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November 6, 2008

From the Publisher's Desk: Compromise is key to successful home renovation

If there is one thing I learned over the years, it is not to take on a home-improvement project with my spouse.

My husband, Kevin, and I come from distinct backgrounds. My schooling and expertise is in finance, and Kevin has worked in the construction field for more than a decade.

I have found that the two often conflict in the simplest of projects.

Roughly 10 years ago, when we were looking to buy a house, all we could afford was a fixer-upper, which I was reluctant to take on.

Kevin convinced me by saying age gave a house more character and, with his background, he could make our purchase the quaint home I envisioned. That has since seemed an insurmountable task for several reasons.

First, whether it was when we were replacing our porch, picking paint colors or deciding if the replacement windows should have grids in them, it became apparent that coming to a consensus was near impossible. Our conversation usually started out by Kevin asking what I wanted, me explaining what I had in mind, and then him replying it can’t be done.

My frustration with each discussion built and I just threw up my hands and thought, “Then why ask?” Now, since The Daily Star renovation project, I have learned more about the construction business than I wanted to know. I can now have an intelligent conversation (well, at least in terminology) on load-bearing walls, installing tile and drain pitches.

Now I know Kevin was not saying something can’t be done because he may not want to do the work. It just simply can’t be done. In case he missed it, I have now admitted he knows more than me when it comes to this topic, and I will accept that going forward.

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