As we continue with our series on “Building from a Distance”, one thought that comes to mind immediately is that the build process somewhat resembles a roller coaster ride – especially when it comes to all the choices and decisions you will have to make. There are times where it’s simply a case of up, down and around and then, if you are courageous by nature and are attracted to some of the world’s largest roller coasters like Kingda Ka at Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, New Jersey, you could find yourself being subjected to shifts from vertical to horizontal positioning within milliseconds, then doing tilts and drops, 180 degree turns and a feeling that all control you thought you had has been transformed into a sense of nausea and paranoia. Whilst this is an extreme comparison, there are moments through a build when you either feel like you’re on the roller-coaster or wish you were just to avoid the decisions you have to make.
Everyone says that the fun part of a build is choosing all the different fixtures and fittings you require, which is all good and well until you start the process. You suddenly find that you are being hit with so many choices and options that you imagine yourself a ball juggler in a circus and hope you can manage them all without running away from what seems like endless balls being thrown at you. Even the most hardened, professional shoppers will take a step back and so they should. The only way to avoid feeling like you are drinking from a fire hydrant is to plan (there’s that word again as a constant reminder of the number 1 success factor for a build).
You have every right to ask yourself, “Who plans shopping?” Most people do not have unlimited budgets and need to balance it across so many determining factors for the desired end result. But once you start that juggling process and venture into the world of “what do I want” in difference to “what do I need”, that’s when your decisions will be governed by practicality, sensibility and that stifling word “budget”. If you are anything like us, with a champagne taste and a beer budget, that juggle becomes more of a wiggle at times when trying to convince ourselves that really good quality is a sensible choice but then “that” knockout design at double the price from across the oceans would really look great. STOP, just simply ask yourself “can the budget handle it?” For those who aren’t good at managing a budget, this could be seriously frustrating and turn you into a borderline depressive.
Who would have foreseen the potentially mind bending dilemma of deciding on something as simple and straight forward as tap mixers, bathroom accessories, sanitary ware and things called “traps’, “angle valves” and the hilariously named “Wirquin Jollyflex Extra short with fins”, which is nothing more than a section of pipe. A lot of Googling suddenly takes place in order to understand the quotes you receive and then to make comparisons between one supplier and the next. Then the fun starts – you have to start thinking about shapes, sizes, dimensions, positioning and other integral aspects when all you really want is “a bathroom with basins, a bath, a shower and taps”.
By the time you are through the first lot of options, no one could blame you for wanting to bolt out of the store in sheer frustration and confusion. One’s lung capacity does increase substantially with all the deep breathing you need to do to keep your head focused. One very quickly gets an education that could qualify you for an in-store sales position once you have gotten to grips with the “wall-hung, underslung, drop-in and countertop” style basins followed by the bath and toilet options that leave one amazed that over time some of the most basic bathroom items turned into a smorgasbord of pressure inducing decision making.
If you think that’s easy, try deciding on something like flooring. There are so many options from the sublime to the ridiculous in both look, quality and price so again, let the budget do the dictating else you may find yourself with a half-finished house, peppered with all the “but it looks good” (and expensive and imported) stuff and no windows. Once you have established your budget point for each category of purchase, try really hard not to be swayed by the “I want” voices in your head and hopefully the “I need” voices will win many of those battles – the message here is simple – allow flexibility in how you allocate your budget to permit a higher cost on some items that you absolutely MUST have versus more economical items that needn’t be at the highest spec and price point. If nothing else, you and your other half will be having numerous “conversations” at various shriek pitch levels when trying to agree on the difference between MUST and MUST NOT. And if you can’t reach consensus, ask the dog in the hope that you may find a sane point of reason in your midst.
The madness of choices never ends and extends to each and every part of the build process right down to the blessed door hinges and locks, light switches and door handles, interior and exterior light fittings and you often wonder if it will ever end so that you can focus on other aspects of your life. Well, the good news it does, eventually, and the trick is to just take time out every so often, recalibrate your thought processes and then continue on a path of self-induced mental muddle until all choices are made.
A final point to remember is that just when you thought you had ticked all the boxes and could sit back and relax with a frosty in your hand, someone “in the know” (and they all know more than we do), will make a suggestion, throw in an idea and before you know it you could easily be back on that rollercoaster but this time going backwards, downhill, as the fear of having to rethink a decision already made becomes too much to comprehend and you just wish you were back on terra firma. It’s just not that cut and dried but it does remain and exciting, challenging and creative period which you will remember each time you think back on the process to create your dream.