Will our Renovation end in Divorce

tricialpNovember 10, 2009

This is a long cry for advice so be warned.

A couple years ago "we" purchased a 1919 four square with 5 acres of farm land on a highway at the edge of town. I had many concerns because the dog damage was extensive and many people could not even complete a walk through due to odor. Keep in mind I am INCREDIBLY sensitive to smells and suffer allergies. The windows badly need replaced, old metal siding etc. My husband felt this was all fixable and is an AVID do it yourselfer. We had a home and I told him my concerns but to go forward because we wanted to move into the town he works and where our kids attend school. My stand was if it didn't work out we might need to sell it.

We are now in this home, the other was sold. The reno included ripping out the old floors, installing a central heating and cooling system, a new well, basically a total gut job.

The money is out, still needs siding and windows. The asian beetles and occasional mouse drive me insane and make it feel filthy to me. There is also some strange sent in an upstairs bedroom (ours) that makes it impossible for me to sleep there. I don't even feel we can get ahead of maintenance issues. The water smells of sulfur (tried various remedies to the softener and water heater). Now a small (very small) leak in the roof over the attic. We haven't even had the time to install the new dishwasher that I have had since July! I could go on but I think you can get the picture.

The way I see it to get the home finished to my standards will take years. I am not the kind of person who can handle that. It makes me angry every day. We are considering refinancing to pay for the updates we have made but that does not do anything in way of siding, doors, windows, insulation. My dh has put his all into it and will be bitter if we sell it. To his credit the transformation is amazing. I am bitter staying. I want to look at all sides and thought someone removed from the situation might have some things to consider that I have not.

We are sad, mad, and broken. Perhaps I just need some inspiration. Oh if anyone knows how too keep those darn beetles out please tell me! We have had the house sprayed but they still come in and stink!

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

The beetles could be entering between a storm window gap where the pair overlap. Put them up or down completely and the frames will close the gap.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2009 at 4:26PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

It sounds like you are having one heck of a rough time. I wish I could say I don't know what you are going through, but.... I bought my "fixer-upper" before I met the man who is my DH. He got a lot more than he bargained for. I sometimes joke that it would have been a lot easier and maybe a bit cheaper if we had burned it down and put in a modular. LOL.

Quite frankly, I think the hardest part is living with the knowledge that you are stuck. If you have an otherwise happy, healthy marriage, then there is no reason you should give up. If I can offer some advice.... I would suggest writing a list of the good things that have happened in your home, the positive moments. It helps to relive the good things. When we get stuck in a moment of despair, we have to look beyond it to get the whole picture. I am speaking from experience. My home is constantly in a state of partially finished projects. (My roof is only half done!!!) I have to sometimes just let it go. Think yoga or meditation style thoughts. I can't do so many of the poses but the idea is the same. LOL.

It would probably help if you could treat yourself to a day out of the house. Go visit a friend who will listen to you vent. It would also help if they like your home, so they don't convince you to hop the first plane out of there. LOL. I thought of it a time or two.

I also have a strong aversion to odors. I can smell things that no one else notices. I found a mouse in a friend's home that they hadn't even smelled. I found it by tracing the smell. (To their credit, they are very clean people, who keep up with things, but the surprise gift from the cat may have been the hitch in the system.) Maybe it wouldn't hurt for you to log onto the housecleaning forum to maybe find away to get rid of the odor in your room. Not sleeping in my bed, cuddled up to my bear of a husband would be enough to make me frustrated. I am not certain that any marriage wouldn't be tested by sleeping in a stinky bedroom. There is a lot of literature out there that says your sense of smell is connected to your mood. That would do it for me! I don't know what kind of smell you are talking about, but I know I can't handle quite a few of them. I have asthma and terrible allergies that make life difficult sometimes.

I am not sure I made you feel any better, but maybe I made you laugh. As far as the whole being out of money to work on the house, I think we have all been there, unless you are independently wealthy. I really would suggest taking a look around and look back at how far you have come and don't be afraid to laugh- this coming from the lady who got sprayed in the face by a loose water line just 2 days ago!

Try to enjoy what you can and try to hold on. There have been some dark days for most of us, but they do pass.

I also included a link to get rid of those dang beetles.

Here is a link that might be useful: How to get rid of things

    Bookmark   November 10, 2009 at 4:32PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I'm sorry to hear about your plight. Peanutmom gave good advice. I would also have a heart-to-heart with your hubs to let off steam and resentment (let him know you are venting), then a frank talk about what's next for the house and for your sanity.

And it may help your feeling of helplessness to be more involved in the renovations somehow. That's also an option - to get more involved with your hubs in the reno. What do you think?

