Everything I've Learned Living In A Fixer-Upper

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Having now lived with my boyfriend for over a year and him having our house for now two and a half years we've certainly learned a thing or two about what it's like to have a fixer-upper. I can't deny the world of Pinterest and Instagram has certainly given me some unrealistic expectations about having a house. I think those perfect images get in everyone's head whether we like to admit it or not. We've got some really big plans of what we'd like to do with our house but those plans involve a lot of money which obviously takes some serious saving for as well as a lot of planning. So here is everything that we've learned from having a fixer upper and not having the funds to have it exactly how we'd like it to be anytime soon.

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THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A PERFECT HOUSE

Whether it's a new build or a barn conversion there is absolutely no such thing as the perfect house. They all have their little faults although some bigger than others of course and it's just part of any living space whether that be an apartment or a house. There are no getting around some things and unless you're going to build your own house from the ground up which I think we would probably all like to do. You do end up settling on things you probably never thought you would. I know there are certain things about our house that I never thought I'd be ok with but I've actually come to quite like as I've lived with it and accepted just because I wouldn't do it myself that doesn't mean it's terrible.

YOU DO LEARN TO LIVE WITH IT 

Like I said, there are certain things that I never, ever thought I'd manage to live with in our house. An important note here is that I have severe OCD with order & symmetry and my living environment used to be a huge trigger for that but as my OCD has improved it's made me a little more accepting and now I don't have a huge meltdown over a plug socket. Our house is a terrace that was built around 100 years ago and it's a pit house which means they were built pretty quick. So it's got some odd features anyway but then the lady who owned it before really did make some questionable choices. Neither of us can stand the state of the bathroom and cannot wait to smash it to pieces but ultimately it does the job right now which is the most important thing. Same goes for the vile, vile striped carpet which runs throughout nearly all of the downstairs, stairs, and the landing. But as much as I hate the carpet it saw Josie through toilet training and is doing the same for Edie. And when we all come in filthy from a walk then it doesn't matter whereas if we had a beautiful carpet then I'd be so worried about it constantly. And finally the fact that all the walls need skimming and all the doors need replacing, it's really irritating when you're trying to hang anything and the walls are seemingly made out of dust but they're still standing which is all we can hope for. 

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IT TAKES TIME TO FIGURE OUT WHAT YOU WANT 

Of course, if money was no object then we would happily do the big things that needed to be doing like re-plastering, new doors, new windows [those have now been done], new front and back door, new fence and well the list goes on. The house stood empty so long with my boyfriend touring so solidly and I chose to stay at my dad's so it did give us a good amount of time to slowly add furnishings at least which was a good thing. Something I have learned is that it really does a long time to figure out what you want decor wise as I truly believe you need to settle in first before you make any huge decisions. If I look back even just a few months ago the things that I wanted then have completely changed and I would more than likely regret my choices now. When I moved I thought I was going to move into this whole really minimalistic phase and I haven't. I can't deny my little trinkets as they're what make the house feel really special to me and thankfully my boyfriend is the same. 

compromise 

I'm stubborn by nature, there is absolutely no denying that and so is my boyfriend so when it comes to compromise we really have to work at it to get anywhere. When it comes to homeware I do generally get more of a say than him as he doesn't care as much but he doesn't want to feel like he's not part of the house and nor do I. There are some things that he just won't budge on like a pink velvet sofa [very impractical] and there are some things I won't budge on either. So it takes a lot of conversations and going back and forth to come to any sort of conclusion but it does happen. I think it's all too tempting to just do what you want when it comes to homeware but when you share a living space you really do have to talk things out. Even little things like bedding or towels we always talk about now and come to something that works us both. It's important not to be afraid to say no if you don't like something at all, ultimately you have to live with it.

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living with dogs 

We all know by this point that I love my dogs more than anything else in life so it's no surprise that no area of the house is off limits to them. Some people do have such rules in place and that's their choice but personally, that's not for me or my dogs. I mean I bought Josie her own sofa so that just says it all really doesn't it. I think something people instantly believe about dogs is that they will automatically make your house filthy and smell and they don't. Yes, they do leave bits of mess around, especially during winter but it's not too hard to keep it clean if you do a little bit each day. Having already gone through the puppy stage with Josie we were pretty lucky as she only chewed something once which was a little bit of the fireplace and then that was it. I know it's not the same for everybody but it's also not as bad people seem to think either. Of course, if you want to live in a show home that is always perfect then a dog probably isn't for you but otherwise, it's not terrible. A good thing to have around is lots and lots of blankets if you don't want your upholstery to be damaged. A blanket is certainly a lot cheaper than a new sofa. 

don't let the internet get to you and DO what you can

I know that whenever I log onto Instagram or Pinterest and I start looking at amazing homes then I get really down and wonder why my house doesn't look like that. And also how do these people have such huge budgets after just buying a house?! Obviously, those platforms are a highlight reel and no-one wants to show that their house is a state. And this is why I think long-term renovation posts are so good as they show that things are hard work and can be really stressful. Whilst there are few and far between that can just afford to have everything as they want straight away it's important to do what you can with whatever budget you have. Even if that is just stripping down the disgusting wallpaper from the previous owner and slapping on some matte white paint [builders paint is the best we've found]. Rome wasn't built in a day and neither is your dream living environment and waiting just a little bit makes it all the more special when you finally do rip out that vile lino flooring or chip away that textured wallpaper.

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I'd love to know your experience with decorating and renovating!