There’s nothing like the love between a power couple tackling a remodel together. Breaking down walls, re-building walls, DIY’ing furniture, painting everything imaginable – there’s no limit to the tasks this bond can tackle. Though, as you can imagine, living in each other’s dusty renovation pockets can come with its shortcomings.
Skip ahead to:
London, UK 📍
Rochelle and Angus 👫
Rochelle tells us, “it was the summer of 2016. I swiped right. Angus swiped right. He agreed to go on a date even though our first communication involved me making a cringe joke about an ‘Angus Burger.'”
Finding the flat 🏠
"This was the first, and only, property we viewed on our journey to buying. Angus spotted it on Right Move after doing our mortgage in principle, and it ticked all of our essential boxes, whilst just about being in our budget. So we thought, f*** it. We knew from photos she was a doer-upper, though upon viewing we quickly realized why there were no images of the kitchen.
Aside from the cereal crumbs garnishing the countertops; the broken window clinging on for dear life; not to mention the rich scent of decay – we actually got 'the feeling'. The large window flooded the living room with natural light, even with ⅓ of it boarded up! There was a rip in the carpet and peeping through was the most glorious view – beautiful untouched floorboards. Coupled with a modest little balcony, it had all the bones of a home that we were hoping for.
Almost a year later, with most of the boring but very important jobs done, we’re leaning towards a bold and colorful, modern home, alongside 70s inspired touches as a nod to the era of our flat."
Starting the reno' 🔨
"When we first started the renovation, we both were loving doing it all ourselves and felt an overwhelming sense of pride. After a few months in, the novelty wore off a bit and there would be moments where you’d be staring at a wall, that no amount of filler makes a difference to, and begin to feel all hope slipping away."
Like yin and yang ☯
"I definitely adopt the role of project manager and interior designer, with a side of handywoman. If something needs doing with brute force and impatience, then Angus is your man. Though, he did come through on the plumbing, and being the son of an electrician means he knows his way around a socket. Angus’ technical mind is the yin, to my ‘can’t be bothered to research the most efficient white goods’ yang."
On-site bust up 🗯
“The most notable bust up is when we were installing the wall vinyl in the kitchen. Angus had no experience applying vinyl, and I had no patience to articulate myself in a manner that would help explain what I needed from him. The result was me up a ladder tussling with vinyl, whilst Angus stood below heckling that he thought it was looking really bad.
After a cigarette break for Angus, and snack for me, we reconciled and just about managed to piece it all together – the vinyl and our relationship that is.”
Making time for each other ⏳
“We’ve been making a conscious effort to actually get out of the flat. Recently, that’s taken the form of filling a flask with some Nescafé, and taking a stroll around the nearest Royal Park. Maybe sit near a pond where I can squeal at every sweet dog that walks by. It sounds really basic, but we are literally different people when we get back home.
Then we sit with some sort of tipple and chat about everything and nothing, whilst intermittently reminding Angus to get off his phone. The evening usually ends with us watching Celine Dion’s live cover of Alone for the 100th time.”
The best project so far 🥇
"We've absolutely most proud of our kitchen. We did everything ourselves, including plumbing and electrical elements. We were always relatively confident with the decorating aspects of a reno, but this actually had to be functioning and effectively built to last. Looking back at what we started with, even though there are still areas to finish, it is an unrecognizable space. It’s been the biggest chore, but the greatest reward so far."
Ontario, CA 📍
Joon and Josh 💑
Joon tells us, “we are 'just friends' turned lovers! We met during our first year of university and got along quickly with fun banter and good conversations. Five years later, Josh mustered up the courage and risked our friendship to ask me on a date. With much hesitation, I agreed and while it took quite some time to start dating, engagement and marriage came shortly after! Our best advice is to marry your best friend. Life is just so fun together.”
Finding the one 🏡
“This is the first home we ever purchased, and given the market, we didn’t have too many options. After many rejected offers, we were about to give up until we saw this house. It was a worn out, old home, but we saw the potential.
We envisioned an open concept design, a functional kitchen and a little breakfast nook. Our goal has always been to create an inviting, cozy home to host and gather around good food. We also love that we’re so close to the water, we often walk to the waterfront park after dinner on a sunny day."
Falling for DIY 🔧💕
”DIY'ing our home started out as a way to save money, but we were both amazed at how we could use our hands to build and create a home we love. Our first project was removing carpet and installing laminate flooring. It took us 4 weekends to finish without any power tools, but we couldn't believe that we did it. After that, we just kept going and here we are.”
Distinct roles 👩🎨👷♂️
"We are different people and so is our approach to our home projects, and that’s what makes us a good team! Josh researches, gathers materials and creates a step by step plan, while I'm the designer, big picture planner and budgeter.
Our personalities also play a role in our approach. I'm spontaneous, enjoy taking risks and have a sense of urgency. Josh likes to be prepared, is risk averse and believes that slow and steady wins the race. Without myself, the project would never get started and without Josh, the project would never get done."
In their free time 🛒
"Thankfully, we both enjoy doing home improvement projects and we spend a lot of our free time doing just that. Date nights often look like going out for dinner and stopping by Home Depot on our way home. Outside of home renovations, we love to cook together, host dinner parties, and travel."
The bathroom struggle 🛁
"Our most challenging project was our bathroom remodel, mainly because we were remodeling the only bathroom in our home with a shower. This meant we couldn’t shower at home the whole time. This added pressure made it a very stressful experience. It took us an entire month to finish. We got a trial gym membership just to shower and would drive 30 min to shower at a family member’s house! We said we’d never remodel a bathroom again, but we probably will."
Renovating ‘loves’ & ‘loathes’
Renovating as a couple seems like a rollercoaster of emotions. We asked both couples what they love about tackling home projects as a duo, and equally as much, what they loathe.
- “One of the things we do love about doing this together is that we never have to be polite like you would with a tradesperson. There’s no tip-toeing around issues, it’s a blunt environment and that’s a real time-saver.” — Rochelle & Angus
- “We love the fact that we’re building our first home together. It can get overshadowed with all the stress that comes with it, but in moments of reflection, you remember how incredible it is. Lastly, and most importantly, is sitting down together after finishing a job with a can of Stella – she’s been good to us.” — Rochelle & Angus
- “We actually have very different hobbies and interests, so we love that home renovations and DIY projects have become our shared activity! Renovations can get very stressful so our rule is that only one person is allowed to be upset and the other person has to bring up the mood.” — Joon & Josh
- “We love spending time together, coming up with new ideas and creative solutions, and seeing our vision come to life.” — Joon & Josh
- "To watch Angus wielding a multi tool. It’s too anxiety inducing and I’m torn between leaving the room so as not to be part of it, or stay in case medical attention is needed. He obviously disagrees, and counters that with the fact that I do not keep a tidy workspace, nor do I put back any used tools (in my defense, if you stay ready, you ain’t gotsta get ready)." — Rochelle & Angus
- "When all your conversations revolve around how to fix things for a cheap price, it gets a bit tiresome." — Rochelle & Angus
- "As much as we love it, we also loathe spending time together, as we have to sacrifice relaxation and projects take way longer than planned." — Joon & Josh