We are currently in the midst of several renovation projects in our house: the formal living room (wrapping that up TODAY… fingers crossed!), the basement bathroom, and I’m also working on a quick mini makeover in our half bath connected to the laundry room. Whew, just typing that kind of makes me tired, yet also excited! We love to stay busy and have SO many projects to tackle, that they tend to overlap. This is the third home we’ve renovated, so we’ve been down this road a time or two. Emmett and I have basically lived amongst some type of construction zone for a consistent six years now, and we’ve come to realize the importance that is the “feeling of home”… even when everything is covered under a layer of drywall dust. Here are a few ways we try to feel “at home” even when things are chaotic and look like a mess. Click through for my tips…
TAKE A BREAK
Remember when Emmett and I took a trip to Europe in the midst of our One Room Challenge? While the timing wasn’t great, it was absolutely necessary! It was so hard to walk away knowing it would put us further behind, but a true break from renovating was exactly what we needed. We got some much-needed quality time, plus I returned home with some serious inspiration from all the incredible architecture & design. It was just what we needed, then when we got back home we felt refreshed and inspired to jump back in again! Emmett is pictured below lounging on a pretty sofa in Amsterdam as proof…
ASK FOR HELP
This is a big one for us! Emmett and I work so well together (we’ve only renovated 3 homes alongside each other) but sometimes we need help. We are super lucky to have amazing friends nearby that we can call to help us when we need it most. Remember our friend and neighbor Brant? He jumped in during week two of the One Room Challenge and spent hours helping Emmett so we could get our fireplace up to code. We seriously couldn’t have done it without him! The fact of the matter is this: sometimes you just need more than two sets of hands or a tool you don’t have. You know you have an incredible friend when they crawl into your itchy, insulation-filled fireplace with you…
I’m sure you guys remember, in our previous home, when we were renovating our only bathroom or when we completely gutted the kitchen? We used our friend’s home to shower, do laundry, and even escape from one more night of takeout by feeding us a hot meal. There are plenty of examples of times we needed an extra hand on a project, we needed to borrow a tool, a homemade dinner, or just a night away from the mess. Asking our friends for help made it all possible, and they know we’d do the same for them! It works both ways, so don’t be afraid to ask.
CREATE A “SAFE SPACE”
When it feels like your entire house is torn apart, it’s SO important to have a place where you can escape the dust and actually relax! It doesn’t have to be elaborate or fancy, it just needs to help you feel like your house is “yours” even when the rest doesn’t. Maybe it’s a corner of your home where you can put a comfy chair for reading, or treat yourself to new bath products and take a long bath at the end of the day (you know how much I love a good bath). These small efforts go a long way for your attitude.
I like to use our master bedroom as a renovating “space space”, but when it comes time to tear apart that room for remodeling- you better believe I’ll make an effort to set up an equally cozy space elsewhere… perhaps we’ll retreat to the basement? Or maybe make an effort to spend a lot of time enjoying another room, like home cooked meals in our beautiful kitchen.
Here are my favorite small and easy ways to feel at home:
- Light a candle (here are some of my favorites).
- Hang art on the wall.
- Incorporate textiles (like cozy blankets this time of year).
- Take a bath or put on a face mask… or one of your other favorite self-care regimens.
- Keep areas or rooms outside of the construction zone clean. Having order elsewhere helps!
In the midst of the dust and frustration that comes with renovating, it’s easy to forget why you started. I’m a detail oriented person, so thinking about the big picture is a big one for me! I can easily get lost in my thoughts and lonnnng to-do list. We have grand plans for our home, and it’s easy to get frustrated when I see all the things we haven’t done yet. BUT- the great part of having a blog is I can look back at how far we’ve come… like the kitchen and guest bathroom, to name a couple. It’s always worth it in the end.
I also try to remember the skills I gain along the way. I’ve vastly expanded my skillset and am proud of the things I can do! Those skills were gained during the process and that’s something I try to embrace when I’m feeling ready for it to be over.
We are so grateful to be able to do these projects and share them with you, which honestly provides perspective for me when I get frustrated with our lack of baseboards or unfinished floors.
If you’re wondering about our dogs… I shared 10 tips for helping your dog through a renovation or remodel. Just like us, pets also can struggle through the chaos that is home construction. Do you have things you like to do during a renovation to feel more at home? I’d love to hear them! Speaking of renovations… look for our formal living room reveal next week. I can’t wait to show you the finished project (finally)! This one has definitely tested my patience.
PeggiJanuary 3, 2020 at 5:58 am
Such smart tips…for reno and just for life. Asking for help can be difficult (#controlfreak), so I try to remember that I truly feel honored and trusted when someone asks me for assistance. The long view is tough! Those lists I am so fond of making can just keep getting longer. You are smart to take time to review the mounds you’ve already accomplished! I especially like your idea of reminding yourself of the skills learned. You’ve been enriched along with your home. Thanks for the wise words. Excited for the living room next week! Have a lovely weekend!💖
SarahJanuary 7, 2020 at 9:35 am
Same here… asking for help can be tough, but I’m learning it’s necessary. I’m a fellow control freak :)
Brittany R.January 3, 2020 at 7:40 am
I completely agree with all you have said here. I don’t think it can be overstated how important it is to have a space that’s clean and put together to relax in when so much of the rest of the house-like our previous home-is in various stages of remodel. I felt like I was going mad and the clean, finished spaces were necessary to reduce my anxiety level because the reno went on forever. I’m curious if you and Emmett have any plans or vision for one day actually building your home by hand? I know it would be amazing, and you all have serious skills!
SarahJanuary 7, 2020 at 9:36 am
That is definitely key! Having a well-kept area to retreat to is a must. Great question… we dream of building someday! It probably won’t be soon, but will most likely be our forever home. We also want to live abroad for a period of time. Who knows what will happen!
BeckyJanuary 3, 2020 at 8:41 am
I love your blog and am looking forward to the living room reveal. I was wondering if you could provide a source for the floral art above the desk in your bedroom. Looks like the other two are personal photos and I can’t get over the combination of the prints – it’s really gorgeous!
SarahJanuary 7, 2020 at 9:40 am
Hi Becky! Thanks for your patience as I’ve been away from my computer sick. I’m happy to share the artwork source. Those came from Juniper Print Shop: https://juniperprintshop.com/collections/floral/products/garden-roses-ii . Thanks for your kind words. xo