Comment: To renovate or not to renovate?

Mess, stress and hassle - but worth it

Mess, stress and hassle - but worth it - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

There’s nothing like seeing someone else’s fabulous, shiny new house to make all the defects of your own place seem starker than ever.

We stayed with friends in their newly-renovated home over the weekend. What had once been a tired bungalow had been given a complete facelift and turned into a gorgeous home, with all the modern, middle-class classic features – kitchen/diner, utility room, en-suites galore – the full works. When I’d finished admiring the snazzy newness of its all I pondered the likelihood of us ever doing something similar. After all, every other person seems to be converting their loft or moving out for six months to create a kitchen/diner/family room complete with beautiful bi-folds these days - maybe we should do the same?

Apart from maybe we won’t, ever. Even the smallest of renovation projects can be extremely costly, not to mention messy. But the biggest stumbling block for me would be the epic number of decisions that would need to be made in order for the job to be done at all, let alone done well.

Speaking as someone who can’t choose the paint colour for a single room without feeling over it, the thought of decorating, renovating and totally transforming a whole house seems too incredible a proposition to realistically contemplate.

But with a shortage of suitable houses to move to and the insane costs involved with buying a new place, renovating is very often the only option.


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And all credit is due to those who do it. I’ve marvelled at enough fabulous finished products to know that the results always seem to be worth the stress, but I still can’t imagine myself or my other half coping well with the need to make urgent decisions on light fittings or splashbacks or even what we’re having for dinner.

But now we’re back home, all I can see is peeling wallpaper, tired carpets and a distinct shortage of en-suite facilities. I won’t be reaching for the paint charts just yet, but I’m keeping my mind open to it.

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