the back for it. You have a logical mind and I’ve read your posts where you have always used sound judgement, so I know you can make it through this project with huge success.

    If you need a hug, I got a big one here for you: {{{{{HUGS}}}}}

  50. Thanks for “keeping it real!” Even when you have a contractor, it’s no better. My 6’5″ husband broke down and nearly cried after living for 9 months in a 2,000 square foot home with a contractor working daily to do a kitchen and bath at opposite ends of the home and then remodel the center atrium into an office. It was horrible even though they cleaned up every night. So when we gasp in amazeballs at all you do (and somedays I do gasp with admiration when I see what you’ve done), it’s good you show us the downside of being DIY Superwoman! And yes, sometimes the things we dread most only take a fraction of the time we thought they would.

  51. Oh I hear you, Kristi. I fall into the same trap, regularly. That feeling of being overwhelmed followed by the foul mood that accompanies it is an old friend of mine. Hubby watches it coming on now and in fact spots it days before I do. I’m glad you were able to turn it into something productive though. It makes a huge difference.

  52. Hi Kristi;
    Re Renovation depression and being a solo renovator.

    I empathize with you; I have had too many renovation “to do” items on my plate and no end in site. Like much of North America the winter weather has been crappy. I have a house which requires lots of TLC and a rental property I have been working on as well. Today I saw it was 20 C in Paris ( that is about 70 F). I started dreaming about using my air miles for a quick trip with my Aspie hubby to take in some wonderful sites and a river cruise on the Seine below the Eiffel tower at night. Your blog comments today made me realize I just need to get to work and stop procrastinating and yes possibly take a week out in late May when I have really accomplished something. Are you going to use the old kitchen cabinets in your garage. They look like they would make great workshop counters and storage if you can raise them a bit higher ?
    Thanks for your blog. You are inspiring!

  53. I am constantly reminded every day that clutter is my enemy. I can do almost anything if it is in a semi-organized space. During house flipping, I organized my tools and everything and threw out the trash at the end of every day. Made going back in the morning much easier. Now if I could just unclutter my office…

  54. You hang in there, girl. I am so proud of you. You are amazing. Remember, you can only eat an elephant one bite at a time. But, eventually, you will have eaten every bite and you will be living on a wonderful property in a wonderful home. And it will because you’ve got guts and determination like I’ve never seen before.

  55. Kristi, I’ve been working on my house for two years. I started on the outside and still have a yard fence to finish installing and all of the landscaping to plan and install (double lot). Then I started on the inside and it’s been more than year in the works but my kitchen is almost done and my sewing room is done except for the toe molding around the baseboards. My trouble has been having four major surgeries in the midst of it all and having to stop to recoup after each one. Finally at Christmas time I moved all the materials that I’ve purchased out to my 5th wheel camper so I could clean and rearrange and find some sanity to it all. I’m still recouping from surgery and pneumonia but hope to get back to work soon. I suggest finishing at least one room straight through including the pretty stuff so you at least have a feeling of accomplishment and a place to relax and take a breath. Then start in on another room and so on. It feels like progress when you take it one room at a time! Cleaning up the mess once in a while really makes a difference too so good on you for taking care of that, I know you feel so much better for it!!

  56. Oh I am so happy that you shared that story. I thought it was just a “me thing” to get depressed over renovating, what a relief to find I’m not the only one! I too suffer from the exact same thing, with the exact same thoughts, in fact I’ve lived those exact moments so many times over!

  57. I can so totally relate to what you’re going through! I bought this 1941 fixer-upper at the end of July. 1660 square feet of PROJECTS to last me a lifetime… and did I mention I’m single and having to do it all myself? The domino effect is the most depressing. I can’t do anything cute and fun and decorative in my home office until I rip the paneling off the walls, replace the windows, install insulation, have an electrician come upgrade the wiring, hang dry wall, and THEN I can install new flooring (I’m going to replace flooring in the office, master bedroom, hallway, and the living room all at the same time)… THEN I can get office furniture and get this office organized and looking pretty. Oh, and of course, I need to do the same thing to the walls in the master bedroom before that new flooring goes in…. The kitchen’s a mess, too. I need to install some additional cabinets, replace the stove, re-do the ceiling, and THEN I can put down the new flooring in dining and kitchen areas. The bathtub and surround, the bathroom vanity and sink both need to be replaced before I can put down the new flooring in there… and I’m thinking of ripping out two closets to create a laundry closet. When will it ever be finished??? Thank you for being brave enough to post your woes. It made me feel better to know I’m not the only one going through this! 🙂

  58. Oh my! yes, everything can get overwhelming when you remodel and redecorate! We had an old stone farmhouse back in PA. Ripping out walls was disgusting. We found critters, horsehair, etc. and, we found no money… go figure. Our projects lasted months, not days, nor weeks. So, we just persevered. We just plodded onward. Cleanup was a bear! Ugh! But, in a few years, we had the most adorable farmhouse. You can do it if you realize this project is a giant, not a teeny decorating project. Look at all the beautiful parts of your house. You have amazing talents. You can do it:)

  59. Wish I had your determination and drive:) Take joy in the small, painful steps. Excited to see what is next in the kitchen.

