Five Great Reasons To Pause A Project – The Little House Attic

It’s not only moving that creates new starting points. Sometimes all it takes is a subtle shift in perspective, an opening of the mind, an intentional pause and reset, or a new route to start to see new options and new possibilities. – Kristin Armstrong

I am not great at pressing “pause” on anything.  I don’t just like getting things done, I thrive on it.  The way I am wired, I think best when moving, and joy rises up when a job is finished.  However, I am learning the value of a pause.

Some years ago, we decided to stop renting one of the small houses we owned and finish it for our use when the time came to begin the restoration of Maison Steinbuchel.  Initially, we planned to spruce up the ground floor and move in.  Aside from cleaning, repainting, and redoing the bath, we replaced the HVAC with a geothermal system and thought we were ready.  Then, “it” happened:  project scope creep.

Project Creep

It’s that phenomena that occurs as you think:  “We should go ahead and…..”.  As a manager for major projects in the National Airspace System, I am well aware of this monster.  It lurks and crouches around every corner threatening timelines, budgets, and one’s sanity, at times.

However, some things arise.  In our case, it started with the realization, during the geothermal installation, that even though the electrical in the house worked, how it had evolved over the 100 years since the house was built, was an issue. Some circuits were overused and others not used at all.

Then there was the walk-up attic space.  We had intended to finish that out after moving from the big house to this one.   However, with the need to redo the electrical, we decided to include rewiring the attic in the project.  At this point, we also agreed that a second bath was in order and it would go, yep,  in the attic.


The  cascade was set in motion:

  • To do the wiring, the old insulation between the joists in the attic had to be removed
  • The insulation removal revealed a two-inch sag in the attic “floor’.  Even though there had been a subfloor and a room for a brother-in-law in the attic,  the joists were ceiling joists rather than floor joists.  Reinforcement was necessary, especially in the planned bath area.
  • Then there was the forced pause when my husband, the lead worker in all this, fell out of a tree and fractured his left heel bone.
  • Once recovered, the new subfloor leveling and installation was done.
  • At last, spray-closed cell foam was installed.

This was to get to a “push pause and move in” stage.  We made it!

Why Pause?

In all this, I am grateful for this pause.  Here are five reasons:

  1. Fatigue.  We are tired.   Not so much physically, but mentally.  A pause to enjoy, celebrate, and acknowledge how far we have come is a breath of fresh air to us and the project.
  2. Regroup.  Tidy things up.  Put tools away.  Clear out leftovers and clutter.  These will unload accumulated weight and give the space a new look.
  3. Resources.  We are cash-flowing on this project and are not out of funds, but a pause will allow us to replenish what has diminished.  We will focus on doing things that do not require cash.
  4. Retool.  Part of the tidying up involves completing another project that got laid aside:  getting the tool shed in order.  We got it up and running for this project but it now needs attention so both of us know what is where.
  5. Fresh Vision And Insight.  The vision board for the attic space is still valid.  However, now that we are closer, the vision can be made clearer for the next phase.

The Pause to Celebrate

We have come a long way renovating of this house.  It has:

  • a new roof
  • a state-of-the-art geothermal HAVC
  • old lath and plaster removed from the attic
  • a new paint job
  • a renovated main bath
  • first-floor bedroom, parlor, den, and kitchen completed
  • new or restored attic windows with historically correct thermal storms
  • new wiring throughout
  • Leveled, reinforced, and sub-floored attic joists
  • Rough plumbing for the attic bath installed
  • State of the art closed cell foam installed
  • Replaced the falling-down garage with a new shed
  • The chicken coop repurposed into a potting shed

There is more to do, but today, we pause to enjoy, give thanks and dream.

Yet, there is a greater purpose.  Along with giving us an interim place to live,  It is our practice house for the restoration of Maison Steinbuchel.  With the experience gained on this project, preparation to manage the big house, and the teams of workers involved comes.

Is there a project in your life that would benefit from a pause?  What other reasons might there be to take a pause?  Please comment  below.  Your insights add to the conversation

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I am a former air traffic controller, pilot, Aircoupe owner, married 42 years to a great guy. We live in a 125+ year old historic Victorian, enjoy cats, vintage anything, precious friends. My passion is Giving Lost Stories A Voice – Giving Found Materials Fresh Form and Purpose!

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