Partners in Grime
Illustration: Ryan Heshka


We thought we were both looking at the same house. There were the same doors, walls, and windows in front of us. We walked through the same rooms. Only after we signed the papers did we realize that two people can look at a place and have completely different notions about what they see: the scope of the renovation, what to tackle first, how much it would all cost. We stood in the same place at the same time, but our visions were rooms apart.

That’s especially problematic since we’re living in our fixer-upper, funding projects as we go, and doing much of the work ourselves. So any difference of opinion can quickly become A Very Big Deal. While not everyone may dive in as deeply as we have, no couple can avoid this universal truth: If you embark on home improvement together, you’ll eventually hit choppy seas.

Read on to see what we’ve learned from navigating some of the everyday challenges a renovation can dish out.
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