Renovating and Staying or Moving

Better known as ‘Should I Stay or Should I go?”

When I bought house #2, my plan was to live there quite happily alone with the dog and cat, until Mr. Right came along. I expected this process to take approximately 2 years. I would then date Mr. Right for a year and a half before he would move into my house and we’d live happily ever after. Hah!

What happened? I fell in love with The Renovator. This unexpected twist of fate was not part of my plan. There was not to be any love while I renovated! But there was; a love of him, a love of the process and a love of house #2.

Some of us, like The Renovator, buy houses to live in while they are renovated. Once complete, they are sold.

I bought house #2 with the intent of staying there and building a life.  I loved the vaulted ceilings, I had a serious relationship with the kitchen (I love to cook) and I was passionate about the restored rustic oak floors. The back yard had an amazing vine maple tree, the office had french doors leading onto the massive living room and the gas fireplace made the space cozy despite its size.

Our best friends did a complete renovation on their house (close to the scale of what was done on house #2, plus two additions so we’ll call it even), because they had a young son and not enough room. They loved the property, so they made the house what they wanted.  And this leads us (after a rather long-winded introduction) to the decision of staying or going after renovating.

If you intended to stay in the first place, like our friends, the decision is already made. The house (hopefully) is what you wanted it to be and you have the opportunity to enjoy the new environment.

If you plan to leave, the situation can become a bit more dicey. On house #2, I was working with a tight budget – I mean tight. I’d already over-spent as I had completely underestimated the expense of redoing the house. I splurged on three things – the dual fuel, gas range with electric convection and downdraft vent (I did mention how much I love to cook?), an instant water heater (which cut my gas bills, so was a wash in the end) and the gas fireplace. Everything else was essential. I cut where I could, going for less expensive fixtures, faucets and anything that would not make the house appear cheap. In the end, it was (in my humble opinion) beautiful, and I thank The Renovator for that as he really made it happen, guiding me, doing work, showing me new things. I wanted to stay. The house was all that I had dreamed it would be in spite of the budget.

Love won out. He had a house that was no where near completed. If we wanted to spend time together, we needed to sell my house so that the dog, cat and I could move in with The Renovator to work on his house. This came with conditions. Once completed, we would sell that house (the one we’re in now) and move back to the old neighborhood. He agreed and the move was on.

I mourned selling house #2. There was no way The Renovator could understand how much of myself I sunk into that house. This often happens when we renovate. We also see the finished product and it’s better than we imagined and we don’t want to leave. If you don’t have to leave, and the house suits your purposes, of course it’s fine to change your mind. But in some cases, you need the reminder of why the house wasn’t right in the first place. For me, it was the bathrooms. The bathrooms were too darn small. That and I needed another bedroom.

Whenever I find myself thinking back fondly of house #2, I remember the good times spent there. The love that grew there. The work that family and friends put in there. I remember the things I loved and I know I can recreate them and more importantly, I remember that there were things I didn’t love and that in the future, maybe in house # 4 or house # 5, we’ll make it all work the way we want.

And that’s why I love being The Renovator’s wife.


Ronda Payne

A writer since she first held a pen, Ronda Payne – aka: the Girl with a Pen, is passionate about words. In 2007, she kissed ‘real jobs’ goodbye and began her true career as a copywriter, non-fiction freelance writer (magazines and other periodicals) and creative writer.


  1. Christina Gillmore on June 18, 2009 at 12:13 am

    I love the story of the Renovator’s wife (your second house renos).

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