We made it! We moved in, renovations still ongoing, but we once again had a permanent home base. What a whirlwind. All I can say, if I dare to go out on a limb, is that the process of renovating can kind of be compared to pregnancy. Skeptical? Hear me out.
There is initial excitement. Then a lot of big decisions. You may stress. You may binge eat to deal with said stress. There are highs and lows. And sometimes the end feels very far away. But there are so many good moments too. That split second that you just fall in love. And when it all comes together, and you see your beautiful new space that’s yours forever, there’s no feeling quite like it (just think about the big reveal in all the HGTV shows- that person was me!). You instantly forget all the challenges along the way, you appreciate everyone who was a part of the process, and most importantly- you often are ready to do it all over again sooner than you’d expect.
Through this series I’ve shared some tips on renovation considerations, balancing budget and the moving process so I thought I’d wrap this up by leaving you with some general comments of the things that stuck with me over the last 12 months, both personally and design related.
- Car toys for toddlers that saved my life: re-usable sticker books, small stacks of magnet tiles, Post-It notes (seriously, your baby will just rip them off one by one for at least 20 mins), headphones and an iPad if you have an older kid, Melissa & Doug water activity pads and all the snacks.
- If you’re looking for a stylish baby gate, check out the QDOS Crystal Baby Gate on Amazon. It is expensive (about $300) but depending on how visible it is in your house and how long you plan on having it up for, it could be worth the investment.
- I painted the walls, trim and ceiling on the main level all the same shade of off-white but in a different sheen. I love how it turned out- everything looks uniform but not too matchy-matchy. Walls were in painted Matte, ceilings in a Flat finish and trim in Satin.
- Audiobooks and podcasts are a great way to make unpacking (and the ensuing time spent breaking down cardboard boxes) a lot less monotonous.
- Colour will always look about 3 shades lighter outside than inside (natural light versus artificial light) so go darker than you’d normally expect to. This is relevant if you’re painting your house, deck, front door, etc. When I showed my husband the paint colour for our exterior, he wrinkled his nose up but I can guarantee you now that its painted he agrees it’s the perfect shade of taupe.
- Halifax has a lot of garbage rules and I, coming from NB with very few garbage rules, got oddly attached to the dumpster the contractors placed in our driveway. I know I know sorting is important, but at the end a long day damn did it feel good to just toss our trash. Except when I threw out an entire bag of IKEA pieces, my bad.
- Be nice to your neighbours! Its cheesy advice but neighbours coming over to say hi and welcome us to the neighbourhood was actually really nice.
My last comment I thought deserved a bit of elaboration than a bullet point, and this is the end, so please bear with my sappy story. It struck me early one morning when everyone was still asleep and I was alone with my own thoughts. 95% of the time life gets absorbed into the whirlwind of to-do lists, deadlines, and a packed schedule. It’s not often we pause, reflect and feel gratitude for this exact moment in time. But for some reason, as the sun was pouring in the living room window, I was overcome with appreciation. I am so grateful for my family, my job, my friends (new and old), our new home and this new beginning and stepping out of the chaos in a quiet moment to really feel that gratitude every now and then is so important.
I hope you enjoyed my reno journey and got to know me a bit better along the way. I’ve shared some pictures in these posts but please stay tuned to the Stil James Instagram page for a full set of before & after’s…if I ever politely stop asking my husband to re-arrange the art on the wall.