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Surviving live-in renovations

We’re new homeowners! My husband and I went completely HGTV and bought a “fixer-upper”. There’s a slight problem though, neither of us is or was capable of doing the actual fixing of any uppers, or lowers, for that matter. If you hand me parts to a Poäng chair or a Klippan sofa, an Allen wrench and Swedish instructions, I could whip together an eight-piece living room set in 24 hours. My husband, not so much. So, there we were, two extremely excited, but clueless newbies to the “buy and renovate” gig.

We decided to buy at a late stage in our lives because, one, we were tired of contributing to the empty equity of others; and two, if you weren’t born with the proverbial silver spoon in Bermuda, well, it simply takes this long to build up the considerable down payment. And boy, did it hurt my heart to transfer that money for the purchase. A fool and their money are soon parted.

When I say “fixer-upper”: by the time we actually closed, parts of the roof had fallen in and a myriad other thing needed to be done (we didknow about these beforehand). Thus, we started our journey into the renovation world of our new home. Did I mention that the two of us, two kids, and one on the way were going to be attempting to live life normally, in the house, while this was going on?

As luck would have it, my dad works in the construction industry and has friends, lots of friends. Do you know the saying, “It takes a village”? Well, that doesn’t only refer to raising children. In my case, it applies to making our house an actual home. We had two weeks to get our new house liveable, and this had to be completed while both my husband and I were working full-time, leaving our evenings to work on the house. With that said, I couldn’t actually do much to assist with any of the heavy lifting which left the menfolk to paint, tile, fix and mend. I was charged with entertaining the kids, keeping them from underfoot.

We were living temporarily in an apartment owned by an uncle, and didn’t have much furniture, so there was less to move. The home-buying process started months before and, I can tell you, living out of a suitcase while going through copious amounts of paperwork and legal wrangling, is not an easy living situation. It seemed like a good idea at the time. Then again, so did having another child. These decisions always seem so much easier in my head.

One of the trickiest parts of the process: our bedrooms. For the first time, our kids were getting their own rooms. Each room had concrete floors, which needed more than rugs and paint. So, we went to every flooring store, from Carpet Professionals in Paget to Souza’s Carpets in town, and looked at wood tiles, regular tiles and at carpets and epoxy floors. We then looked at our dwindling bank accounts, which pretty much made the decision for us. After all the searching and discussion, we finally went with… rugs and paint.

Even after the frenzied pace of renovating just to get us in the door, the move-in brought its own issues. We had no appliances, no bedroom furniture, still a leaky roof and the impending rainy season to contest with. With emoo.bm in hand and a mate of my brother’s on tap for repairs, we managed to coddle together what actually looks and feels like a home now. To look back and see from whence we started until today is pretty amazing. Taking on live-in renovations is not the easiest thing to do but we did it while remaining friends. Our now three children have a forever homestead and surprisingly, still, both parents to share it with.

This article was originally published in the Fall 2018 edition of RG Magazine.

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