Dealing with disappointment

I’d like to think that I’ve been pretty real so far. I’ve expressed my frustrations, pointed out where things have gone wrong, and talked about what I’ve learned. Yet up to this point, I’ve not really let rip how disappointing so much of this build has been. Nobody likes a complainer, right?

That said, I think it’s important to talk about disappointment. Learning how to deal with setbacks in a healthy manner is fundamental when going through any sort of renovation process. Why you ask? Because every project is going to come with compromises and if you can’t find a way to move on, those compromises will eat away at you and ruin what should be an exciting time. Further to this, working with people is challenging. Everyone has their own vision for what you should be doing, how you should be spending your money, how you should design the space. What is intended as well-meaning advice, can quickly become incredibly frustrating when nobody stops and listens to what YOU actually want.

So what’s a girl to do?

1. It’s the oldest advice anyone can give but the first thing to do is stop and take a deep breath. In the moment think in particular: what is causing your disappointment?

As an example, I wanted a dado rail from the entryway going up the stairs. I’ve seen countless photos on Pinterest with beautiful dado rails and different paint/wallpaper combinations and I had everything planned out. When speaking to the carpenter I raised the idea and he was quick to shoot it down. He explained to me that the wall was so uneven the dado rail would highlight the poor plasterwork (see previous posts). I was unnecessarily devastated as I felt like he wasn’t willing to find a solution. So I stopped, took a deep breath and thought about why I was actually upset: my house wasn’t going to look like some silly image on Pinterest. Put that way I felt silly myself.

Upon deeper reflection, I realised that I’ve put so much pressure on myself to have this amazing home when I’m just starting to figure out what this interior designing gig is all about. I have ideas, but I also need to listen to those with experience and see where we can agree on the right design features. I was anxious to leap ahead and I’m only just at the start of figuring out how to make a home. So I took a step back and dove deeper into interior design and understanding the basics. Slowly slowly, catchy monkey.

2. After you’ve taken a deep breath (and maybe a step back), the next step is to reframe your expectations.

Okay so I didn’t get a dado rail, but I took that as a challenge to think creatively about how to make my entryway stand out. It may sound strange, and I’ve said it before (see here) but I think the entryway should stand up and punch you in the face. You only get one chance to make a first impression and I want people to be wowed when they walk in my door. What could I find that would delight and excite visitors when coming to my home? Enter in the super-jazzy tiles, which I will post about in the coming weeks.

3. When you’ve calmed down, express your frustrations with your partner, your builder, your interior designer, whoever will listen. 

I say “when you’ve calmed down” because I tend to get frustrated and say things in the heat of the moment I later regret. Rather than damaging these important relationships, take the time to calmly express why you’re disappointed and discuss whether there are other alternatives to achieving the designs you want. If the people you’re working with understand how important something is to you, they will be more apt to come up with solutions. In my case, I didn’t feel there was a need to find a solution as I’d reframed my focus.

4. If the disappointment is too much, consider breaking ties. 

We have been disappointed with our builders throughout the process and it took a fairly big problem for us to finally request they clear out. The relationship had become so toxic and the disappointment so overwhelming we felt as if we didn’t have a choice.

When we parted ways I felt so much relief. I had my house back. I was in control again and I wasn’t being lied to any longer. I also wasn’t paying someone to do a sub-standard job. Sweet sweet relief.

When and if you decide to take this step be sure you’re ready. You’ll likely face more delays, you’ll potentially struggle to find the right trades willing to do the job and you’ll have to spend more money. That said, you’ll hopefully gain control of your build again and the disappointment will start to dissipate. You might even enjoy yourself again!

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