Nancy Benard

(708) 927-1014

850 Brookforest Avenue, Shorewood, IL 60404

Episode #82: How to Plan, Budget For, and Execute a Renovation Without Losing Your Mind

We get A LOT of questions about how we handle our renovations, so today we’re giving you all the details on how we plan, budget for a reno, and get things done! We also talk about the inevitable ups and downs and how we cope with them.

You can stream the episode here on the blog or on iTunesSpotifyGoogle PlayTuneInPocket Casts, and Stitcher. You can find the podcast posts archive here.

Thanks to this week’s sponsors! Be sure to check out the offers from Ritual, JuneShine, Function of Beauty, and Modern Fertility. And if you’re looking for a specific code from a sponsor, be sure to check out this page.

Show Notes:

-Our friend Ting always has the most solid renovation advice. You can listen to his guest podcast episode “How to be your own general contractor” to hear for yourself!

-First thing’s first: budget! We’re talking about how to decide on your renovation budget when buying a house.

-We chat about ways to stay sane during a renovation, including when to NOT plan a renovation and how to set realistic expectations. HGTV shows where houses get flipped in a weekend? Not real life, haha.

-Do you need to “move out” during your renovation? We tell you when we think it’s necessary.

-Celebrate EVERY step of your renovation!

-Our tradition for every renovation—The Money Pit with Tom Hanks!

-One of the questions we get the most is when to go bold (or just not all white), so we talk about that as well. Basically, you never know if the buyers of your home will rip out your existing choice, be it bold or “safe.”

If you’re planning on going through a renovation, or have been through one before, we hope this episode was relatable and helpful! xo

Episode 82 Transcript



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Elsie: You’re listening to A Beautiful Mess podcast this week, we’re sharing how we plan and budget for renovations and then execute them without losing our minds. I’m sharing a funny renovation tradition that my husband and I always do at the worst part of every renovation. And we’ll share how we weigh out whether it’s worth it to make bold design decisions in our spaces will also answer a listener question about if we’ll ever do a TV show.

Emma: Oooh!

Elsie: (laughs) All right. So this week is going to be fun because I love deep diving into renovation talk. It’s one of my favorite subjects and I have a lot of horror stories.

Emma: Yeah, well, you’ve done a lot of renovations. That’s how you get the good stories.

Elsie: Right. (laughs) So let’s start off by teaching how to budget for a renovation. This is something that I get a lot of questions about. I know it can be overwhelming, but I think that I simplified it here.

Emma: Yeah.

Elsie: So it doesn’t have to be so overwhelming. So my friend Ting, he’s been on our podcast before. He mentored me on how to do a renovation, and he helped me so much because there are so many things that weren’t intuitive to me that now it’s like a part of the process set in stone. You know, he kind of like reworked my brain.

Emma: Yeah, he’s very experienced. And he’s also worked on a lot of different budgets, which I just kind of feel like…so Ting’s amazing. But I also feel like the lesson is: it’s really OK to ask people who are more experienced and have different perspectives than you for advice. You should try to do that as often as you can.

Elsie: That’s true. He also is one of – one of my favorite features of any person that you can have is that you love luxury and you’re a cheap ass.

Emma: Yeah.

Elsie: And he has that! (laughs)

Emma: Yes, he does have that! That’s a good way to put it.

Elsie: So this is how you plan for a renovation. So we start off with the house. So this is a part that I feel like a lot of people miss and it’s very important. So the first step is when your house shopping or if you already have your house, look at your neighborhood and see what is the maximum price that my house can be worth in this neighborhood. And we’re talking realistically. You can be a little optimistic, but stay realistic. And if you want to add in a few years of like inflation, like if you live in, like we live in Nashville, it’s like it’s safe to say that prices are always going to go up and up at this point. In some places they don’t as much.

Emma: Yeah. Springfield, they go up, but not as much as Nashville.

Elsie: Mhmm.

Emma: But yeah, this is basically like if you’re a realtor, or if you ever worked with a realtor, this is like looking at the comps.

Elsie: Right.

