Don’t let it kill you, baby, don’t let it get to you…*

*Lyrics from Tom Petty And The Heartbreaker’s 1981 hit The Waiting (is the hardest part).

Client Renovation: end of Week 1 and days 6 & 7 (if you missed the beginning of this tale, read about it here and here.)

Yeah, that’s right, I went old-school with my song lyrics today. But that’s because it fit too well. This past week, or rather 5 days spread across two work weeks, has been about waiting, primarily. Waiting for phase 1 to be complete, waiting for plumbers to arrive (which they finally did, but not without breaking promises to show up at least 3 times), and waiting for the electrical to be completed (which happened in a timely manner, but over a couple of visits due to a nasty cold). Waiting IS the hardest part. Mostly.

Perhaps the (other) hardest part is being locked into schedules and budgets that can careen out of control (seemingly) at their own will. One of the great pleasures of renovating an older home (especially one that had parts that were quite literally falling apart) is that you get to feel that you are saving something that might have otherwise been thrown away. That you feel like you’re leaving something of value behind, something that will do others good beyond yourself. And that’s a really great perk to rehabbing an aging structure.

On the other hand, however, are the vast number of unknowns that shift your budget, shift your schedule, and shift your patience for suffering without a kitchen, without space, without running water, without a whole house breeze. Older houses have secrets sometimes buried inside, and it only takes one small move to unearth them. It only takes one mislaid wire, one hidden pipe, one poorly designed plumbing transition, or one crumbling bit of plaster to turn a medium scale renovation into a full-on gut job. It’s the dark side of renovating older homes, of trying to make something beautiful and valuable out of something that’s woefully not to code, not safe, not new.

Mr & Mrs K have had quite a week, waiting and watching their budget expand before their eyes. It is a tough process, one that I myself have gone through (budget woes and all!), and one that I would happily go through again. The satisfaction comes at the very end. After the dust has settled and the pieces are put back together there comes a moment when it’s all worth it. Every penny spent, every moment agonizing about purchases, every lengthy conversation about where to place lighting, shelves, cereal or spoons.

But we’re not there yet. I have faith that we will get there. With a little patience. A little serenity. A little give and a little take. And it will be worth the wait.

Photos. Enjoy! xoxo


  1.'Holyoke Home

    We love love love our electrician (Beaulieu Electric) and sheetrock/skim coating team (Champagne Drywall), but have also struggled to find a conscientious plumber in the area. I wonder why that is?

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