We’ve been working on our country house for months now, but looking at the exterior right now you wouldn’t know it. You know how Murphy’s Law states that if something can go wrong, it will? Murphy is right. Our darling little country gem of a project decided to rebel with renovation delays.
Tennessee Weather Can’t Make Up Its Mind
First, tornadoes slammed into the middle Tennessee area. They spared our town but not without high winds, a boatload of sideways rain, steamy temperatures, and then, of course, an icy snowstorm.
After the torrential downpours, we were left with a massive mud pit surrounding the house, like at a monster-truck rally. If this didn’t leave us in tears (generally construction zones don’t fare as well in inclement weather as finished houses, causing renovation delays), then certainly the mud all over the shoes of the workers who traipsed through our home afterwards did.
Once we consoled ourselves about the renovation delays, it got worse. Water had found its way through gaps in the construction plastic; mud caked on the wood floors that we hadn’t refinished yet; there were layers of grit on top of everything, and neighborhood cats squeezed their way in at night for noisy scuffles. To add insult to injury, another snowstorm hit. Then a frigid cold snap, another snow storm. Then another cold snap.
The Renovation Delays Got Worse
While it was convenient that the muddy pit surrounding the house was now frozen into stiff peaks, the work ground to a halt because it was too cold. The construction team had turned off the water, electricity and heat at this point. The lack of climate control caused interior renovation delays as well, like the installation of my favorite wallpaper. We also had to wait to refinish the floors because of the dirt that everyone was tracking indoors.
Before all this, we had been living in the house, trying to take all the inconveniences in stride. Our kids are middle-school and high-school aged, so it was do-able. To a point. But then the last straw broke in the form of the kitchen demo, removing the path to the only bathroom. And then the utilities turned off. This made the renovation delays less family-friendly than one might hope.
When Renovations Delays Hit
If you’ve ever done a renovation, you may be able to relate. Not only can unforeseen events like weather throw a wrench in your project, but life starting in 2020 has made renovations a lot more difficult. Materials are backordered, exponentially more expensive, no one wants to work and companies are booked out for months. This means everything takes longer (and by longer, I mean there is often no end in sight) and renovation delays make costs more than anyone is comfortable with.
A Temporary Home
When renovation delays hit, what should you do? It’s time to get creative.
At this point, we had already bought a house at auction that we were going to be work on as a flip house. It closed at the right time to receive us when we saw our hopes and dreams fall like tears into the wet sawdust (or maybe that was rain from the severe thunderstorm that day). This “new” house-in-shining-armor, built in 1983, looked like a (wildly outdated) 1700-square-foot palace to us, with in-tact walls, heat-in-every-room, and working showers (well, one of the showers works).
An '80s Throwback
This house is in need of some fixing up. Every sink leaks, and there’s no sound privacy anywhere, as the long skinny hallway echoes the sound of the toilet flushing throughout the house. The fridge doesn’t open all the way because the original builder made the walkways too small.
It’s also sporting its original 1983 Early American style proudly, which is a precursor to farmhouse style in popular American design trends. But I’m glad this trend has ended. The sickly cabinet color would do well to get some paint, which is on my list. While this little flip house is dying to be fixed up as well, I’m focusing my attention on our little country house even though everything in me wants to start tearing into this one.
And the moral of the story? Renovation delays happen. It’s important to laugh through them, get creative with solutions, and remember that the finished vision you have of your home will happen! It may just take a little longer than you’d anticipated.
Holly Thompson is the lead interior designer at Holly Thompson Homes in Franklin, TN. She loves making houses the best version of themselves. She is married to Dave, who is a contractor, realtor, and often works as her project manager. They own a fixer upper in the country, plus three kids and three cats. In her free time, Holly is working on her master’s degree in Interior Design and writes articles for American Farmhouse Style. In the rest of her free time, you’ll find her antiquing at estate sales, flea markets, and shops. All of those times involve coffee, to which Holly attributes her success in staying awake.
To see more of Holly Thompson's renovation advice, see How to DIY on a Budget Without Cheap Results, DIY Kitchen Remodel Tips and How to Get Faux Marble Countertops. Of course, don’t forget to follow us on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest to get your daily dose of farmhouse inspiration!