Decisions. Decisions.

Decisions, decisions. I used to think that decision making was the best part of a DIY project. Get an idea, research how to execute it, tailor a plan, buy the materials and get to work. But now, after only three months of renovating, decisions have actually started to stress me out. Big time!

These days it feels more like... have 43 projects, research how to get them all done simultaneously, pick which one has priority (i.e. completion before: inspection, winter, money runs out), realize the materials you love are 3x more expensive, rethink everything for a week, argue about why project is stalled, make up and hope to God we get to work.

I think the stress has more to do with the budget (or limits) of our current renovation projects that scares me the most. I feel like we have one awesome opportunity to get this right and desperately don't want to screw it up. I recently joked with a friend that I've spent more time contemplating the bedroom paint color than I did the actual house purchase.

Our stress is also heightened because we did not hire an general contractor, architect or designer (as many home DIYers can not); relying on our own free time, instincts and "eye" to keep the projects moving forward. I'm not complaining. OK, I kind of am...

Though I enjoy playing GC at times, we knew from the start we'd have a lot of weight on our shoulders. Aside from John actually doing the work, we're constantly reviewing the budget, timeline and material sourcing. If you've never lived through a renovation, and thought to yourself "why is this taking so long", I'd be happy to review hundreds of setbacks with you.

So, in an effort to cut ourselves some slack, I started a little list (you know I love lists!) and recorded all the decisions and hurdles we tackled, as a couple, in 1-week.

Here's just a snippet:

- plumbing inspection failed. Plumber says our plans were off, City said otherwise; get new plumber in the middle of all this?

- bathroom tile color and shape; order from distributor or big box store; pay cash or credit?

- Bleeker Beige, Bennington Greg or the color my Dad picked and already started painting?

Decisions. Decisions.

- find flooring guys for kitchen hardwood; get at least three quotes. John, confident in process, "scares" first two guys away requesting no polyurethane.

- find two more floor guys; hope not to immediately scare them off...

Existing kitchen hardwood.

Kitchen hardwood demo.

- kitchen island pendent light fixtures style; 2 or 3 over island; pay cash or credit?

- where to buy flooring; to mill it ourselves and save a buck?

John decided to source and mill the new kitchen hardwood himself.

- whether or not to get upset at our neighbor to the east that's using our driveway for their own reno (trucks, materials, etc)

- beer, wine or both?

You get the point. I recently had a brass tacks conversation with our friend, Mike, who is also in the midst of a home reno; currently pouring his own concrete counter tops (GO MIKE!). He reminded me, "Court, anyone who comes over and points out how they would have done something differently, is there for the wrong reasons and shouldn't be invited back." True to form Mike!

When we get really overwhelmed (or just want some good company), we call upon our besties for brainstorming. Kyle and PJ just finished raising and remodeling their home after Hurricane Sandy destroyed it. Damn you Sandy!

During their renovation, we loved stopping by for what PJ coined "design in motion" sessions where we used beer and blue painters tape to work through the decision making process. Needlesstosay, Kyle and PJ are true examples of perseverance. I often remind myself that we chose this renovation, where as our friends were forced, first losing thousands of dollars worth of personal and irreplaceable property. And after months & months of dedication and hard work, their house looks gorgeous, and now they're offering design input to our reno.

Kyle & PJs beautiful, raised post Sandy home.

Their gorgeous custom kitchen.

Gas fireplace. Kyle is the queen of cozy nooks!

We clearly need reminders that plans are fluid, and love the idea that our friends are helping along the way. It also doesn't hurt that PJ has his own painting company and loves to recommend paint colors and combinations. Our place will certainly "get aced"!

So, with our friend's peptalks and successes in our hearts, we'll kick off this next round of projects taking a deep breathe and a step back. No decision is ever 100% permanent. Maybe we'll have to live with something (a color, finish, texture, or spouse, JK) we may not love, love, love, but that's not the end of the world.

At the end of the day, we're just two busy individuals, doing the best we can together. Luckily, we are surrounded by loving, and talented friends who will certainly help to make Content. our home.