Balancing A Print Career With A House Renovation

As I mentioned in a previous post, at the time that I was saving for my first home I was lucky enough to be working in a half-decent job.

I’d studied graphic design in university and although I’d done this with the initial intention of setting up my own business, I soon found that there weren’t many clients who were willing to take on a freshly graduated student with no work experience and a portfolio of degree-level work. With my tail firmly between my legs, I went to the Job Centre and dutifully applied for any job that would take me.

As luck would have it, there were a number of firms in the area who were looking for junior designers, so I soon found myself put to work designing vinyl cut decals, creating branding for thoroughly dull companies and losing slyly siphoning off clients’ details to build up my own database of useful future leads. In hindsight, it was perhaps best that I’d delayed the start of my business, as the renovation of my home would prove to take up much of my spare time, when I finally got around to buying it, that is.

It took me just over 2 and a half years to get the money together to move into my new home, this move was delayed by the rising costs of ancillary matters such as solicitor’s fees and insurance for my new home. No one tells you about these added costs when you start to save; you set your budget for your home and then aim to pull together 5-10% of these costs with the hope that by the time you’ve saved it all your dream house hasn’t moved outside of your price range. After 20 months of scrimping and saving, I was finally able to put my money down and move into my first home, but I was far from done yet.

Starting, as I was, on the first step of the property ladder, I was forced to settle for a property that was certainly far from the dream home that I’d initially had in mind. Whilst my new home certainly had plenty of space, this space was far from in a finished state. My new home had been victim to a rather half-hearted renovation already and as such was left in a forlorn state of disrepair. Floors were half finished, walls had been gamely hacked at and then left to the elements. In short: it was a mess and a mess that was down to me to sort out!

The laundry list of tasks that were ahead of me was daunting to say the least, but that hadn’t stopped me from making a start. Every day I would return from work just before 6, quickly stuff a sandwich in my face and then get to work with whatever I had to do. One day it might be sanding down walls, the next day it might be pulling up floor boards. I’d work until 11pm every night and then sink into my bed for 11:30pm, before waking up at 7am to start it all over again. Naturally, weekends became dedicated to renovations, a job that would take me even more years to complete…