Can Your Relationship Survive a DIY Home Renovation Project? Yes! Here’s How Ours Did.

Renovating a house with your significant other can be stressful. I know.

While overall Brian and I enjoyed the experience of renovating our new house together, there were definitely instances in which we questioned each other’s sanity in regard to design choices.

But now that we’re in our new house – and both loving it – I thought I’d share some of my tips on how our relationship survived a DIY home renovation project… and how yours can, too!!

1) Compromise, Compromise, Compromise – This was a tough one because it’s hard for me to bend when I have an opinion about something. But Brian gave me free reign to pick most of the paint colors, so when he really wanted to use a certain color for the bedroom, I knew it was only right to give in. (And I’m glad I did because I really do like it.)

I also knew that if there were things I really wanted, I would have to compromise on other things that weren’t as important to me. So, when Brian and I were looking at light fixtures and each had different favorites, we went with his choices because when it came down to it, I didn’t have to have the ones I liked, and I know getting the ones he liked made Brian happy.

2) Have Some Trust In Each Other – We have beautiful hardwood floors. When we first bought the house the floors were in need of a little love. Brian thought they could also be lightened up a little.

I loved the dark hardwoods, but Brian told me to trust him; I would still love them if they were a little lighter. I wasn’t sold on the idea, but since he was the one doing most of the work on the hardwoods, I went with it. And I’m glad I trusted his instincts because I love our shiny new (lighter) hardwoods:

3) Vent To Each Other – We – okay, mostly I – had those moments in which the project got overwhelming. (I really don’t like sanding walls, I’ve learned). By the time we got to the hardwood floors – the last step before moving in – I was just about done with the project. I wanted to call in the professionals. Brian was insistent that we finish it ourselves, but he was awesome about letting me vent my frustrations to him (“I just want to move in!” was a phrase he heard often). Knowing that he understood me, and listened to me, went a long way when it came to squeezing more work out of me. πŸ™‚

4) Have a Third Party To Vent To – While it’s great to vent to each other, there are times when you just need someone else – someone outside of the day-to-day renovations – to talk to. My Mom was awesome for this, even though she usually tried to make me see Brian’s point of view, too. πŸ˜‰

5) Surprise Each Other – Even when renovations are making you stressed, remember that you’re in this together, as a couple. And you love each other! It’s always nice to go a little out of your way to do something that will surprise your significant other. One night I called Brian, expecting him to be at dinner with friends, and it sounded like he was in a very hollow room. I asked him where he was, and instead of trying to come up with a lie, he told me he was at the house working on finishing up the hardwoods to surprise me. Aww…

To surprise Brian, my Mom came over one afternoon while he was at work and we put the Christmas tree up. I turned the lights on the tree so Brian could see it all lit up as he drove in the driveway. He loved it!

6) Cry Uncle – Brian and I both wanted to move in to our new house as soon as we could, and there were many days that we were gung-ho about working around the clock to get things done. But then there were days when we just couldn’t deal with the project at all. So while sometimes spending a few hours sanding walls together could actually make for a fun date night, other times we knew we just needed a mental break from the renovations, and opted to put off the work for another day. We were still able to hit our goal of moving in the house before Christmas – and the breaks did wonders for our sanity!

Have you ever renovated a house with your significant other – and completed the project with your relationship intact? What tips would you add to this list?


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Can Your Relationship Survive a DIY Home Renovation Project? Yes! Here’s How Ours Did. was last modified: January 11th, 2012 by Jane Couto Govednik
SHOWHIDE Comments (5)
  1. I have not successfully escaped a renovation with my relationship intact. πŸ™‚

    If Dawg and I ever do this project together I will heed your advice. Congrats on keeping YOUR relationship intact!!! xo

  2. Oh Jane, you and Brian did an awesome job on the house. The added bonuses for doing all of the work yourself, are the memories that you created and then shared. The labor pains gave way to the birth of a beautiful home for the two of you. Enjoy it. Grow old in it. Make hundreds of magical memories in it. It’s your home.

    God Bless you both.

  3. This is the most beautiful post, Janie… and so heartfelt. I saw all the progress week-after-week and I am amazed at your masterpiece. Your home is magnificent, filled with creativity, love, puppy-paws AND compromise! And you can vent to me anytime… because you know I will ALWAYS tell you the truth! Love you, Honey and love the home you two have created from the floors up! xoxox!

  4. The room looks lovely, you both must be so excited to finally be moved in. Doing a home renovation is a killer on a relationship for sure. Heck one room can really be a test to how well two people are able to compromise and work together on a project. Somehow the end result, no matter how tough the work or company is always ends up being worth it!

Can Your Relationship Survive a DIY Home Renovation Project? Yes! Here’s How Ours Did. was last modified: January 11th, 2012 by Jane Couto Govednik