“The House is Killing Us”

These were the words of our four year old son the other week. He was only repeating what Tamara had been saying, but it has been true for us in the last few months.

Our house has completely consumed our family.

Our weekends are no longer our own. Our spare time is always spent on our house and our relationship with each other and with the kids is suffering.

We feel right now like we are at the end of our tether.

  1. Our contractor has verbally confirmed that we will be dissolving our contract, but has still not gotten the letter to us to finalize it and he is not answering our phone calls or returning our messages. Until he does this (been waiting for three-weeks now) we can’t move ahead with anyone else, or even doing stuff ourselves.
  2. What was meant to be “temporary” plumbing and gas fittings is now going to have to be make semi-permanent as it will probably take us over a year now to get someone to replace our builder based upon most builder’s waiting lists.
  3. Our deck is still sitting a pile of timber and metal in the back-yard waiting to be erected. I really don’t want to see that timber rot, or the metal rust if it sits there too long.
  4. The timber yards are closed until the 8th of January, so even if we could do something ourselves we might not be able to get timber for it. Steel, for the deck stumps, will take even longer.

Right now we are considering putting a hold on our major renovations. The plans for council are valid for six-years, as is my owner-builder license. This means that realistically we can put it on hold for quite a while before we move ahead with things, and we can also take our time and not rush the project and put too much pressure on ourselves.

At the moment we are not really sure what to do with everything. Thankfully there hasn’t been too much talk about walking away from the house and selling, but for us to continue down this path won’t be good for our family.

Any advice from other DIY renovators would be appreciated…

4 Replies to ““The House is Killing Us””

  1. Maryam in Marrakesh

    I am just writing to send my support to you, all the way from Marrakesh. It always ends up being so much more expensive, time consuming and soul sapping than what is originally imagined. My advice to you is to make sure to do at least one very fun thing every single weekend with your family. Otherwise, life will pass you by and you will wonder why you didn’t enjoy it more.

  2. heather

    Yes! Put some of the work off for a while. Take the time to spend with your family doing activities outside the house or spend time together doing things that are not house related.

    It’s difficult when you are in the midst of doing lots of work on the house to keep a balance with other aspects of your life. The tendency is to push through and get the work on the house done.

    We are going on our 5th year of a major restoration project. The first 2 yrs. we didn’t do anything outside of the house or have any converation when we didn’t discuss some aspect of the house. We ended up feeling so burnt out that we took a year off from doing any work on the house. We out to dinner, out to the movies and just started to have a normal life outside of the house. If we would have kept going with work on the house, I would have ended up hating the house.

    Now we try to do one major house project a year. I deally, I’d like to have our house finished but we had to step back and find the balance with the other aspects of our life.

  3. Bill Hutchison Post author

    We feel like we have been at it now ever since we got our first house, almost 3.5 years ago. It’s really getting to be too much.

    To add more challenges to it we are visiting Canada in February next year, and need to get certain things done and in place before we leave so that we can feel secure in the house when we go. This is proving to be a challenge considering how long it takes to get anything done here in Townsville, especially if trying to do it on a budget.

  4. Jocelyn

    Things can certainly get overwhelming. And we don’t even have children at our place. I’m not sure what all the work you are doing and how liveable your house is, but if you can avoid doing it all at once. Definitely, breaks are a must. We tend to lighten up alot in the winters and take a year off from major projects. For example, we did our bathroom ourselves, and then waited a few years to take on the kitchen. In between we did alot of smaller projects, but we try to break up the major ones with some time to avoid burnout.

    This summer we had a huge project and now this winter we will do some smaller projects and then in the summer nothing major again. When I say major, I mean gutting and complete rehab.

    Also, when we had a major project going on like our kitchen for example that took us a long time (I won’t say how long)- if we were tired, we took a weekend off. Blood from a turnip is an important thing to remember. Also, family obligations can save you and force breaks.

    Good luck and remember life and renovation are processes not about perfection. I hope you can work it out.

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