I think I’ve mentioned that part of why Justin and I are in Seattle for the year is to help my Dad do some big renovations on his home here. After doing some quick cosmetic updates on the bedrooms, our first big project is a bathroom gut job. And I mean gut job- we spent nearly 10 hours bashing out drywall and tile and took this baby right down to the studs. It was a blast.
Now. Some things you should know:
We are not professionals.Justin comes from a family of professionals and has worked a little construction to pay the bills over the years, but alas, definitely not a pro. My experience is far less (unless watching a LOT of HGTV counts, in which case maybe I AM a pro after all).
We have never done a house project completely from scratch like this (aka- if you have drywall experience, any and all advice is very, very welcome…).
This house was built nearly 50 years ago and has a few *cough* quirks.
So now that we’ve merrily kicked through tile walls and pulled the ceiling down and experienced the unique satisfaction that is pulling up a big ol’ strip of linoleum flooring, we are faced with a space bare down to its bones and the prospect of putting it all back together again.
Which is, ummmm, just a bit overwhelming when taken as a whole.
We proudly surveyed our demolished masterpiece for a whole 35 seconds before looking at each other and asking, “Well, now what do we do?”
What goes in first, ceiling or walls? How do we connect the corners? Where is that fan venting to? Can you tile right onto cement slab or do we need backerboard? When do we need to pick the shower fixtures and what on earth is that piece sticking out of that pipe there for?
It seems like every step actually requires ten pre-steps (and one zillion extra trips to the hardware store for that piece we had no idea we needed but as it turns out is totally critical!) and the number of false starts can be totally disheartening.
But c’mon…metaphor for life, anyone??
Because the thing is, we aren’t really renovating a bathroom- that’s the big “dream.” The actual actions are much, much smaller: remove this piece of drywall, pull out these old nails, buy a new toilet (feel free to pronounce as “twa-ley” if you’re feeling fancy like I am), cut these tiles, install that light fixture.
It is a series of single small steps taken one at a time in some sort of semi-logical order (unless the vanity you want is on sale even though you are nowhere near ready for it yet, in which case, you buy it now anyway).
The same way you build a business.
Or run a marathon.
Or get a degree.
Or plan a trip.
Or finish a book.
Or, you know, create a life that fulfills you.
Maybe those small steps include things like deciding what you want or looking more closely at that gnawing feeling you’ve been ignoring (that one behind your stomach that you keep pushing toward your left kidney because you “don’t have time for this right now”). Maybe they include saying no to just that one extra thing that will mean the difference between reading that book or not, or getting that run in or not, or moving from “happy busy” to “too busy.”
Maybe the next step is pulling on those sneakers and simply getting out the door for a walk. Maybe the next step is reaching out to that friend who already made the change you’re seeking for some advice and solidarity.
Maybe the next step is simply to take a good, long, deep breath and remember that you can figure this out. That you are not alone. That there are resources out there somewhere that can help you, be them people or websites or support groups or books or You Tube videos about how to use a wet saw without losing a finger.
So forget renovating a bathroom. All we have to figure out is our SINGLE. NEXT. STEP.
Leave me a comment below and tell me what your “bathroom renovation” is and what your single next step is…seriously, I want to know!