In Home Reno & Decor/ Life/ Marriage


When we got married 11 years ago I never imagined we would gut two houses in five years with three kids in tow.

But somehow we thought it was a good idea.
Together with our let’s-wing-it-personalities, along with our-go-big-or-go-home-lifestyle, that goes hand in hand with our die-hard-adventurous-sides we have successfully survived A LOT of DIY renovations in a short time.

Eleven years ago I wish I knew what I know now! I wish we knew that we could survive it! That we would grow closer through it and that our determination would be key to seeing results while doing-it-ourselves (DIY) with babies in tow.

I wish I knew what to look out for, what to do differently and what to avoid altogether.
So today, together with my handy hubby, we want to share with you allllll the DIY insider information that we wish we had of had on hand, along with the hammer, all those years ago.
When I presented my knight in shining tool belt with the idea to share our inside info with our readers he didn’t hesitate for a minute.
Read: wingin’it King.

Our texting conversation went something like this…and I QUOTE:

Me: “Hey Babe, just thinking about doing a blog post where we share all that we have learnt while renovating. Can you send me your thoughts on the top five things you have learnt while renovating together?”

2 minutes later (there is never time to waste when wit is on your side…)

Hubby: “#1 patience. #2 patience. #3 patience. #4 patience #5 patience”

Me: “Hardy har harrrrrr”

As with dating, hubby left the appropriate time to respond while keeping me interested without being overbearing…

15 minutes later..

Hubby: “1. Plan out the room and get in writing what every design detail is expected. This way when plans change (which they will, by the wife) it will avoid the “that isn’t what I wanted” argument.

2. Have a place for your tools, when two people are using the same tools they will get easily miss placed in the kitchen cabinets, bathroom drawers, in the living room coffee table and no one will admit to placing them in weird locations. I would say that before buying a large tool organizer 60% of my reno time was spent looking for tools.
Now it has been cut down to 30%

3. When your wife calls and asks if you need anything from the hardware store, take pictures of the materials needed. Taking the picture will save time with explanations of what it looks like, what aisle it is in and worst case scenario she could show someone at the store. If I had known and done this sooner I may have more hair on my head….

4. Take breaks… coffee, water and food are all necessary when working together. Coffee will keep you going, especially when the reno’s are being done after you both have already worked your day jobs. Water to keep hydrated or your favorite adult drink will keep you going as well. The food is the most important thing to consume as some of us get exceptionally (H)angry when we have not eaten yet. ( insert wife’s name here )

5. Time lines for completing reno has an equation that only applies to couples. Keep this in mind.

Estimated time of finishing reno + 1 extra day per child in home + 1 day per week for “Hey honey, Lowe’s is having a big sale” + distance travelling to hardware store each time you forget that box of screws.

Also you need to account for some “reset your sanity time” with your spouse away from the stress. Whether it be a movie, taking the kids to the park, going for a pint or just riding bikes away from the disaster zone.”

I read his answers and chuckled. How true they are!

