newbie here

kadiekinsJuly 29, 2011

I'm rather new to the forums (I've been lurking for a while now getting inspiration). We purchased our home several years ago and then lifted the house, put a new foundation under it, added on, gutted the interior, and are slowly trying to put things back together. All this while trying to live in the house and doing most of the work ourselves. It's been 2 years now and I still don't have drywall in all the rooms. I know we aren't the only crazy ones around, so I'm sure there are others that have taken on such an undertaking....but does anyone have any GOOD outcomes to help cheer us on? Words of wisdom (the words...don't do it are too late at this point!) or ways to keep our sanity? pics to share?

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when it's over, you'll be bored! the best advice i've heard is to keep a part of the house neat and clean and usable at all times, so it isn't like you are in a construction zone unless you want to be.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2011 at 3:07PM
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When you get burned out from construction, etc, set it aside & work on the yard. It's still work, but it's different & promising results may show up faster.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2011 at 5:11PM
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Wow. You've taken on a lot by doing things from the ground up. If it helps, I envy that - we did a smaller job, by gutting/rewiring etc the main floor and are just now getting around to finishing it by finally stripping and installing mouldings, replacing windows, etc. We have lived without most mouldings and baseboards for nearly 20 years!!! Now that we are finishing things, I find myself wishing that we had started by raising the house and putting in a higher, better foundation with new perimeter drainage. So where you don't have drywall, I don't have the new foundation... and you've got the harder work behind and the easier work ahead.

One thing I wish I had done is just accepted that it wasn't all going to get done right away and taken the pressure off myself to get it done. My irritation about it created some stress that we could have done without through the years we were raising our kids (youngest now 16). Instead I cursed every day for the fact that they had to grow up in a house without door casings. I also kept waiting to really figure out window coverings and such "till the casings are up" and allowed it to keep me from making other decisions as well. I feel like I didn't really "move in," mentally at least, all those years. Plus, my husband and I had different levels of interest in finishing the house, and that caused a lot of strife.

All the above may be a way of saying, don't let what you don't have done yet spoil every day for you. Don't hold off life until it's all done, because life is what's happening to you now! Or, put another way, forgive yourself for what you're not getting done and DO go the beach sometimes!

The other thought that finally dawned on me just in the last couple of years was to see us as just one "shift" of homeowners who will be stewarding the house over the course of its life, and to realize that we can only deal with the challenges that arise during our tenure, just as previous owners addressed what came up during theirs, as best they could. We will have to leave some things to future owners, including some of the things we didn't get perfect first try. I think I was able to begin thinking this way because I previously hadn't really thought of us ever moving. But I'm beginning to feel that we will.

Finally, our new motto is that 95% is good enough! We are both perfectionists, it's one reason we don't do things until we have the resources/time/interest to do the research and analysis and shopping and get them just right. Now, we'll do a 95% job and say, it's better than when the job wasn't done at all, which was Zero. Part of what's allowed us to go here is again the idea that we might move, and so we do things that we feel will be appealing to other people, rather than doing them in ways that perfectly match our personal tastes. A little detachment does wonders! So even if we don't ever move, we'll be way ahead with everything done to 95%.

In a nutshell, do the best you can with what you have, enjoy the journey, and give yourself and each other a break when you need one, however long it has to be.


    Bookmark   July 30, 2011 at 4:07PM
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Wow - KarinL nailed it! Lol, I'm also envious that you "got to do" your foundation first. In the beginning, we didn't have money to deal with foundation...(In our case, the perimeter is ok - it's the interior piers, etc, that need work). It turned into a full-circle issue, that kept us from doing other projects as well! Not pulling up flooring in several rooms, because the multiple layers topped with carpet & pad are all that's smoothing the hills out, successfully preventing anyone from tripping over the floor. Why drywall, it'll just crack when the floors level out (someday!).
I'm an expert at one thing, only - worrying! Foundation worries can tickle the back of your mind at any moment, & keep you awake on the occasional night.
Personally, I've been saying for years - " This house is SO "jacked-up", we ought to just go do the work under the house & make it official".

    Bookmark   July 30, 2011 at 6:41PM
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Thanks for all the encouragement and words of wisdom. It's great to get advice from those that have been there to help a person through. After reading Karin's post, it really made me think of our icky old basement and how much we have accomplished. Thankfully I have taken tons of pictures to remind me of how far we have come. We do need to take some time to 'live'. We still have kids at home, so we do the kids sports events and school functions but haven't taken time to enjoy as much as we would like. I think it's time to step back and do that, if only for a few days before school starts.

I did know we couldn't afford to finish everything, but I'd like to finish something! There are just so many things that need to be done before something else can be finished it drives me nuts.

Living in the house has been a good and bad. It was a real challange when the house was jacked up, no electric (except a dropcord to run the fridge)and no plumbing (outhouse!) for 53 days. I got good at climbing ladders with groceries and jugs of water. It's amazing how creative a person can get on the grill when you have to. I don't think I would recommend a person live this way, but it made it possible for us to work longer hours on the house and saved us rent money.

Thanks again for all the advice and for helping me put things in to perspective.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2011 at 8:43AM
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The thought of living in while lifting the house makes me feel a bit faint! So you can definitely give yourself a pat on the back - and from me, if we had emoticons here I'd put up that bowing one!

I know that feeling of needing to finish something. Reminds me of some wires we got crossed while we were working. DH's sister had renovated their house while living in, so she advised us to go room by room. We, however, were not living in, and so it would have been much more efficient for us to do the whole house at once. As it was (and it wasn't only her fault, also our poor planning and ignorance), we were still wrecking in some rooms while wiring and drywalling in others.

Moral: there is a time for going job by job, and a time for going room by room. Or maybe even wall by wall. Perhaps you are so far that you can finish one room, or finish one wall, or one set of curtains... even if they are temporary curtains. I ended up looking at those tacked-up pieces of fabric longer than I expected!

Again, all the best,


    Bookmark   August 3, 2011 at 8:17PM
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