The Renovator’s wife Blog

Renovating with your partner and living to tell about it

Why do it Yourself & Why on Earth with your Spouse? May 31, 2009

For the Renovator (my husband) and I (the Renovator’s wife) we each came to our interest in renovating from different places.

The Renovator “fell into it”. His family is filled with construction oriented minds – they are all incredibly intelligent and talented people – and he needed a job. Having worked around the construction industry off and on, it became an occupation for him and he loves it. I swear he can do anything, although he is a finishing carpenter by trade.

My interest comes from a desire to improve things and make them more appealing by making them my own. My do-it-yourself dad taught me to be self-sufficient, so in my first home, when I wanted something done, I’d learn about it and do it myself. Hiring someone was not an option financially.

The Renovator and I were acquaintances for many years and began working together on my second house. I needed his expertise and knowledge. Then, after spending a number of weekends together, somehow we (unexpectedly, but happily) fell in love.  We saw that we both love the process, seeing things change by our own hands, then basking in the outcome of a job completed.

The point is this – some couples can renovate together and some can’t. We can, and know we can, because we did it before we were a couple. Some of our friends can’t even paint a room together even though they’ve got a great relationship. Everyone has a different perspective, a different pace a different vision – yes, even your spouse. You may agree on what should be done, but not necessarily on how to do it.  Our closest friends are very much in love, but had a few rip-roaring fights during their major renovation. For them, it was beneficial in that they learned about their relationship, for others, it doesn’t always go so well.

My advice to you is to take on a small couple’s project to see if you can work together. Be flexible in your expectations of one another’s contributions, but above all, be realistic. A couch potato is not going to suddenly become a renovation master. A couple with no time for each other is not going to find time to work on the house. A renovation – no matter how well planned – is always going to cost more than expected and if your relationship is already strained renovating is definitely not going to help.

Proceed with caution and know that the rewards can be amazing – if they weren’t the Renovator and the Renovator’s Wife wouldn’t keep at it the way we do.


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