Seeing the Positive Side of a Renovation

Thinking about buying a handyman special and transforming it into a dream home? Here's an honest take on rehabbing not like the 30 minute makeovers on TV.

By Gene And Katie Hamilton

Seeing the Positive Side of a Renovation

Don’t get the idea that rehabbing has only a dark side. We wouldn’t have done it for so long if it were that miserable. There are many bright sides to bohemian living. For one thing, you have an ongoing excuse to keep things simple, which is especially handy when you’re entertaining. Rehabbing is also reason enough to lower your standards for a clean house. It’s the perfect excuse, actually. In its place, however, keeping the stuff in the house orderly is much more important. On another plane, it helps you prioritize what’s really important to you and your family. We found that the challenge of planning a project, completing it, and enjoying the results was very satisfying.

The relaxed lifestyle calls for taking advantage of the situation. For example, when we removed all the plaster walls in the second floor of one house and exposed the wall studs and framing, we used nails as clothes hangers. When we needed a place to hang a pair of jeans or sweats, we’d bang a heavy nail into the stud, and voila instant clothes hook. Nothing could be simpler. At the time we were writing a series about remodeling for the Washington Post Home section, and we were amazed to hear from many readers who were embarked on the same rehabbing adventure.

We had friends who let their kids use the walls in one bedroom as a giant canvas because the walls were coming down to become part of a kitchen family room. They used markers, paint, and crayons, and it became a favorite game room for all the kids in the neighborhood.

We found living in a home under construction to be appealing and practical, but it’s not for everyone. It was our idea of double-dipping: you have a place to live while you are working on improving the property. If you are contemplating this approach, we suggest that you see the movie The Money Pit. It is a comedy, but the movie brings to light, in a glamorized and exaggerated form, some of the realities of living in a work zone. If you watch the movie and everyone involved still buys into the idea, you’re ready to move ahead?

Excerpt from Fix It and Flip It by Gene and Katie Hamilton, McGraw-Hill

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