4 Foolproof Ways to Overcome Restoration Fatigue

by Candice Whitlow

Have you ever been working on your old house and suddenly lose your drive? If you answered yes to my question you are not alone!

Maybe it’s a project where you keep finding more issues that need to be repaired as you go and you’ve blown your budget. Or maybe you’ve burned the midnight oil covered in plaster dust and paint trying to get a part of your house back into a livable state, and then it hits you that you have so much more to do before the house is done. Whatever it may be, take comfort in the fact that you are not alone. This is a really common occurrence when you live your life in a “handy-man special” old house. With my experience of growing up in homes like this and now owning one, I have learned a few tricks to fight the fixer-upper blues.

Take a Break

I know this sounds counterproductive, but believe me, it’s one of the best things you can do. Wash off the grime and have a getaway. Even if you just take a day trip somewhere, you will be amazed at how replenished you will feel after being away from the chaos for a while. It also helps to use this time to reflect on where you started versus where you are now.

Oh honey, remember the night we stayed up until 3 A.M. scraping glue off of the kitchen floor? Good times…


Watch Movies and TV Shows Featuring Cool Old Houses

I cannot tell you how many times this has helped me! I always draw inspiration from movies and shows that feature beautiful old houses. Gilmore Girls tends to be my favorite. I’m pretty sure I’ve been inspired by every home and building in Stars Hollow. Seriously, the town may be fictional, but it has got it going on in the old house business.

I dream of having a wraparound porch like Lorelai Gilmore!


Go Antiquing

This step pairs well with step number one. Historic downtown areas are usually teeming with awesome antique shops, so you get the added bonus of feeling inspired by all of the beautiful architecture. Plus, it’s always a great feeling when you find that perfect antique at a great price! Who knows, you may find a beautiful clock that would be perfect for the mantel you’ve been tirelessly stripping and refinishing for a while, and this great buy might just be the nudge you need to finally finish the job!

Junebug’s is one of my favorite local places to find antiques.


Clean Out The Clutter

Everyone who lives in a fixer-upper knows that clutter from working on projects can accumulate quickly. For the longest time the extra bedroom in my house was full of random tools, and boxes of wood and tile scraps. Try not to let this things like this accumulate in your living space. You may live in a construction project, but that doesn’t mean you have to constantly live in a construction mess. It can become very
overwhelming trying to make your home cozy, and working around tools and other random house parts you may have laying around. Garages, basements or even your attic, are perfect places to keep items like this until you’re ready to use them.
Are you feeling inspired to work on your house again? Great! It’s time to pick up your tools and dive back in!
As CIRCA’s resident old house restoration expert, Candi has lived her whole life in fixer-uppers. Her love for old houses stems from growing up in Doniphan MO, where there is an old house on every corner and the roots of her family tree run deep. She currently manages her father’s company, BARCO Construction and Design. Candi is on the board of the Doniphan Neighborhood Assistance Program and has worked closely with the City of Doniphan Historic Preservation Commission, documenting the city’s historic downtown buildings. She devotes most of her spare time to restoring her 1920s cottage-style bungalow that she shares with her husband Jake and their two dogs Rowdy and Mac.

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