Big Home Decisions: What's Holding You Back?

Big Home Decisions: What's Holding You Back?

When I went to finalize an order on a new entry door for our house, the store owner chuckled as he pulled up the estimate, saying that it hadn't quite been a year. It took me exactly fifty weeks to flip the switch on this door, which was long enough for pricing and options to change. I've made plenty of design decisions in the past—what was so hard about this front door?

Cost. Doors aren't cheap, especially once you factor in labor. Ours has a non-standard sidelight, and the custom replacement costs just as much as the door itself. After putting on a new roof last summer, I was in no rush to spend more money on the house.

Fear of getting it wrong. I never used to worry about making mistakes, probably because my whole outlook on home was different. I never spent much because as a student I never had much, and if anything wasn't working out for me I would move. Grad school in another state? I moved. Junkie roommate? Moved. Wanted a dog? Moved. Got an opportunity to live in Berlin? Yep, I moved. My life has changed and along with it my priorities; I have a family, we love our neighborhood, and we are very happy in this house. Move? No way, but the flip side of being this committed to our house is that every big decision seems to have higher stakes. Will we love it for 10 years? Longer? We have gotten it wrong a few times in this house. The master bath was painted three times before attaining its current color, and I will never say that buying custom window treatments is particularly fun, easy, or satisfying.

Indecision. This apparently is not a problem for me, as I have been set on this door for a full year.

Making corresponding decisions. The house desperately needs to be repainted, so we decided to get the door, then paint the siding several shades darker than its current color. A new door means new hardware. New house paint means new mailbox, house numbers, new exterior lighting. These are all things that we knew we would eventually change, but making those decisions in rapid succession isn't easy.

Still, I'm rediscovering the fun in this process. The old door is drafty, and it will be great to cut down on our energy use and costs. It never suited our house anyway, with high 90s oak and brass hardware on an early 60s split level. Not to get all Oprah, but with the new door, hardware, and fresh paint, I think that this house will rise up to meet us.

What holds you back from big home decisions?

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