On television reno shows, there’s a dramatic build-up to that moment where the host tells the hapless homeowners that their foundation has shifted, or the wall they wanted to remove (which the entire redesign hinges on) is load bearing, or that all the plumbing has to be replaced. Yes, it’s true that the climactic music and the intense facial expressions are fodder for high ratings, but each real life renovation has enough dramatic moments to frazzle even the calmest, most zen homeowner.
Derek & Bethany haven’t had a “oh-dear-God-why-did-we-ever-buy-this-house” moment. But, they are renovating a 1915 Craftsman. Which means their house is old. Really old. 100 years old. So things don’t always go according to plan. Take, for instance, the installation of the HVAC. One of the features that Bethany & Derek fell in love with when they first saw the home was the high ceilings. But they do live in the South, where summers feel like a rung of Dante’s Inferno. The hope was to hide the HVAC system above the ceilings. But there were places where, logistically, that just wouldn’t work. So they found themselves having to drop the ceiling 6 inches or so to hide the HVAC. Certainly not the end of the world. But it sure can feel like it, when lowering those gorgeous high ceilings is just one in a litany of problems to be addressed and decisions to be made.
And there seems to be no end to the decisions that Derek & Bethany have to make. Where to they put light switches? Where should the outlets go? What about the thermostat? And vents? These decisions seem like minutia, but they are key elements to making a house truly functional. When they are in the right place, these features blend into the background. But any combination of these features in the wrong place could cause years of annoyance. And some of them are near impossible to fix without throwing a bunch of money at the problem.
Money is one of the biggest stress factors that Derek & Bethany have faced. They chose a good team of honest professionals that have priced the work fairly and accurately. In that respect, they are incredibly fortunate. But even so, each last minute change, each miscommunication that causes a piece of the project to be done and then redone so that its closer to perfect, costs money. And those small costs add up quickly.
Renovation isn’t a perfect science. No one knows exactly how the project will play out before it begins—or even, really, while its going on. And there’s no way to escape renovating a home without a level of stress that could bring Attila the Hun to tears. But Derek & Bethany can see the light at the end of the tunnel now. Because sometime in February, this will all be over. And their monster renovation project will simply be their beautiful, fully renovated 1915 Craftsman home.