I could spend ages talking about everything there is to learn from remodeling your house: the best types of tile for a shower floor, little details that you shouldn’t overlook when remodeling, tips and tricks for finishing a project on time — you name it.
But a remodeling project, being a rather noteworthy life experience, can also teach you a lot about yourself. No, I’m not talking about your tastes or preferences (for example, you learn that you love the color blue on your walls or you learn that you really just don’t like remodeling). Rather, it can teach you about some characteristics you never knew you possessed, or at least never had the opportunity to focus on — the good and the bad. Here are some things you might learn about yourself.
Learn 1: Jane Lockhart Interior Design, original photo on Houzz
1. You’re more impatient than you thought. Remodeling will — I repeat, will — test your patience. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a dedicated yogi who can sit and meditate for hours at a time or a hobbyist who works late into the night tirelessly assembling detailed ships in bottles. Weather delays, unforeseen problems (wait, there’s mold behind that wall?), busy trade schedules — it’s almost impossible to have a remodeling project without a delay or two. And when it’s your project with the delays, you might just find yourself repeating the mantra of kids stuck in the family car during a road trip, “Are we there yet?” Or more specifically, “Are we done yet?”
Learn 2: Transitional Sunroom, original photo on Houzz
2. You’re adaptable. Bathroom remodels and kitchen remodels are notorious for, well, making bathrooms and kitchens unusable while they’re under construction. At the beginning this might seem like a major inconvenience (truth be told, it is!), but by the end you might be thinking “Who really needs a full kitchen?” After all, there are so many small appliances loved by college students and remodeling survivors alike — toaster ovens, microwaves, slow cookers, camping stoves.
Bathroom remodels can be easy to work around if you have another bath that isn’t under renovation, or a next door neighbor who is fairly generous, or membership in a gym with clean showers. Remember, creativity and adaptability are your friends. So embrace your inner MacGyver.
Learn 3: AMW Design Studio, original photo on Houzz
3. You want in on the action. It starts small: At first, you’re just chatting with your contractor about the status of your project — normal stuff. But as time goes on, you can’t help but ask questions about the more technical side of things. Some people might find details about tile installation eye-rollingly boring, but you’re intrigued.
Suddenly, you find yourself searching for home improvement how-to books and classes on design. You may even start planning your second project (which you’re considering doing yourself) or looking for houses you think you’d like to flip. Watching your own home transform before your very eyes has been an exciting process, no doubt, and now you’re ready to try your hand at it. Don’t be surprised if at first you just want the process to be over, only to find that you never want it to end.
Learn 4: Deville Custom Homes, original photo on Houzz
4. Your relationships can (probably) weather any storm. If the space you’re remodeling is a place that you share with someone else (whether it be your spouse, children or others), it’s likely that you’ll feel a little more stress than if you were just remodeling your own personal space.
Every stress that you feel about the remodel, they probably feel as well. Every worry you have about budgets and schedules and paint colors, they have too. Pour all that stress into a small group of people who live together, and, well … things can get messy.
But when you finally see the light at the end of the tunnel, you realize that all that pressure was worth it, because you and your people have a beautiful new space to use for years to come. It probably took some compromise and communication to get there, but now that you’ve finally made it, you know you’re that much stronger because of it.
Or not. I don’t want to be a Debbie Downer, but what you might discover about yourself is that you can’t collaborate with the person you’re with. Remodeling is like a stress-test on relationships — for good or ill.
Learn 5: Tiffany McKenzie Interior Design, original photo on Houzz
5. You’re fearless. I’ll tell you this much: It takes a lot of inner strength to not freak out when you see someone you’ve never met come through your front door with a hammer. Remodeling can make some people stronger. Once you see your home demolished before your very eyes by strangers wielding tools and driving heavy construction equipment, your definition of “scary” changes a little.
Obviously, this isn’t an all-encompassing list, nor is it supposed to mean that you will find yourself relating to every point. You may or may not feel the urge to become an amateur remodeler. You might (understandably) still get freaked out at a stranger coming into your home with a hammer. Remodeling is a personal journey, full of personal discoveries and accomplishments and all that good stuff. The only way for you to truly know how it will affect you is for you to experience it yourself. But whatever happens, you will learn more about yourself than you have in a long time.