The word perfectionist is not one I’m comfortable using, mainly because it’s very subjective and doesn’t even really describe me. Certainly not when it comes to any other aspect of my life than being a home-owner. So imagine my surprise when finding ourselves with keys to a house – our house – back in 2014, a previously unseen demonic side of me has emerged and there’s no doubt that if Pete had to describe my attitude to renovating our home, he would use the phrase “anally-retentive”.
I take it in good faith and happily joke about it but at the same time it drives me crazy. Every little crack, lumps and bumps in the wall, tiny imperfections in door frames that no-one would even see apart from me which makes me want to replace the frames, replaster the walls and wish we had a blank canvas. Don’t get me wrong, there was never any question of not owing a period home and my dream would have been a Victorian house but they’re so expensive. So we compromised with a 1930’s house which I just adore but it’s been unloved for so long and my retentiveness is not helping us make swift progress in restoring it.
Our staircase is a classic example. To most people it would have looked just fine as it was – inoffensive, white gloss paint. Not damaged, characterful. To me it was ugly, dated and in need of some TLC. So back in 2014 we started a very painstaking restoration project, stripping the paint to reveal the bare spindles and bannisters with a plan to then sand and stain or sand and paint. And nearly two years after we started, we’re still going and nowhere near the finish line. I wonder why I started because at the end of the day no-one else will ever walk into our home and be wowed by our staircase. But maybe it’s just enough that I will be, that to me, in the end, it will look perfect.
In other cases we’ve won – the company who replaced our windows at the front ended up not only providing the best service and detail but were also miles cheaper than the other quotes. The knowledge of little details like the fact that the window sill in our bay window in the living room is lower than a standard and therefore the glass in the windows needed to be toughened, or that in any habitable room, the windows must be able to open fully to allow people to escape in case of fire…I could have listened to the window expert talk all day. Finally, someone who understood my need to have it just so.
Flooring is definitely an area where we’re losing though, largely because as the floors are being replaced bit by bit, it means the skirting has to come off to accommodate whatever we choose to lay because I won’t have any beading. We’re not fans of carpets and will eventually be a carpet free home apart from on the staircase and landing, it’s simply not practical or hygenic with pets. So we’ll be paying out for a lot of new skirting and spending a lot of time swearing as we wrestle with getting the existing skirting off. It will be worth it in the end but there are definitely times where I wish it was less attention to detail and more sitting back with a G&T!
Are you obsessive when it comes to the smaller details or are you happy to make do?
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