Emma: So…

Elsie: So this is super important. If you haven’t bought a house yet, try to buy a house that is a good price in a neighborhood where their house is selling for much more expensive because that gives you the ability to raise your house’s value more than another house might have. Like if you buy a house that is the most expensive house in your neighborhood, you won’t have this big ability to raise your value, which, if you’re a person who loves renovating, isn’t great. So imaginary situation, let’s say that you find a house and it’s one hundred thousand dollars. And you see that there are other houses in your neighborhood that are more fixed up, more finished. Maybe they have new windows. They just got painted, new kitchens, things like that, and they’re selling for three hundred thousand. Then you know that you can increase…

Emma: Great neighborhood.

Elsie: Yeah, that’s a great situation to be in and you know that you could potentially increase your value $200,000 dollars. But — it doesn’t mean that your budget can be two hundred thousand dollars. It could be, but then it would just mean you were making your money back.

Emma: Right.

Elsie: But if you want to actually make money when you sold, and I’m not saying to consider your house that you live in a flip, but I always like to know that I could make a little bit because I do do so much labor myself.

Emma: Right.

Elsie: And like managing the contractors and stuff. So I personally wouldn’t spend the whole two hundred thousand, I would probably spend half of that. So if I lived in that house, my budget would be one hundred thousand for the entire house renovation. And for me that would include everything that every renovation and no furniture.

Emma: Right. So if you turn the house upside down and you shook it, anything that would fall out, that doesn’t count. Everything that would stay, that’s part of the renovation. One time I had a builder explain it to me that way…

Elsie: That’s such genius.

Emma: …and I was like, yeah, exactly. Yeah. You know, because I also understand, like in my first houses is the first thing I wanted to do was buy furniture. And if that’s what you want to do, that’s fine. But that’s not renovating. Yeah. And it’s just important to, like, put those into two separate categories, like if you don’t want to renovate and you just want to furnish your house first, that’s fine.

Emma: Yeah, that’s fine.

Elsie: Yeah. That’s actually great.

Emma: Yeah. I mean that sounds fun, but because you get to take it all with you if you move.

Elsie: Yeah. But just know that you’re not adding value to your house.

Emma: No.

Elsie: So. And then there are also — we’ll get into it where there’s sometimes you make choices that don’t add value and that’s fine too.

Emma: Yeah.

Elsie: As long as you kind of like keep yourself in check as you’re doing it and you’re OK with those choices. Yeah.

Emma: Which is another reason I like that. You don’t. Your advice isn’t to spend that full in this scenario, $200,000, because I think there’s times the next person won’t see, like won’t have the same taste, so there’s that kind of thing. But then also, you know, unless you’re a very professional renovator house flipper, you’re probably going to go over budget. That’s just probably going to happen. You’re going to run into something where something was messed up and you’re going to have to fix it. And that’s going to cost money or something’s just going to cost more than you thought it would just because that’s life. And it’s weird.

Elsie: Which I totally would put in that whole two hundred thousand if I were planning to stay there forever.

Emma: Right.

Elsie: Or if I didn’t care that much about my budget right now. And I like had the extra money and I was just like just wanted to make a dream house, you know, that’s a choice. But if it’s important to you to make a profit at the end, which for me it usually is, because it makes me feel good to know that I increased the value and that I would get something back at the end. It just makes me feel like I’m building something along the way, even in a house where I’m not planning on moving out.

Emma: Well, I view that as one of the good things about homeownership. A lot of people think it’s that you get to make whatever choices you want and you’re not like, you know, at the whim of your landlord, like you get to decide what to do. And that’s cool. But I think the big benefit of homeownership is that you can make some money at the end. So it’s a little bit more of an investment in that sense.

Elsie: Yeah, for sure. I think that…

Emma: Because a lot more work to own a home than it is to rent, because when you rent and something breaks, you just call your landlord or your, you know, the rental company or whatever it is. And if something breaks and you own your home, it’s on you. Right. So, yeah, there’s a lot more work there and a lot more, you know, that you have goes into owning a home. So I think the benefit should be in most cases, again, unless you’re going to live there forever, unless you like independently wealthy and you kind of don’t care, then it’s like, great, great. But, you know, for us average people, (laughs) I think like the benefit of owning a home is that you will make some money on it when you move.

