• Louisa at Starre Corner

Compulsive Liar or Bad Project Manager?

I don’t have a single negative comment to say about buying Starre Corner and my husband and I went into this renovation project with our eyes wide open. I’d searched high and low for a DIY renovation project and that’s exactly what I got. That’s not to say that there aren’t daily challenges which I am sure if you are undertaking something similar you can relate to.

I am often asked what I’m working on next and I then go into great detail about my next part of the renovation project. I’ve come to the conclusion that I must look like a compulsive liar because whatever I promise never materialises; my husband’s project management skills are not as exacting and efficient as mine, in fact I think he would call himself progressive by adopting an iterative development technique. He gets plenty of jobs done but not the jobs I thought were happening next. It feels as though I am living in a renovation lottery. I recently took my husband to the pub for a planning meeting and explained that I feel out of control and rudderless when he retains a renovation plan in his head. Over the course of a few hours I wrote copious notes and rejoiced at the production of a 3 month project plan. I think I even shared my delight on Instagram. After only a few weeks I can see that I have gone off plan. When I asked why he helped me produce a plan with no intention of following it he said it was to keep me happy! In life we are perfect partners in crime, in our renovation life we have our challenges. He doesn’t believe in mood boards either!!!!

Working alongside my husband is by far one of the least challenging elements of my DIY renovation journey (although there are days where I might disagree with this statement). I’ve definitely mentioned this before but engaging workmen is an ongoing nightmare. We are doing all the work ourselves except where law and legislation dictates otherwise. Getting hold of workmen in Norfolk to do these legislative bits of work is like getting hold of hen’s teeth. They are mostly busy on Norwich new builds or expensive coastal renovations and they don’t appear to want to be bothered with infill jobs such as mine. They’re also afflicted with a modern day affliction – no one has the balls to be upfront and honest, preferring to just not turn up , over quote or not answer calls. Apologies for another one of my blatant sweeping statement. I was advised when I moved to Norfolk to adjust to the Norfolk pace of life but this almost horizontal laid back lifestyle takes some getting used to.

The next issues are totally down to me and my husband. DIY renovation projects can take such a length of time that it is easy for project creep and procrastination to creep in. Social media, books and magazines are a great source of inspiration but can throw confusion into the mix too. At times it is easy to flit from one idea to another. Although flitting is not good at times project creep on a DIY renovation project can actually be a good thing. If I’d moved into a static caravan as I first intended and cracked on with the renovation I know I would have made some poor judgement calls. By living in Starre Corner for three years I have really got the measure of how each room will be used. So in that respect project creep has been a good thing. When it’s finally complete I’ll have the house I really wanted.

When I bought Starre Corner I had no concept of how long it would take or how much it would cost. This is a constant moving feat. With a young family time and energy is an issue. I made the decision to take longer if favour of beach walks with my family and snuggles on the sofa whilst watching a Sunday afternoon film. Time with children is precious and I’d hate for them to leave home thinking I was always to busy to have fun with them. As for cost – when you know you have bought a money pit you just have to save hard and spend when you can. There’s always something free to do on Starre Corner so I’m never short of a task. The excessive costs always arise when there’s legislation to adhere to. That unfortunately something I just have to grin and bear.

I have just read this to my husband and then run through my three month project plan and stated that we are not currently tackling anything on my plan. He looked back blankly and said ‘no, but we are working on the plan’. ‘What plan?’ I said. ‘My plan he replied’ And so normal business resumes.

I can feel another pub meeting coming on.