    Bookmark   November 11, 2009 at 7:02PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I agree, peanut mom gave good advice. What about making a to do list of what needs to be done to finish your project. it sounds like you have a lot of thing done already. I like paying cash when I can, but if you can take out a small loan and it helps you get over a huge hump in the way you feel about your house, weigh how that will work for you. We started our remodel in Jan 2009 with a bad contractor and had to shut it down. We resumed in Aug 09 with another bad bad contractor and lived in disarray for months. We shut that one down too! We were having trouble sleeping at night and it was a bad time. FINALLY we found our "dream contractor". He is honest, does beautiful work, and his cost is very reasonable. I let him know all the time how much I appreciate him. He fixed all the previous errors done by the other two. During these past months, we did put together a list of subs that have worked out great for us. I tell you this because there is a light at the end of the tunnel and usually things happen the way they are supposed to, even though we don't see it at the time. For us, there were torrential rains for weeks that slowed things down. Now several days of sun with the new contractor working! Not sure where you live, but if near me (North Texas), I can give you the name of a window guy who has been in business for eons and is a one man show, with a quality product and really good price. Good luck with everything.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2009 at 12:13PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I want to give you a different perspective. Others are telling you to be patient. I am not one of those.
Renovating a house costs an enormous amount of house. If you were starting a business that takes 50k, 100k, 200k, you would have a written business proposal and an exit strategy worked out before you jump in. Many businesses fail but the ones that survive and do well are the ones with careful planning and have had an extra dose of luck to go with it. I think house renovation is the same. The more planning you do, the better it comes out.

I think you need to be less emotional and really ask yourself what are the acceptable level of work quality is and the what the exit strategy is if the house cannot be fixed. If your husband say that the only end point is a renovated house, no matter how long it takes, then you need to ask yourself if this is the kind of partnership you really want to be in. It looks as if the house was bought with you agreeing into it reluctantly. One of the options is to get rid of the house and take a huge loss. If you get divorced, it will happen that way anyrate. If you are going to lose money, you might as well save the marriage!$%^& If losing money saves you marriage, then it was very worth it.

Another point is that if you are the type that cannot voice your dissent or get pushed over by your DH, it is also a problem. You need to critically ask yourself how you two have found yourselves in this situation. It might have been just bad luck, ignorance, too much optimism etc. The more awareness of yourselves you have, the better it will be for you in the long run.

The house is only a symptom. Ask yourself how do you and your DH solve big issues. Work on those first and the house problem will get solved accordingly.

I wish you the best. I gave you more than you asked for, I am sure.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2009 at 7:18PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

This message hits very close to home for me. My husband and I have been in this old for over a year. When we decided to buy the house, I was very much take it or leave it. I LOVED our former house. I love this house, too... but not as much as he does. I hate that it will take forever to get it the way we want - and even then, we can't afford to do everything we'd like.

I was mildly unhappy in the situation until this summer while I was waiting in the emergency room while my husband got stitches - a result of a DIY flooring project and small circular saw. The security guy in the emergency room asked me what happened to my husband. I told him house renovation. He said, "I renovated an old house once. It led to my divorce." yikes.

I love my husband. And I kind of like our house. He knows that. What works for me is focusing on the small things. We have our living room done, and I spend almost all of my time there. I am so very, very happy that our sink for the kitchen was delivered this week - even thought it won't be installed for at least 2 months. I have spent an insane amount of time researching the wooden screen doors that I WANT for this old house. There are a few things that I get to choose, and I'm focusing on those. Every once in a while I remind my husband that I hate this whole situation.

It will get better. The house will get to a point where you (me, too!) will feel comfortable. It's a process. When we moved in an architect friend advised us that buying an old house is like entering into a marriage - it's a long-term relationship. Ups, downs and all.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2009 at 9:04PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Renovating a house is really stressful on a marriage but the renovation will be done someday... at least that is want I keep telling myself!

We bought a house that needed a lot of work and thought we could do some of it ourselves and hire contractors as we needed. As it turns out, everything I thought was wrong, according to our contractor, who I have grown to really like and respect. It has been 4 very long months and we still haven't moved in. My husband, new baby, toddler and I are all living at my parents house (very unplanned) until it is done.

The only fortunate thing is that we have a very very good contractor (complete luck). The unfortunate thing is that we are definitely over budget. We had the bank reassess the value of the house and have increased the planned mortgage amount. I don't feel so bad about it because I think we would break even if we sold it (but I swear I will never move again!) and in the meantime, we will have a beautiful house and fantastic river front property when it is done.

I agree with some of the other comments about getting a plan in place. I always feel better when I can cross off a few items on the to-do list. It also may help prioritize the work, so your husband can work on the ones that you really, really want done.

I hope it helps to hear that others are in a similar situation! Good luck.


    Bookmark   November 27, 2009 at 2:33PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

An architect is a lot cheaper than a lawyer.

    Bookmark   November 27, 2009 at 6:42PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Questions about attic & insulation
1980's era house. Blown in FG insulation which at this...
adding a room, relocating stairs, relocating kitchen
My husband and I are planning on adding a one story...
Designer vs contractor
Hi all, New to the forum here. Purchsed a 1960's bungalow...
question about getting a bid from contractors
We're getting ready to put an addition on our house...
Large scale Asbestos Removal?!!
We are planning a large home renovation. First step...
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™