Elsie: Yeah. And if you’re a DIY renovator and you’re doing it with less contractors and less expense, then it feels like, that’s the way that you get paid in a way.

Emma: Right.

Elsie: Like back or, you know, even if you’re not planning on selling, you just know that you, like, built that value in feels really good. So I think I over explained that. But now, you know, it’s super simple to know how much you should spend on your house in your neighborhood. It’s not difficult. And, you know, some people will find that they, like, shouldn’t renovate their house very much. And that sucks. But it also it’s good to know that before you do it, right?

Emma: Yeah. And there’s a lot you can do with paint.

Elsie: Right? That’s true. OK, so you know, your budget is one hundred thousand. The next step is to plan and prioritize the renovation. So I would recommend making a schedule. I like to make a schedule of the whole thing. So I’m always changing my schedule. But I have a schedule. Since day one I knew like what the next two years are going to look like. We’re doing a two-year renovation and it will stretch beyond that. But the two years is like the main stuff that we want it done, you know what I mean? I planned and prioritized it. So actually our plan is a little bit covid specific, I would say, because…

Emma: Everyone’s plans right now are…

Elsie: You’re right, I planned it so that this year we don’t really have to have much or very many contractors in our home. Collin works in my home. It’s safer for him. It’s safer for me. It’s safer for both our families. That’s just how we’re doing it. And then next year, we’ll do our big stuff. And in our situation, it’s working out pretty well. I like it because I feel like I have more time to plan the big renovations and I feel like I have more time to save for them. And if I had to start the kitchen renovation tomorrow, I wouldn’t be ready. So I like having the time to, like, do the extra planning. It’s been nice.

Emma: Yeah, definitely also helps with planning money. So if you don’t have the full one hundred thousand right now and you’re not planning to get a construction loan, then it can help you to know, OK, I have two years. So that means, you know, twenty thousand is going to come out quarterly or whatever it is. You know, that probably isn’t quite right. I’m not good at math on the fly. So there’s that. I also think having that timeline can help you to prepare mentally because renovation’s hard, we’ll probably talk about this a little more, but it can also help you to prepare your family. So if you live with a partner or a roommate or children, you can kind of know what parts of your house are going to be ripped up when because like having, say, your kitchen ripped up for Thanksgiving and Christmas might not work for you if you’re like, I love baking, I love entertaining, even if it’s just my family, you know.

Elsie: We’re planning to do our big, big renovation in the summer strategically because for one, we can leave, we can leave, you know, take a trip, things like that.

Emma: And it’s just warmer — you can be outside.

Elsie: We can be outside more. We’ll probably stay and AirBnB or something like that for a lot of it. We might go to Missouri for part of it. You know, it’s just good that our kids will be out of school so we can go places, and that’s part of why we put it there. Yeah, I definitely I never quite understand it when people are like renovating the week before Christmas and they’re like really stressed out, although I would just imagine that, like, they didn’t plan it that way.

Emma: Yeah it was probably like their contractor is like, we’ll get it done in October. And then all of a sudden. (laughs)

Elsie: Yeah, but for me, it’s like you guys know, the number one thing in my life is Halloween. So I want my kitchen back together for Halloween. Halloween is my Christmas.

Emma: Yeah. And everyone’s life is different. Their priorities are different. And also for us, our work tends to be a lot more busy holiday season wise and we’re not as busy in the summer. That’s just how it works for us. Not everyone’s like that. But that can make a difference, too, because we work out of our homes. So that’s another consideration. So thinking through your timeline can help in a lot of ways, alleviate a lot of stress, money-wise, schedule-wise, work-wise, personal-life wise. So that’s why it’s…

Elsie: Timeline is super important. I just realized I kind of like derailed my teaching, just talking about my own renovation. So please forgive. All right. Let’s take a quick pause for a sponsor break.

