This summer, it will be five years since we bought our house. When we bought this house, we knew it had the key factors to being a home we’d stay in for a long time. We also saw that it had lots of potential, which is a nice real estate word for not great currently but could get there. Kind of like when we sold our first house and the real estate agent listed it as charming. What she really meant was small, old, and quirky. So we bought this house full of potential back in 2016. It was livable the way it was — just in need of a lot of updates — so we went ahead and moved in with our one-year-old, three-year-old, and five-year-old.
Moving with three young kids was brutal, so we didn’t start any projects right away. Then, work got busy and the kids needed a lot and I couldn’t imagine taking on anything else. So we didn’t do anything for a while. And slowly over time, everything started to drive me crazy. The little things we originally wanted to change became so bothersome that I couldn’t stand them anymore. I would lay with my kids at night and stare at the popcorn ceiling thinking how much I hated it. I would walk through the downstairs and over six different types of flooring and think of how much it needed to go. Every time I was in the kitchen, I would despise it. There wasn’t room for more than one person in there, much less a family. I would carry a laundry basket through the downstairs and hit my hands on every tight corner in this walled off house. I needed more space. I needed colors that weren’t baseball dirt brown. I needed some beauty in the space around me.
I realized that I needed to love where I live, so I got to work.
I started doing the projects that I could. My husband is key to a lot of bigger stuff, but I realized that I could start doing things on my own. I could learn how to do things he’s always done. I could also be ok with making progress even if it’s not the final plan. Take one of the bathrooms for example: the big plan is to gut it. So for almost five years, I haven’t touched it. There was a leak from the bathroom above it, so the ceiling had to be replaced, which led to the walls needing to be painted. But I kept waiting for that gutting to happen before I did anything. Then one day it hit me: that might not happen for a while, but I can still have a bathroom that I like while I wait.
I took down the old light fixture and the 1981 mirror. I repaired the walls (but don’t look too closely because they were in bad shape and I’m not great at repairing walls), I painted a color I really wanted to try, I put up a new light fixture, hung a new mirror, painted the floor, and added new décor. And I love it so much. It’s not even finished yet. I still have to add finishing touches and a great shower curtain, but already I kind of want to hang out in there. I may have to do the same in another room that I can actually spend time in.
Here’s what I learned: it’s ok to not wait for everything to be perfect. It’s ok to make small improvements that make you happy even if it’s not the big goal. It’s ok to try something new and not be perfect at it (see my bathroom wall repairs). It’s ok to take a risk. It’s good to just do the project. Don’t wait. I’m really glad I did this bathroom project and keep thinking I wish I had done it years ago.