Why home renovations are like getting a tattoo

On Sunday, I was talking with my congregation about tattoos because I read about a church in Texan with a Lenten tattoo project. Since I am no fan of tattoos (I’m not morally opposed or anything, I’m just cheap and pain-adverse) it’s not something I usually talk about. But as a few people shared stories about body art and people they know, I discovered something: people often find that one tattoo leads to another.

I suppose that’s not surprising. Most people start small, and then if they like it (and it didn’t hurt too much) their imagination begins to create other possibilities. Which is where home renovations come in: one thing seems to lead to another in decorating, too.

On the advice of a real estate agent we trust, we decided to update our home in order to sell it. “Just some new flooring,” she said. “And maybe some new paint.” The new paint looked great, but then we noticed a few light fixtures were looking a little tired. And once those were looked after, we wondered about the kitchen backsplash…with new flooring, it didn’t look quite as up to date, so maybe we should to that, too…

And that is how a few updates became a total home makeover. All six of us found ourselves helping as with the demolition–ripping up ceramic tile, pulling staples out of the sub floor, tearing out old hardwood. Thankfully, with pros in the family we had help painting and installing the new floors and backsplash. I may have learned to use a crowbar and an orbital sander, but I am a long way way from grout and baseboards!

The good news is that we are in a great housing market and will almost surely recover our costs plus a little extra. In a few days we will have the house on the market and will know for certain if our hard work (and a ton of dust) was worth it. One thing is for sure: I am never getting a tattoo!

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7 Responses to Why home renovations are like getting a tattoo

  1. Good luck! It’s such a hassle but it’s well worth it.

  2. Jackie Peifer says:

    One thing I have always admired and “marvelled” at is people’s ability to tell a great story. Kristine, your stories make me smile, think and pause. I love that.
    Pat and I had a long chat last night, reflecting on the “home selling/buying” journey. Thankfully for me, not only are he and Kristine able to laugh (a bit), but they manage to put into perspective, the craziness of this entire process.
    Selling a home has changed so dramatically over the last few years, especially in Oakville, that I myself have to stop and wonder how and why it has gone from selling a “home”, to selling a house. I debated years ago about switching to commercial real estate, on the recommendation from a commercial colleague that noted the lack of female commercial realtors and the bonus of working “9-5” (does anyone do that anymore btw?) and no weekends!! I realized that I had to love the job and the product I was selling. Did I want to simply sell “square footage” and “loading docks”? NO! It’s the emotional appeal of finding a HOME for a family like Kristine and Pat’s brood of 6!
    Walking into Kris and Pat’s home, you know right away, it is a home!I It’s filled with love and laughter. Tripping over bagpipes, a Cello, violins, sheet music, home made soup on the stove smelling soooo good, gardens full of vegetables (now gone) and flowers and someone just yelling “come in”!! Kids coming and going, friends rolling in and out. Colourful! Fun! Interesting! Inviting! Warm! I could go on and on…
    Alas, when we attemped “round one” of selling this wonderful family home, buyers were looking for something that didn’t look “lived in”. Kristine said “every house looks the same, beige walls, no pictures, nothing on the counters, the same furniture, same decor”. Yep, “lemmings” as Pat would say. And so, Pat and Kris and the kids and contractors have worked and gone without sleep to get their home transformed to one out of the pages of a magazine. Crazy I know, but gone are the days when people fell in love with a home because they could picture themselves living there. Today, buyers have a vision of what ‘they think’ a home should look like. Hmmmm, I’ll leave Kristine to speak to that on a different level for sure.
    I’m so thankful that Kristine and Pat are the kind of people they are. Friends and now of course clients but I’ve learned alot of lessons along the way with this sale and I’m happy to say, they are all good so far….now I’ve gotta get this HOME sold!! Anyone looking for a fabulous home?!! And Kris, I was seriously debating getting a tattoo……

    • Jackie, thank you for your sweet comments! I think you really hit the nail on the head (see? I am even thinking in renovation metaphors!). People are looking to buy a house these days, not a home. Potential buyers seem to be looking for places devoid of family portraits, laundry, or any evidence of people actually living there!

      I found observation especially interesting since one of the best things about our new house is that we saw right away it was a home. It was clean, but clearly was a place where many people live (and do laundry!).

      And a tattoo? Really? Of what??

  3. Morar says:

    Kristine,
    If you are still looking for a destination for some of your raised beds, we are looking to create some. morarmur@gmail.com

    • Morar, thanks so much for being in touch. If my own congregation had not wanted to move ahead, I would have called you. May all our churches be alive with wonderful growing things!

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