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Elsie: Ok, let’s get back to it. So you know, you have one hundred thousand and you know, you want to do some things to add value to your home. So I would start with like things that, you know, add value. So first of all, fixing things that are really outdated and really bad. For a lot of people it’s the flooring, the kitchen, bathroom and adding square footage. Those are all things that you can do for one hundred thousand that could really change the value of your home. And every home is different. So it’s up to you to decide what and how you want to spend that money. But I think that just like planning it out on paper, when you have the big amount and you haven’t spent any of it yet, is so great because it’s so easy to overspend on any one of those projects just because you get into it and you’re like thinking like, oh, I want my dream windows or I want herringbone floors or I want, you know, this like custom cabinets in my kitchen and like custom cabinets in a kitchen could like take the budget of a whole nother bathroom for some houses. So it’s just good to plan it in advance and just kind of know how much am I willing to spend on these items. Another great tip that Ting taught me is to put the least important things to you at the end, because most people go over budget and most people have to make a compromise at the end. And that compromise can either be that you save more and you do it later or that you just don’t do it at all or that you do it in a less expensive way. So I think that that’s really, really smart to put something at the end that’s like more of a want and less of a need or something that you are really excited about that you know, won’t add value to your home.

Emma: Mm hmm. So if you need to cut it, you can.

Elsie: Yes.

Emma: Even though it’s sad, but it won’t really affect resale and other, other factors.

Elsie: Yes. So I already kind of mentioned that when I budget for renovations, it doesn’t include furnishings at all. That’s just how I like to do my budget. If you need to buy all your furnishings at once, I maybe would budget for them, but maybe just kind of in a separate item, like a separate budget, because if you have to buy like a ton of furniture at once, it can add up really quickly. We’ve done it for our AirBnBs a couple of times. And I think that like one of the times we were like, oh, 10000 is enough and then ended up being like 20. (laughs) It’s like, that’s a big difference! And we were like, really…we felt that we were doing it like the cheapest possible ways. Just that when you’re…when it’s not like in the city where you live, you can’t just, like, run to a thrift store. The cheapest way to furnish your home hands down like there will never be a contest is to do it second hand over time where you’re like slowly finding things at thrifts, Facebook Marketplace, things like that. So if you’re on a super budget and you want to save, I would say spend a year stalking all those things and collecting your furniture, and you will find these like amazing quality, beautiful pieces that are totally unique to your home for a steal — that is very possible. But if you have to do it quickly just because you need to move in or whatever, like I recently lived for four months or so without a dining room table and Emma came over and she was like, what are you doing?!

Emma: Well, and she didn’t have any tables in her house at all. And she works from home. So it was like it wasn’t just that, oh, there was no place to sit for the family to eat dinner together. It was like, no, no, no, no, no. There was nowhere to sit to eat. There’s nowhere to sit to put your computer and like, have like a notebook beside you. It was maddening. I don’t know how you did that for four months, like, I would have lost my mind. So there I went and bought something from a thrift store immediately. It was just like, I know I’m not going to keep this. I’m going to re-donate it, but I have to have a table.

Elsie: Yeah, it was a covid thing. All my furniture got delayed and then I didn’t know what was coming. And then I was afraid to go to thrift stores. I still was like, afraid to go everywhere at that time. So anyway, I wouldn’t recommend it. Anyway. I think that if you can furnish slowly, that’s definitely like a tip where you can, like, easily save like ten thousand dollars or more. Ways to stay sane. This is its own subject. (laughs)So first of all, in my first renovation, I didn’t anticipate like extra costs and extra problems. I kind of like was too optimistic. And I was like, OK, things well things will be fine. I know something bad will happen, but actually a lot of bad things happened and there was like things that happened where we had to completely redo things. Just it was much more of an expense than I expected. And like a time — like the timelines change more than I expected. So I think that one way to keep yourself very sane is to anticipate that there will be these big problems and kind of build yourself into like a schedule. Like I personally wouldn’t renovate a house on a year that I was like having a baby, adopting a baby, writing a book. Like any big thing in your life, like, I would consider the renovation the big thing for that year, if you can. I think that’s really important.