  60. Kristi, I just read this post today because when I first saw your title, it was very close to home and I was “saving” it to read at the right time. We have been living on subfloor after removing ceramic tile and carpet for a long time. We have a pile of high quality attractive laminate sitting on some remaining carpet, blocking the view of the fireplace in the living room. That tall pile of flooring ($2000 worth) has become an excellent cat perch. I love your blog and think that this is a post I will revisit, especially to finish reading all the comments! Thanks!

  61. As a therapist and person diagnosed with every form of depression, panic and anxiety as well as bipolar disorder, it wasn’t UNTIL I started trying to reorganize, redesign and redecorate my WHOLE house that I suddenly felt deeply, wholly depressed – I’d been semi-fine until then. Just as you described, to start and finish one thing meant that all the dominoes had to be in place and flattened before that one thing could even be started. It felt like severe postpartum depression – I’ve given birth to the ideas which were exciting and beautiful but I’d become overwhelmed and incapacitated. Having always been able to accomplish anything, I was now unable to even develop a do-able plan, and real, identifiable symptoms of depression manifested – find them in any version of the DSM. Pushing depression into panic and anxiety were the calm, “sympathetic” remonstrations by friends and, more frustratingly in my case, family members telling me “helpfully” that I should just put a smile on my face, get up and choose just one small thing to finish, and then the next and then the next. Their logic was that the sense of accomplishment would cause all my incapacitating symptoms to miraculously disappear and allow everything to just then just fall into place. It reminded me about a discussion I had had with a nurse who told me that upon waking, I should 1) look into the mirror and claim my love for myself, 2) write three things in my “Things I’m Grateful For” journal and then 3) put on my mascara…. Her sincere belief that this would solve all my problems was touching but intuitively i didn’t think this would really work for me. I had certainly never heard that mascara had such healing powers.

    It was the help of a friend (interestingly with many similar diagnoses) literally taking me by the hand and helping me fill a box to take to Goodwill that broke through my psychological and emotional fog and gave me a place to start. That filled box hadn’t been one of my dominoes but progress started. AND neither of us has had to resort to mascara.

    Thank you VERY much for your post – whether what you described was real for you or not or was only to generate thought or discussion, it has given me a feeling of normalcy and will be something I’ll be alert to as I move forward. And thanks to those friends who can help us get reset and restarted – the world is more beautiful and joyful because of them.

  62. Omg. Validation that I’m normal! Depression hit me again at bed bath and beyond yesterday while birthday shopping for my daughter. Here I am… Dressed in stained renovation clothes looking at all the “pretty stuff”. Needless to say, buying 2×4’s we’re more important than that picture. Ugh. That’s also the point I noticed a woman looking at me. I smiled and when she walked away… I realized why she was staring. I spray painted a closet door guide before I left and the can leaked leaving me with black paint that is impossible to get off from under fingernails. Yes it’s been 11 yrs. Half the siding is done. My kitchen still lives in the 1950’s and I’m still looking at at least 5 more years of work. I’m DIY and do as the money comes. The trade off.. It keeps me out of trouble and out of debt. Unfortunately (heehee) it causes marital issues with our friends. My husband has told women more than once that if you want one like ours then build it yourself.my wife built ours so why can’t you? Yup.. There’s a source of pride there. Anyway, I have good and bad days but I keep plugging along and a great reminder is the pictures we took before any work started. I DO NOT regret any of it. Got to go urethane another door. Have fun and turn up the tunes (my husband says I paint like lightning when a rockin’ tune comes on)

  63. Thank you so much for your article. We are getting ready to remodel our kitchen. I have packed up everything and tomorrow all the cabinets get removed. This is something i have wanted for 10 years and its finally happening. I just cant understand why I am bawling tonight. Your article really helped me understand , yes I am OCD, that I am feeling totally out of control and that there is so much to get accomplished and I am NOT in charge here. There IS so much to do but it all comes in time.
    Tomorrow I will put on music, have fun with a hammer tearing down a wall and be excited for the end results.
    Tonight I will cry miserably and get it out of my system.
    Thank you again you helped me.