The Curse of being Retentive


The word perfectionist is not one I’m comfortable using, mainly because it’s very subjective and doesn’t even really describe me. Certainly not when it comes to any other aspect of my life than being a home-owner. So imagine my surprise when finding ourselves with keys to a house – our house – back in 2014, a previously unseen demonic side of me has emerged and there’s no doubt that if Pete had to describe my attitude to renovating our home, he would use the phrase “anally-retentive”.

I take it in good faith and happily joke about it but at the same time it drives me crazy. Every little crack, lumps and bumps in the wall, tiny imperfections in door frames that no-one would even see apart from me which makes me want to replace the frames, replaster the walls and wish we had a blank canvas. Don’t get me wrong, there was never any question of not owing a period home and my dream would have been a Victorian house but they’re so expensive. So we compromised with a 1930’s house which I just adore but it’s been unloved for so long and my retentiveness is not helping us make swift progress in restoring it.

Our staircase is a classic example. To most people it would have looked just fine as it was – inoffensive, white gloss paint. Not damaged, characterful. To me it was ugly, dated and in need of some TLC. So back in 2014 we started a very painstaking restoration project, stripping the paint to reveal the bare spindles and bannisters with a plan to then sand and stain or sand and paint. And nearly two years after we started, we’re still going and nowhere near the finish line. I wonder why I started because at the end of the day no-one else will ever walk into our home and be wowed by our staircase. But maybe it’s just enough that I will be, that to me, in the end, it will look perfect.



In other cases we’ve won – the company who replaced our windows at the front ended up not only providing the best service and detail but were also miles cheaper than the other quotes. The knowledge of little details like the fact that the window sill in our bay window in the living room is lower than a standard and therefore the glass in the windows needed to be toughened, or that in any habitable room, the windows must be able to open fully to allow people to escape in case of fire…I could have listened to the window expert talk all day. Finally, someone who understood my need to have it just so.

Old windows

new windows

Flooring is definitely an area where we’re losing though, largely because as the floors are being replaced bit by bit, it means the skirting has to come off to accommodate whatever we choose to lay because I won’t have any beading. We’re not fans of carpets and will eventually be a carpet free home apart from on the staircase and landing, it’s simply not practical or hygenic with pets. So we’ll be paying out for a lot of new skirting and spending a lot of time swearing as we wrestle with getting the existing skirting off.  It will be worth it in the end but there are definitely times where I wish it was less attention to detail and more sitting back with a G&T!

Are you obsessive when it comes to the smaller details or are you happy to make do? 
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  1. March 16, 2016 / 1:44 pm

    I think I could with being a bit more retentive about my home, to be honest. It’s full of lumps, bumps and imperfections. These annoy me but I never end up doing much about them (usually because it would mean taking off skirting boards – ha ha!).

  2. March 17, 2016 / 1:05 am

    I’m weird. I could care less if paint is peeling or everything is dusty, but if there is a book or DVD not in its proper, organized spot I freak out

    • Lins
      March 28, 2016 / 8:36 pm

      That made me chuckle, isn’t it funny how our mild OCD comes out? Some things definitely bother me much more than others. Thank you for stopping by!

  3. March 17, 2016 / 3:29 am

    I couldn’t agree with you more Lins! There’s no point in doing things of you’re not going to do them properly / to a standard that you’ll be happy with.
    It took forever to finish our staircase, but it looks so much better than if we’d just painted over it.
    If only everything could run as smoothly as your windows!

  4. March 20, 2016 / 10:27 pm

    I’m a little bit the same. I try to live with things not being ‘just so’ but then I wake up in the middle of the night cross with myself for not putting that little bit more effort in to get a perfect result. I know now to take my time and do things well rather than rush them and be a bit meh about the end result.

    • Lins
      March 20, 2016 / 11:19 pm

      This is definitely what I’ve realised too – as painful and tedious as it is to have to wait for things, it’s worth it to get the better finish in the end Xx

  5. mummyofboygirltwins
    March 22, 2016 / 11:26 am

    I am EXACTLY the same. I see the ‘thing’ whenever I walk past it and it drives me insane. I think that’s why I feel so happy and am SO in love with this new build, it’s so perfect and I love how new it looks. But there is no better feeling than completing a DIY job and that sense of satisfaction!!!!!! 😉 xx Thanks for linking up lovely, much appreciated! Jess xxx


    • Lins
      March 28, 2016 / 8:03 pm

      It must be bliss to live in a house where you know you’re the first ones to own it and that there are no dodgy issues, a clean slate for you to make your mark on. So idyllic. I hope one day this house will look like “new” as much as it can 🙂 Xx

  6. March 22, 2016 / 10:34 pm

    Yes — this is me. Although at the moment I’ve had to swallow my annoyances as we just don’t have the cash — or the time — to do the things that need to be done. Weirdly, we had some friends for lunch on the weekend and it was the first time that they’d been here. I flew about, pointing out all the things that I hated — or that need replacing — and she just said, ‘you’re the only one that can see those things. I bet everyone else who comes here thinks how charming your house is’!! And I think she’s probably right!! No one else looks that closely do they?!! 😉 Hope to see you tomorrow from 6am on #HomeEtc

    • Lins
      March 28, 2016 / 8:02 pm

      Isn’t this the truth? Whenever people come over apart from all the obvious things like walls that are bare plaster they always tell us how fortunate we are to have a house and don’t notice cracks in the skirting or the disintegrating walls in the cupboards. Too fussy by half Xx

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