Emma: Yeah. If you can. Which you never know. You know, sometimes surprises happen in your life, but yeah.

Elsie: Maybe you can balance two things. But I mean, it depends on everyone’s like workload and things like that. But renovations can be really time-consuming. And a lot of times there’s just like you suddenly need to spend half your day researching for this like weird like supply that your plumber needs. And, you know, just things like that happen all the time. And it can be if you’re already, like at your max capacity, it can be too much.

Emma: Yeah. And we talked in the last episode, which was about building a business, building a blog, blah, blah, blah. We talked about the Valley of Despair a little bit. And I actually think that applies to renovations, too. And so often people… either you know or you don’t know, because I feel like people who know, they’re like my marriage almost didn’t survive my renovation, like they get it. They went through the valley of despair. They didn’t know they were going to, but they made it, you know, and some people don’t really know that that’s part of renovation. They just think it’s like an HGTV show. In a weekend, your house gets flipped and it’s so cool. And it’s like, nah, man, there’s this phase where you’re seriously kind of depressed because things went wrong or you have to make a bunch of decisions at once that you kind of wanted to spread out and you’re really disappointed or your partner is upset or something got messed up and your kid is like in your face too much because you don’t have space, you or whatever. Like just something happens where it’s like, oh, this isn’t the. One dream that I thought it was going to be, it’s actually really uncomfortable, you know, or for me, like me and Elsie, we’re both kind of introverts and we work from home. So just having people in my home, even if we’re all wearing masks and like things like that, still I get a little where I’m just like I need my space. So, like, having a lot of work done in my home can just kind of get into my mental you know.

Elsie: I know a lot of people who feel that way about renovating. And if you’re one of those people, you should be doing it for a little bit or renovate before you move in, if you can. Yeah, it it’s very difficult…

Emma: Or prepare your pep talks in advance. And give them to yourself every morning when you have your coffee, because it’s just going to be a phase that you’ve got to get through. You know.

Elsie: It’s true. It’s all true. All right. Let’s take a quick sponsor break.

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Elsie: Another way to stay sane is to celebrate every step. I love this. I’m a big celebrator. You all probably know. I probably talk about it too much, but like I will pop champagne for anything and order like a fancy dinner just for like good news or like, you know, you finished one section. And I think that it’s really important to celebrate the step —  like if you wait till the end to celebrate, you’ll be waiting too long is my point. Yeah. So, yeah, celebrate each step along the way and each milestone. And remember that it’s normal that like your timeline is going to stretch, you’re going to have revisions you weren’t expecting, your contractor’s going to make you upset, you know, things like that.

Emma: Yep. Yep. That’s part of it.

Elsie: Boo! OK and then another tip is to all this is we would focus on the ways that you’ll enjoy the home and the memories you’ll make in the future. I think that that visualization really gets me through. So you all know…

Emma: This is being glass half full basically, you know?

Elsie: Yeah!

Emma: Because I mean when your house is ripped up, you can be like this is so ripped up and I can’t do anything and I’m so sad and that’s true. But the half-full glass half full version of it is like this is going to be an amazing living room where we’re going to put the Christmas tree here next year and we’re going to make all these memories, you know, or whatever. And it’s so it’s like focusing on that positive side. Which also exists.

Elsie: Yeah. That this year is definitely my little bit of…like I shared, I had like a what do you call it, decision fatigue in a recent blog post in like just a little bit of burnout, just because last year we unintentionally flipped a house in four months and sold it and then moved again. And we for the first time ever moved into a house that wasn’t renovated at all and have lived here through basically all of it. We left our house for one week to get floors. So, yeah, we’re living through renovation for multiple years. And that is hard. Yeah, like, it’s difficult and there’s no other way for it to be besides really difficult at times. So I think keeping those little, like, light at the end of the tunnel visualizations is I think it’s really, really helpful and it’s definitely like getting me through. OK, time for the funny tradition. So every time we renovate a house and we get to the really bad part, which for me includes a lot of crying and regrets and stress, usually like, you know, your timelines messed up and just something that you really wanted isn’t happening. You know, these things are kind of like normal common experiences in a big renovation. So what we do every time is we watch the Money Pit, which is a movie with Tom Hanks, and it is a movie about a renovation that goes terribly wrong. And it’s like it’s a too good to be true mansion, which is my ultimate dream house. You know, I love it too good to be true mansion that ends up being like haunted or something. But his ends up being like a money pit where every single thing is broken and you just can’t tell in the first walk through they’re like stunned by it. And then, you know, every single thing falls apart.

