Hello and welcome to week seven of the blog series – An Honest Chat About ‘Renovation Fatigue’. This week I’ve been able to have an honest chat with Lins, of @linsdrabwellhome. I have really enjoyed following Lins as she has tackled DIY projects in her home, the majority of which having to be well planned as she has had her own health issues to face this year. Truly inspirational. Her hashtag #dailyDIY has motivated many to take on even the smallest project everyday in an effort to achieve fantastic results.
My aim is to bring you a different story each Friday and hope that by doing this we can recognise how far we’ve come, but also share the reality of taking on a house renovation. If you would like to be involved then please contact me either through this link or via Instagram. That’s enough from me – over to Lins!
- Lins & Pete, plus the fluffs of course!
- 1930s semi-detached in southeast London
- We moved in in February 2014
- Insta @linsdrabwellhome Blog: www.booandmaddie.com
Ever since I moved to London back in 2002, renting was my life from studios with no oven to studios with an oven to one bedroom flats and then eventually into a Victorian terraced house. Despite some of their misgivings, I loved all my homes but people kept saying to me “wait until you buy, it’s completely different”. I had my doubts, but we finally cobbled together enough money for a ridiculous deposit (welcome to London) and began our super-fast purchase process. We only looked at six houses and went from offer to keys in less than six weeks on this place, our forever home.
And so it began, my love-hate relationship with the reno life. The first year it all felt so overwhelming. Literally every last penny had gone on getting the house, there was nothing left over to do anything. It was in a perfectly liveable condition but just in need of modernising really. We did have double-glazing windows but very old ones. We did have a fire, but a hideous gas one that a chimney sweep later told us was illegal. We also discovered a huge structural crack in the first floor landing and top floor landing that had to be fixed and every time the washing machine went on a spin cycle it tripped the kitchen electrics.
Looking back it’s so funny to think how far you’ve come even if you don’t think so. One of my very first DIY projects was to paint the crimson red tiny kitchen. It had brown vinyl tiles on the floor and was so dark and depressing. I just assumed there was one type of paint so went out and bought a Dulux brilliant white, painting EVERYTHING in it, the walls, the radiator, the woodwork. I had no idea there was different paint for different surfaces.
Fast forward five years and my DIY skills have improved considerably. I now know how to paint – properly – and am in the process of a garden renovation where I’ve just laid my own garden path and painted 200ft of fencing. Yes there is a Mr on the scene but he is allergic to pretty much any DIY activity. To be fair he works very long hours in a stressful job and would be totally content if the house had been left exactly as it was when we moved in. But that’s not the woman’s way is it? We’re always after changing something or other.
So I’ve realised that to get things done it has to be me or nothing, we don’t have any family or friends nearby to call upon. We’re on a bit of a tight budget these days since I left my job last year and since I’m time-rich but cash-poor I’m more than happy to have a go at most things and save the budget for the important stuff. It’s probably one of my favourite aspects of the renovation journey, that sense of pride when you stand back and say triumphantly “I did that”. Well, that’s the polite version anyway because DIY has definitely brought my potty mouth to the fore, I feel very sorry for my neighbours who have to listen to me swearing to myself when I’m trying to get yet another stubborn tree stump out of the ground.
I also absolutely LOVE all the people I’ve come across through blogging and Instagramming our renovation journey, the community is supportive, welcoming, inspiring and just now very much part of my every day life. I’ve met in real life several people that I first connected to online with DIY questions and it’s so fulfilling to watch others on their own home process. I’ve also had some amazing experiences through documenting our updates on my blog over the last 5 years and it’s been a joy to have this as my full-time job this year on a much-needed break.
That said, of course it’s not easy at all. I’m one of those people who feels guilty sitting down for an hour to watch something when I could be doing the next little job. I’ve also been diagnosed with a chronic illness this year which means that sometimes as much as my mind wants to work my body refuses to and I’m learning to try and live with that and work within my limitations. Yes, I wish we had more money to throw at things and get it all done faster but we all make choices and since we’ll be here forever we’re choosing to try and live a little too – still going on holidays, out for dinner, enjoy ourselves too so that it’s not a relentless train of project after project.
If someone had said to me in my mid-20s when we were still very firmly ensconced in rental life in west London that in 10 years time I’d have a 4 bedroom house in south London with a big garden and instead of going out drinking I’d be getting up early to strip spindles or tend to our garden I’d have fallen over in hysterics. And now here I am and I wouldn’t change it for the world. I didn’t have any kind of stability or a long-term home growing up and have already lived here longer than anywhere I lived as a child. I love the very bones of my home, I talk to it, I thank it every day for keeping my little family safe and warm and promise that I’ll spend the rest of my days showing it the love it shows us.
Thank you to Lins for having an honest chat about renovation fatigue. Head over to @linsdrabwellhome and see more pictures and follow her journey. If you can, I would definitely recommend getting involved with her hashtag too – #dailyDIY.