stress of a renovation

Despite all the best laid plans, things can go wrong when you’re renovating. Yes, even though I’m a professional and this is what I do for a living! Let me tell you a story that really raised my stress levels and had me reaching for the lavender oil.

Being an interior designer has been framed as a glamorous career – endless shopping in designer stores flipping through fabrics and choosing colours. It’s insane that this is what society thinks an interior designer does, because it’s far from the truth. Being an interior designer is stressful, hard work, dare I say it, long days that are filled with tedious tasks. Despite this, the reward is so worth it when we get to see how the family reacts to their new home. So worth it! 

I was working on a project where we were swapping out all of the windows in a brick home. The project was already a little more complex given the brick, however, the windows were quite unusual in their shape. The window manufacturer, builder and installer were all extremely conscientious and there were a lot of onsite meetings to make sure they got it right. Installation day came and it turns out somewhere along the way someone got something wrong. Yep, seven of those windows didn’t fit. So, back on the truck they go, back to the factory, cut down and resized to fit. It would be a 7 day delay in our schedule. Although I build in contingencies, and I deal with 20 week lead-times, and I’m negotiating with the weather and I’m constantly adjusting project schedules, sometimes one little thing can go awry on a project and it could be the tipping point for me. All of a sudden, everything feels like it’s going wrong, nothing is ever going to be right again, I’m total rubbish, and I should just pack it all in now.

I won’t bore you with all the details but until a few years ago, this situation was a real be all and end all for me. In my head that is. I would have stewed on that one f*ck up for days and days and days. But, that’s just it, it’s all in my head. The house hasn’t fallen down, no one has died, the windows will turn up next week and the project will get finished. I realised that so much of me goes into each and every project, I’m totally invested in the design, I’m committed to the end result, that I had to find ways to deal with the stress that wouldn’t see me rocking in the corner crying from the shame. I practice yoga, I walk with my dog on the beach, I meditate. But one of my go-to, snap out of it methods is really simple. I use lavender oil. I kid you not! That teeny bottle gets carried around with me as part of my tool kit along with my measuring tape and colour chart. In fact, since working with the clients where we had the wrong sized windows turn up, I’ve even started to give a bottle of lavender oil to clients, because their stress levels will definitely rise during a renovation.

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