Emma: And their contractors are hilarious.

Elsie: Yes.

Emma: They’re always like, it’ll be done in two weeks. That’s like always the answer it’s just so funny.

Elsie: The two weeks thing is hilarious. So anyway, I highly recommend the money pit when you’re kind of in the valley of despair, of renovating. It’s such a timeless classic. It’s so good. It’s so funny. It’s mostly just jokes about like falling down the stairs, falling through the floor, getting your head bonked. (laughs) It’s just silly…

Emma: Like the water doesn’t work and the kitchen’s messed up, you know, whatever. And I think the one thing it does is give you a little moment to laugh at what you’re going through, which doesn’t mean that what you’re going through isn’t hard, but it is good sometimes to have a little perspective and laugh whenever you can.

Elsie: The first time we watched it in our first house was after the day that our basement floors flooded and ruined the all new floors that we had just put in. And Emma remembers because she was there and my parents were there and my parents said that like from the other room, they could hear us like we were watching it in our bedroom and that we like they never heard us laugh so hard. So it was like this like happy moment in a very like, shit time. Yeah. So highly recommend.

Emma: They should redo that.

Elsie: Oh, my gosh.

Emma: If there’s any Hollywood people listening…

Elsie: I volunteer. I want to help with it. Actually I don’t.

Emma: I just want to watch it. I just and I love Tom Hanks. It could even have Tom Hanks again. Just you know, it’s not like that old of a movie, but it is old enough they could do a revamp of it. And I think it would be really fun.

Elsie: Yeah, they should. I love it. OK, so let’s talk about bold choices before we wrap up, because this is a big question that we get. Just any time we talk about renovating, people are like, how do you, like, decide which things to do? Like not the classic way or when to put in something that like maybe not everyone will like because, you know, people tend to pick like all white things or like certain more traditional things because they’re thinking about the resale. But what’s sad is that sometimes you make a choice because of resale and you never truly love it. And then the next person just rips out anyway.

Emma: Yeah.

Elsie: So if you think of it that way, I think it kind of helps you to like get a little bit past that and be like, this is my house where I live and the years I live here, I want to fully enjoy it, you know. But at the same time, there are moments when I still wouldn’t make, like, a crazy decision. So how do we weigh that out is the question. So I’m thinking like the time I did the blue floors is a big one that people always ask about because I ended up changing them right before we moved. Which wasn’t a big deal to me. It was worth it to me. Trendy things like a terrazzo countertop, you know, those are like very expensive. Like you might have like twenty thousand dollar countertops in your kitchen. It’s like, how do you know that that’s like worth it, you know, or like I think there are ways to decide that. And then also like colored tile and wallpaper is a big thing because wallpaper Mandi wrote in a blog post once, wallpaper is never an investment. And I agree with that, that you should never count it dollar for dollar. But I also think that a lot of people like wallpaper and I don’t personally worry too much about it. I don’t know.

Emma: I wouldn’t consider it adding value to a house. So in the way I think that’s kind of probably what she meant.

Elsie: That’s what she meant.

Emma: So that I agree with. But I wouldn’t yes. I do feel like some people are like I would I wouldn’t do wallpaper because I don’t think my house will. Some people will scare people off. And I just kind of think ehh…

Elsie: Would wallpaper ever scare you off?

Emma: No.

Elsie: See? Me neither.

Emma: And it might someone but I just think that’s just such an inexperienced homebuyer that you maybe don’t want them buying your house anyway, like because it’s so easy to get wallpaper removed.

