We’ve realized that there are not enough hours in the day to do it all ourselves. Earlier this week, the realization hit us like a ton of bricks. Continuing to handle all of the millwork at our ongoing Two Flat project was setting us (way) back, so we quit. Here’s what’s happening next.
Admitting defeat is difficult for many of us, but we’ve learned to never be too proud to know when we’ve gotten in over our heads and need to call in the pros. You win this round, Two Flat trim. We’re giving up on tackling you ourselves and have scheduled our favorite contractor to come kick your ass.
Calling It Quits
Earlier this week, we were a few hours deep into our usual Two Flat Tuesday project day and it hit us: At the rate we were working, casing out all of the windows and installing all of the trim and baseboards in the house would take us weeks. Months, even! We were both frustrated beyond belief at the slow pace of progress. Kim was overwhelmed and nearly in tears. Right then and there, we sat down on the floor and called Patrik, our favorite contractor (and guardian angel). We asked if he could add the millwork installation on to the back end of our already-scheduled door install project next week. His answer? For you guys, this is no problem. We will do it. And just like that, with one phone call, we had hired out all of the installation of all of the millwork at the Two Flat. The weight of the world had been lifted from our shoulders! We hung up the phone in tears of joy!
Working Smarter, Not Harder
Doing things yourself is rarely (if ever) the easier way, but we also know that ‘throwing money at a problem’ and hiring it out can feel like a luxury. It’s a privilege. Sometimes we can swing it, and sometimes we can’t! Kim and I both still absolutely love DIY projects and get immense amounts of satisfaction from this portion of our work. However, when DIY begins effecting other aspects of your work, life and relationships, it may be time to work smarter, not harder. The logic is fairly simple; Patrik’s team of three can work exponentially faster, since they’re a well-oiled team that does this work all day, every day. And when it comes to the Two Flat, time is money.
This is not to say that we aren’t capable of this work. We are, and therein lies the problem. The truth is, we are simply incapable of getting it done within a timeline that’s smart. And that’s okay! Renovation ebbs and flows. Some projects take less time than anticipated. Others take significantly more. This is an example of the latter. We’re here to share our story honestly as it unfolds, and we certainly won’t pretend that we can do it all – because we can’t. Since the Two Flat is not our primary home, every day that these two units sit incomplete and unrented costs us money. This comes as no surprise to anyone, but now that we’ve reached the point of completing finish work and planning for kitchens and bathrooms, we can’t afford to waste time.
So About That Trim
The other reality that hit us on Tuesday is that all of the original trim that we’ve worked so hard thus far to salvage won’t be able to be used throughout the house. I know. I know! We’ve spent countless hours on salvaging everything we could, pulling out nails (hundreds of them), and piecing the puzzle back together. But while the vast majority of the trim is in good shape, many pieces are more warped or twisted than we realized. The time spent, the mental drain, the toll on our spirits – man, it’s not for the faint of heart. Our plan is to donate the millwork we can’t use to one of our favorite local architectural salvage shops. We’re putting good renovation karma into the world by saving it and letting someone else tackle the finishing touches.
We’ll try to match our new trim selection to the vintage trim as closely as possible (thank goodness for all our documentation), maybe with our own little twist on it. We’ve already begun choosing vintage replica trim for the baseboards, window and doors, but more on that soon!
A Positive Realization
Our intent is not for this decision to come off as defeatist or negative, rather, we view this realization as a positive one. We feel liberated by our choice to hire the project out! While this installation will cost us money in the short term, we’re confident that it will more than pay for itself in the long run via lower holding costs and a shorter road to rental income.
Understanding when a situation has gotten the best of you is a skill that comes with practice. We’ve been renovating houses for more than a decade, and all of that practice has paid off… But this time it will just result in us paying someone else.
Who out there is strong enough to share your own DIY realizations? We can all lean on one another!