Maybe you know the feeling. Being in a building you didn’t build and standing there and thinking, I wonder who built this or how it was built?
Maybe you’ve worked on a remodel project or even a smaller weekend project with a spouse and one of you did the heavy lifting for whatever reason. You feel this disconnect when you look at the project. One feels pride and the other simply doesn’t.
There’s something very visceral about building. It’s a hyper personal experimental thing. Even though we’ve built our own home and done the vast majority of the work there are part of the build that we simply didn’t touch or couldn’t touch for one reason or another.
With a family now there’s a growing differential in the amount of work my wife and I are able to put into the build. We knew this build would take us years to complete and that means it was going to span many life stages. For now that means the work becomes more heavy on myself, but does that mean it isn’t appreciated by my wife?
Not at all. Her appreciation is actually higher as the house progresses because she values being able to be a mom and provide for our family. But it does create an interesting dynamic. Not entirely different than missing those precious and amazing moments with your kids that inevitably pass you by.
Everyones build story is different. How much they want to be involved, how connected they are to the overall vision of the build and perhaps the most unique is the time span. Being as connected as possible has many benefits. No matter how good your plan is questions arise during a build that need real answers. Even with incredible planning software and 3D renderings you can only visualize so much. Once you see things coming to life ideas happen. Sometimes it’s how the light enters a room or walking up to an entry way doesn’t feel quite right. Being connected helps the build adapt and as it goes along, somewhat like a custom tailored outfit you can feel the vision coming to life.
It also creates a deeper satisfaction with the build instead of a resentment with a potential problem, design issue or conflict that could have been averted earlier was ignored and now either requires adaptation or that you just cover it with a vase so you don’t have to look at it.
No matter what project you’re working on, small or large, there’s great pride in the many subtleties and being connected to those brings a deep satisfaction. One way we continue to enjoy the satisfaction of our custom home even with the changing family dynamic is the fact that we documented it. Reviewing the videos we created reminds of all the work that we did accomplish together and helps keep our relationship grounded as we bend and flex with what life brings.
We strongly recommend, especially if there are two or more beneficiaries from a project, documenting it so the joy can be shared. Even simple progress photos when you look back can bring happiness thinking about struggles and successes of that stage.
In the moment even smaller projects can feel rushed and chaotic, but if you have these memories to look back on you’ll get to have that joy forever.