Elsie: Yeah. Something that was helpful for me was to realize that, like, I’m really not in the category of like everyone needs to love this house and everyone needs to want to buy it, like it’s OK with me if our style is more specific and it’s sort of like a love it or hate it thing, because I feel confident that in the area where we live, there’s enough home buyers in like certain price ranges who do have like weird taste or some people like, I would say, cool taste, you know, (laughs) whatever subjective to you. But I know that it’s not like out of the question to find someone who wants it, wants to keep it almost exactly as it is or pretty close, you know, or they’re going to like a lot of the choices we made. So I feel confident, just like kind of going for it. But on my first house, I think that’s why I did mostly all white tiles, because I was like a little more nervous that I didn’t want to like.

Emma: I think in a way, though, too, you had like a smaller budget for that. So that’s something to consider as well. But I also think you have to kind of know that someone’s bold choice is somebody else’s neutral at times.

Elsie: That’s true.

Emma: And I know that’s hard to wrap your head around, but to me, like if someone who owned a home before me was like, I know I’m going to get granite or quartz countertops, which are relatively similar in price, it depends, but relatively similar in price. They’re both considered nice. They’re both like a higher quality going to last type material. And if the person before me is like, I just really want this brown granite countertop, just neutral brown thing, that is not something I would ever pick or want to keep. But I’m not going to look at that house in a listing and think, oh, this is like bad. Like this is a bad house. Like, I’m not I’m just going to think like, oh, I don’t like this granite. So either I’m going to have to think about ripping it out or I’m just going to leave it and work with it or whatever, you know, like there’s just kind of a difference. Whereas I think if you cheap out on something where people are going to perceive it as literally cheap, I think that makes a bigger difference, you know, to resale value. So I don’t know if you pick something that’s maybe a little bit of a bolder choice in that you really like it, but it’s still a high quality material. It was still like installed professionally or installed well, if you did it yourself, you did a good job. It looks professional, then I think like I wouldn’t say you can’t go wrong, but I would say it’s a lot harder to go wrong, so.

Elsie: Right.

Emma: I would have a little more confidence. You don’t have to pick all white everything. Some people don’t even like white.

Elsie: Yeah. So I think, OK, here’s how I would choose it. If this is your own home that you’re living in, my advice is don’t treat it like a flip. Treat it like your house, you know, and if you want to do something like a little different, then consider it an indulgence. Don’t consider an investment. Don’t count on a dollar-for-dollar return. But, you know, for example, if you’re like upgrading your whole kitchen, if one thing about it’s colorful, like, I would just say, who cares.

Emma: I would too. I would say who cares.

Elsie: And then just, you know, think about how long that you’ll be able to enjoy them. Like if you’re planning to stay for more than five years, I would just say go for it. You know, a lot of people’s — because yeah, like even if you picked something boring, the next person might rip it out anyway. That happened a couple of times with our last couple of houses, something that we thought we did what we did do to the best of our ability in a very it was a very like, it was a feature. The next person just didn’t have a use for it and they changed it. And that’s totally normal and like so I wouldn’t make those decisions. I would like first and foremost think about, like, making it your dream house. And then, second of all, make sure like you’re adding value and stuff and you’re not, like, just spending money on crazy things, I guess. So I hope this episode was helpful. If you’re thinking of doing a renovation, if you’re house shopping, if you’re in the middle of one and you just needed a pep talk, send us your stories. If you have any funny stories. We love reading them. You can write us at Podcast@abeautifulmess.com. So before we go, we have a listener question.

Emma: Yep, and as Elsie teased in the intro. The question is, when’s your Netflix series coming? They want to know when we’re going to have our own TV show.