Because we want to share the raw and real inside scoop, this is unedited by me (Wifey). But lets clarify for the record, I don’t need pictures when I’m searching for thing-a-ma-bobs at the hardware store…..well at least 80% of the time. 😉
My top five tips for renovating with a partner are
probably and ironically very similar to my hubby’s. Renovating with someone else is not for the faint of heart. There are different ideas, talents and expectations to manage. Throw some little kids into the
mix and that’s a whole other level of crazy town.
If you find yourself in this predicament you will quickly learn how to trade off
responsibilities so you can occupy the children, which means super slow
progress. For a duo that envisions the end result this can be really difficult.
But don’t fret, I’ve got my own advice if you are about to embark on a renovation
DIY adventure with your partner.
1.  Set realistic expectations for yourself. This
was key for me and probably for most people who are visual dreamers. You can
picture the end result even before you go to the hardware store to pick out
your supplies. So the hardware store trips (the planned and the unexpected ones
that come up at 9pm) will be much more bearable if you set a realistic time
frame for a certain projects completion date.
2.  Never ask your spouse to agree on a timeline to
finish a particular project.
Now this may seem contradictory to my first tip
but SERIOUSLY guys. Don’t. Do. IT.  I
cannot even count how many times I have nagged asked my handy hubby to decide on a completion
date for a renovation project and then when the time nears and then comes and goes, one
or both of us becomes extra frustrated. This isn’t always avoidable though. Like when
you need that ceiling painted and chandelier hung before your birthday dinner,
but, if you can avoid firm deadlines you will enjoy the renovating process  (and each other) so much more.
3. Find ways to occupy the stragglers. Perhaps you
have kids like we do or maybe you have pets, if you are like us and you have both
it is crucial to set up ways to occupy your dependents. We use to NOT do this. We were dumb.
We were impatient. We would simply jump into a project and then we would have to take frequent breaks to feed
the kids, water the kids, feed the pets, water the pets and before we knew it the afternoon we had put aside had slipped
away. To avoid being dumb like us, set up your kids and family with easy to reach refreshments so you don’t
need to stop every few minutes to meet another need. This is the perfect time
to also set up Netflix for the kids, or if you’re one of those awesome parents who limits screen time, pull out the board games for them instead. Also,
bribing them to give you an allotted time to tackle a task is also a fab idea,
EVERY awesome parent should do this at least once. 😉
4.  Keep a list of steps that are needed to be
completed during a project
. I am a die hard list keeper. If you aren’t, now is
the time to try to be. Keeping a list of what needs to be completed during a
renovation is key to keep you motivated. You will never be so happy to pop off
a fruity flavoured marker lid and to strike out #3 on your to do list.
Write down every little detail in order to feel extremely accomplished. Soon enough you will feel like a true successful and motivated DIY’er.
5. Make friends with the hardware store employees.
This is crucial. I make it a point to be sweet and kind to everyone I meet but
I really try to put my best foot forward when I walk in through the doors of
the hardware store. If you are deep into a DIY you may be frazzled, hungry and
haggard in the middle of a project overhaul. But as soon as I go searching for
that one thing we forgot to buy, didn’t know to buy, or lost while waiting for
this step of the project to be ready to tackle, I put a sweet smile on my tired
      Why? Because my Mama taught me to be sweet and because hardware store
employees will become your BFFs. Take the gentleman who works at the paint
section, I see him more than I see my relatives. He lets me know when new
product will arrive that I have anxiously been anticipating and he offers personal advice
from his long history of undertaking his own projects. Not only is that just great human
interaction and a fab escape from grueling work, but the knowledge you gain will save you time and money. The sweet lady who works the front desk at
the hardware store down the street? She will let you keep a tab instead of
running around and having the hard task of remembering your debit card while
remembering which size brad nails you need to return with. The guy that wanders
the isles asking if  you have found what
you are looking for? He actually wants to help you and he has a wealth of
knowledge about what product might work better for your project and which new
ones might be coming in to the store.

These people are your people and you
share the same passions. Treat them as so. Renovations are so much sweeter with little breaks here and there to see familiar faces. Your people even enjoy listening to your reno frustrations and you know your real life friends could care less that you had to make 6 trips to the hardware store in one day. Your people will be happy to see you… again.

     What? Is a visit to the
hardware store almost like free therapy? Why Yes, yes it can be. Also, some hardware stores sell subs at each location. Need I say more? 😉
  So there you have it friends and fellow DIY enthusiasts! These ten tips are the very most important things you need to keep in mind before beginning your next reno with your better half! We hope to share with you in the future other things we have picked up while gutting and rebuilding homes. Stay tuned!!
In the mean time, where are all my DIY experts at? Would you add anything to our list? What is YOUR most important DIY tip for a smooth partnership? Which tip do you think is the most relevant? Also, how many times have you visited the hardware store in one day? Is there a world record for that yet? There should be! We would love to hear your thoughts!

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