• March 24, 2004

Restoration Burnout

Restoration Diary,

“What else do you do besides work on your house, I mean for fun?”

Wow! Good question. I was a little thrown the other day when I was asked. The sad truth is nothing. A better question might have been, “What do you do when you are tired of working on your house?”

I think I am facing Restoration Burnout. It occurred to me that other than working at my job, I am either working on the house or planning for work to be done on the house – which is still work. I can’t remember the last time David and I had a conversation where something about the house didn’t come up.

Our house is very needy and it has all these problems that can’t easily be ignored. But, I sometimes wonder what I am doing here? Why have I invested so much time and money into this house that has so many problems? I do love the house but it gets hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel. It gets hard to hold on to the image of how the house will be someday when you are living in the here and now and one more thing stops working or you find one more expensive thing wrong with the house.

I look into the mirror and wonder what happened? I used to be cute but I don’t recognize this person in sweatpants and a paint splotched tee shirt wearing flip flops, disheveled hair pulled up in a ponytail. All my cute clothes hang in the closet from days when we could afford to go out and I worked in an office. I could still wear them but it wouldn’t be practical to do home repairs in heels – although David might consider it an improvement.

Comments { 6 }
  1. Chris

    From where you started and where you are now is amazing. All your hard work isn’t missed, it’s all around you. When your done, you’ll have a house built with memories. Plus, the value of the house probably went up a lot. You should join extreme house makeover show. You just need to sit in the rooms that are already done and absorb the beauty of your work.


  2. Lauren

    It does take alot of time, money, and physical labor. When I look back on all the work done and all the work yet to do on our bungalow, there’s a realization that this is really long term, and we have to pace ourselves (as in a marathon race). We schedule the time for a regular ‘date night’ weekend getaways and annual vacations, and also invite friends over to enjoy the house as it is. Personally, I need a break between projects (sometimes a month – or two!). Then I take a deep breath and start a new area of the house, recharged. Why do we do it? It’s like a legacy or art I think. You work hard and in the end you can see what you have done, and it is good. Lauren


  3. david chiu

    Used to be cute? You are the hottest thing around in your flip-flops, sweatpants and paint splotched t-shirt.

    love you.


  4. Susan Carley Oliver

    Harking back to an earlier post, your last graf could *almost* read:

    “I look into the mirror and wonder what happened? I used to be cute but I don’t recognize this person in sweatpants and a [spit-up splotched] tee shirt wearing flip flops, disheveled hair pulled up in a ponytail. All my cute clothes hang in the closet from days when we could afford to go out and I worked in an office. I could still wear them but it wouldn’t be practical to [chase a toddler around] in heels – although David might consider it an improvement.”

    Seriously – I think you guys have done a great job, and echo the sentiment to think of it as a marathon. And take time to enjoy the great stuff you’ve already accomplished!

    Also – your website is the best bungalow reno site around. It’s attractive, well-organised, informative, and fun to read. I’ll keep coming back, because, well, I’m buying my own baby – a 1922 little sweety.


  5. Cheryll

    Heather, I burst out laughing when I read the part about,”What happened? I used to be cute…”. Is this what is going to happen to us also? We are just starting to work on our 1912 Aladdin “Albany”. Perhaps it already has… Gutting the kitchen to get down to what was original, nearly killed us both. It was a month before we could go back over there. We just aren’t getting anything done tho it seems and we wanted to be in by Christmas…2004. Yesterday, someone said that we will just have to live in it while working on it to ever get it all done. I can’t imagine! But then again,maybe he is right. I look at all you two have accomplished in the last year and I envy you! YOU HAVE COME SO FAR! And what you have done is so RIGHT and so BEAUTIFUL! You just need alittle rest… A BREAK! You guys are an inspiration to me and so many others! I constantly tell my husband, “If those 2 kids on the internet can do it, THEN SO CAN WE!” Keep up the excellent work and never give up… completely! Most people live in ordinary ugly “nothing special” BOXES! YUCK! I sound like Frank Lloyd Wright now, don’t I?! You are living in an HISTORIC HOUSE and with that comes an enormous amount of responsiblity. Your home is a LIVING PIECE OF ARTWORK! Most people just don’t get it!!! Only a certain type of person would put themselves through what you have. A VERY CARING AND LOVING PERSON who has a deep respect for our historical past and is on a very important quest to preserve it! Cheryll


  6. heather

    Cheryll,

    Hi. It is harder to ignore all the problems when you live in the house. At first it was fun, almost like camping. But, camping out with mortgage gets old pretty quickly! You have an extra incentive to get things done because you have to live with your house – no matter what state it is in.

    Dealing with the kitchen and bath “as is” has been the most difficult. We have put them off because we weren’t sure what we wanted to do in those rooms. I love to cook but really hate our kitchen, it is so depressing with plaster falling off the walls, etc. I don’t want to cook in there. Hopefully, we can get to the kitchen this fall – before we have been in the house 2 yrs.

    If you have the choice, I would complete your kitchen, bathrooms, master bedroom and refinish the floors before moving in so you have a refuge from all the chaos and dust.



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