Emma: OK, so I as a seven, I have so much fomo about everything really in life, but I feel like I’m finally, like, far enough along in my career, mature enough in my life, and just like I’m in my mom zone, that I can finally really say this. I kind of think we’re never going to have a TV show. And we’re both totally…

Emma: Now, you know, we definitely will. As soon as Elsie says, we’ll never do it…No I don’t know. (laughs)

Elsie: Right now. We don’t want a show. And it could definitely change in five or ten years, like whatever. I’m not going to speak for the future. But right now, like Emma’s having her first child, I have two kids, I’m in my zone. Our kids aren’t even in kindergarten yet. Like I’m just like really enjoying this life. And I feel like the content that we get to make for Instagram and our blog and then, you know, doing this podcast, I’m so fulfilled by that creatively. I don’t want another creative outlet right now. I don’t think I have capacity for one. And I think that one thing that a lot of people don’t talk about with shows is that it’s not just filming the show that you have to commit to. It’s like a lot of, like, press and like, you know, going to be like on Good Morning America and going to speak at a home and garden show and that kind of stuff I’m just not willing to do right now.

Emma: Yeah, I would….yeah. And I feel like we kind of you probably get this from us a lot, but we kind of view life in different seasons. If you listen to my mini-episode with Ramit recently, he really talked about this too, like your career can kind of be in these different seasons. And for Elsie and I, we kind of viewing this next season of our life, this next five years, whatever, three to five years, whatever you want to say as kind of a little bit less work, a little bit more family time, a little bit more margin, basically.

Elsie: Yeah.

Emma: And for the record, that doesn’t mean that, like, if you have a young kid, you can’t start something new or have a TV show. Obviously, you can. Tons of people have small kids and do TV shows. But that’s what they’re choosing.

Elsie: We are working moms and we love it.

Emma: Yeah, we are working, we work full time. But for us, we don’t really want to take on a big new thing. And then I also think you and I, we don’t really love being in front of cameras. I think everyone is assumes all bloggers and Instagram people like influencers, love to be in front of a camera.

Elsie: And I feel like doing Instagram stories, has made us more willing and able to talk on camera maybe than we were before? It’s good practice, I’ll say that. But I think that a lot of people if you’ve never been on live TV, let me just explain to you how it is. It’s like depending on like a lot of times we would like, fly somewhere to be, you know, so you have to do all of that flying somewhere. You’re staying in a hotel, you’re waking up super early. You’re going in and you have that, like, sick feeling of like nervousness. And then you’re on TV for literally like two minutes and it just feels like a blink. And then you always for me, I always felt like I did bad afterwards and then I wish I could redo it. And it’s just like not a fun experience. It’s not something I enjoy or I think I would enjoy doing something that was like filmed like kind of like, very like not really — like last year, you know, when I did that AirBnB commercial, like, that was so fun for me and I really enjoyed it. But it was like a very like it was kind of like acting like they were like directing me on scenes. And I was saying lines.

Emma: I also did a commercial not last year during covid, but before that I won’t say who it was for simply because it didn’t air. But and it was like the giant crew and it felt like being on a TV set, it felt like acting.

Elsie: They brought a porta potty into Emma’s yard.

Emma: Yeah, my neighbors were really excited.

Elsie: And a giant tent of like refreshments.

Emma: Yeah. Craft services. Yeah. And yeah, it’s it’s really cool, but I just don’t feel like you and I, we like staying home.

Elsie: I would more likely like to act like in a commercial again then do a reality series or especially not doing like live TV interviews. So you guys like we’re not we’re not good at it.

Emma: The next thing I want to do is publish a book. That’s my next creative thing that I want to do is publish a work of fiction.

Elsie: Yes.

Emma: Which is a very like state your house type on your computer. I think if I actually do get lucky enough to publish something, I will hopefully, you know, get to do some kind of promotion for it. So that will be fun. But yeah, I don’t really have a desire for a TV show at all. And every now and again we get some kind of weird offer for one, which is always really, really nice that people think we could do it. But Elsie will get fomo and I’ll get kind of like, no, remember we talked about this. We don’t really want to do it. So.

Elsie: It sounds fun, but yeah, anyway.

Emma: Maybe, you know, in the next season of our lives, which is like, yeah. You know…

Elsie: Let’s revisit it in five years.

Emma: Yeah.

Elsie: All right. Thank you so much for listening. We’re so grateful for you. If you have a chance to share our podcast this week on Instagram, we would really appreciate that every single Monday it makes us so thankful. And we hope you have a great week.

Emma: Bye!


Author / Contributor: Elsie Larson

Nancy Benard Homes

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