Those of you who have visited the shop in the past six weeks know that we have been doing some cosmetic updates. These things tend to happen when I have been doing too much “thinking”. First of all, thank you for your patience and understanding as my project list kept on growing. One project lead to another and what started out at as new pegboards in the craft room ended up being new ceilings, walls, and floors – everywhere. There are still some details to finish up but as we get closer to the end there are few valuable lessons to be learned when embarking on your own project either at home or work.
- Make a wish list of your projects, write down a rough list of supplies and then sleep on it. Then visit your space and sleep on it again. Then sleep on it again. The end result of my initial vision is roughly the same but the details kept on changing as we perfected the design. After the initial excitement of starting a new project wore off we had to tweak the design to make sure the space was not only aesthetically pleasing but also functional and financially possible.
- Ask others for their opinion. As an only child I have a tendency to make decisions on my own without compromise (this drives my husband crazy) but it’s always helpful to have a fresh pair of eyes to point out something obvious you missed in your project planning euphoria. For example, we initially planned to have the boards on our palette wall running horizontally but one of the guys suggested we try a 45 degree angle and it is stunning (though a little more difficult to execute).
- Make a REALISTIC budget but don’t forget to give yourself a little wiggle room. As the craft room was coming together it became very clear that the fluorescent light fixture was not going back up. The one that I loved for the new space was not cheap but it ties in perfectly and adds a finishing touch.
- Do what you can yourself but know your limits. Sure, we could have paid someone to come in, take up the old peeling floor tiles then scrape and sweep the shop but it would have cost us extra. It was a dirty back-breaking job but everyone pitched in and we managed to do it ourselves over the course of the week, saving us money we invested in other things (like a beautiful light fixture). However, none of us felt confident we could have laid the new flooring with professional results in a reasonable amount of time so that was sourced out to a contractor – money well spent. Also, learn what your physical limits are. I learned I cannot lift a 100 pound paint rack.
- It will get messy – both in your physical space and your mental space. For weeks I have been surrounded by stuff EVERYWHERE. Between boxes of new stuff, construction supplies, dust (dust EVERYWHERE!) and inventory we had to clear off the shelves, the constant mess was giving me major anxiety which sometimes slipped out into my personal life. Everyone has been very understanding but I had to constantly remind myself that it will all be over soon, the result will be beautiful and life will return to normal.
- There will be surprises. Plan for them financially and emotionally because it will be frustrating. We ran out of palettes to finish our palette wall and had to wait for a new delivery. The galvanized pipes for the shelving were hard to find. When we peeled up the old floor tiles, we were advised to have the entire shop floor leveled so the new flooring would not only adhere properly but also look better in the end. In the end, we decided that if it was worth doing it was worth doing well so we took our time and followed the advice of professionals.
- THANK EVERYONE. We could not have done any of this without the amazing Herculean efforts from our guys. The work was dirty, days were spent scraping floors in unnatural and uncomfortable positions, the hours were long and by end of the day everyone was exhausted but never complained. There are no words to adequately express the gratitude. Don’t forget to say “thank you” to your team and remind them how much they are appreciated. The same goes for you spouse who is often the one who catches the brunt of your frustration on a daily basis.
- New things are nice and we want them to stay pristine but be realistic about their purpose. When the new Benjamin Moore colour rack was put in place I wanted to cover it in bubble wrap and surround it with body guards. I had to quickly come to terms that it was there to be touched, enjoyed and generally used. I still clean it daily but it’s there to do a job and I have come to terms with that. Same goes for that new oven or shower. You’ll have to use it eventually so don’t let a little cooking grease or soap residue get in the way of enjoying it.