Help Me Cheaply Renovate My Wife out of My House

Basically - My wife of 17 years has recently disclosed a secret which basically makes my marriage impossible due to me being the wrong gender, and I never have been.. I'm sure you get the gist of what went down, and it's basically a bad situation mentally.

I've agreed to buy her share of the house off her, at great expense in this current market.

What I want to do is go from the back fence to the front door and make the house 'mine', and equally somewhere welcoming for my kids.

I'm quite good at DIY, but I'm needing cost effective ideas of how to 'cleanse' the house.

So far I've thought I'd like to:
Create a garden
Recarpet and paint the bathrooms
Redo the bathrooms ("paint" the tiles, put in new vanity, toilet and mirror)
Tile a splashback in the kitchen
Replace the light switches with smart switches
Replace the front door
Create a garage workshop

I'm guess I'm after some 'hacks' people have done to make big differences on a budget. Time and effort isn't an issue, as I'll sadly only have my kids 50% soon, so I'll need projects :(

EDIT:

Thanks for the replies so far, it's a great idea about involving the kids! To give a complete picture.. we are amicable, and are working towards a financial settlement. So we're trying to provide the best we can for the kids - but I'm making this space about me and the kids. It's about moving on, in my space :) I need ideas for cheapy/simple reno's in that regard.

Comments

        • +2

          You may have posted a brain teaser for some folk here ;)

          Anyways, all the best and hopefully your reno can distract you from this situation.

            • +14

              @jonathan111: What’s the go with all the men who cheat on their wife, go to sex workers, have sex with men etc. Is that a perimenopause thing too? What about all the men who’ve done the same and regretted it? Wild hormonal carousel?

              • +2

                @morse: No that's just being a normal male

              • @morse: so sorry to hear your husband did that

                • +7

                  @jonathan111: 🤣 he didn’t, my point is that both men and women do these kind of things.

                  If jonathan111’s wife is on OzB send me a DM if you need help.

                  • -12

                    @morse: So your point is 50/50. I divorced her. She was feminist, bpd and as I described above. It was very costly and destructive for me and my kids and our future generations. When I met her she was a catholic nun. But she turned out to be Satan. Her money was hers, my parents and I helped her by looking after our kids and doing housework and giving her time as she wanted to gain phd and pursue her career like a feminist. Now she earns more than me, even though I was turning into a powerhouse earner, whilst giving up my trades role cause of overtime for a 8hr managerial role so I could be home for the family, i still rose in my earning potential, but she destroyed everything. But I chose to invest my time into my kids, am not going to claim child support. I was at home for 3 years self financed, iving off 15k per year, centrelink never helped me cause I was a man, I had a new born baby to look after and a 7yr old. Claiming child support is a female thing. I think many women put their career before their children and before their husband. Many women want to be like men and are not attractive and by earning more, they think they are better and want someone with higher credentials and in turn in becoming manly they loose their feminine side and attraction for many men.

                    I think more women are promiscuous than men who go to prostitutes.

                    When I was in school prostitutes who stood on the street corner dressed less provocatively than most women, mothers and daughters today.

          • +1

            @SF3: I still don't understand what a Ross situation is. :X

  • +5

    I'd sell the house and start fresh.

    I don't know your financial situation, but I'd even consider banking the money from selling the house and renting for a year.

  • +2

    Strip LEDs can really change the feel of a place.

    Then there's things like cubby houses purely for the kids. I have a nephew who is really into space, and I was thinking recently how much fun he'd have in a spaceship designed cubby house with accompanying lights/noises. Nobody seems to be selling such things, but you can find plans online

    • Strip LEDs are a great idea. For the cupboards and cabinets… thank you!

  • +4

    Instead of re carpeting the bedrooms, consider a floating timber floor eg bamboo or similar good quality. This will completely change the look and feel of the place. You can lay the floor yourself. Look out for bargains on FB marketplace/ gumtree and/or call around places to see if they have enough m2 of run out stock to match your needs.

    • This is a fantastic idea.. I've had a look at options, and some 'pinterest' photos - you can make some great looking spaces with floating timber floors. I hadn't considered it in earnest before, thank you!

    • +1

      Second this, I've never done it myself but a friend of mine bought her first house and redid the entry and front lounge with a floating floor. The tradie quotes were pretty high so they looked up how to do it themselves and used a Youtube tutorial. It looks great and was apparently pretty easy! They got everything they needed from Bunnings.

      It was tiles and carpet before and the timber changes the whole vibe and feel of the house.

  • +2

    Repaint throughout. Only cost is for paint and brushes etc, you can do a room at a time to spread the cost, it's great therapy, and at the end of it you'll have a house which is completely to your tastes.

    • +1

      I did think of this, but with Logical's comment above - I think I could transform the sleeping spaces into something great with a lighter paint job and the right flooring. Thanks for commenting and giving me the additional help!

  • +2

    Paint everything black, grey or white. Replace all fittings with brushed chrome or timber. No femininity there.

  • +1

    Probably worth thinking about what happens if 6 months later she says she was confused, made a mistake and wishes to come back, let's do it for the kids etc.

    If you could see yourself taking her back, maybe don't spend too much upfront. Could you maybe pay her out in instalments to give her some time to find the grass might not be greener?

    • +12

      Thanks for the advice. I see a psychologist (another tip for anyone going through this… get one - or your mind may melt) and trust me when I say even if she did turn around in 6/12/18/24 months and 'came back' - she has set our past memories on fire, blew up the bridge and has walked down the road looking for something else.

      I do in a small way believe you might be right, but some things said - can never be taken back :)

  • +4

    Hey mate, why don't you pause for a while and do nothing?

    You might meet someone later, who will want to embark on that journey with you.

    You also want to do sth holistic, not in uncoordinated bits and pieces otherwise you risk detracting value. So maybe work with an architect/interior designer to plan things out first before you embark on anything.

    • Cheers, that's good advice. I certainly don't want to turn it into a house missing walls and windows with electrical wires hanging from the roof :D

      I'll start small… front door, blinds, paint, splashback, garden. Definitely nothing major in the first 6 months or so.

  • +3

    I recently painted tiles, I used the Dulux renovator range.

    Beware painting tiles! All of the Dulux documentation days you don't need to prime, but I called them with an issue after of put on the base coat and they told me I should have primed beforehand 😑 I was using tape on them a week later to mask while I was siliconing and when I removed the tape a good chunk of paint came off. The shower was out of action for about a month due to the repaint.

    Learn from my mistakes, clean very well and prime.

    Mines come up okay now but I don't trust that it'll look any good in a few years

    • I'm seriously glad you told me this! I've been looking into this alot, and a friend recently told me a similiar story. I haven't pressed them to find out the brand yet.

      I might do some testing and investigating first after your first hand experience and my friends!

  • +4

    Unironically smoke out the bad energy with sage or Palo Santo.

    • Well, seriously, anything I can do to rid myself of negative energies.. I'm all for.

  • +2

    To give a complete picture.. we are amicable, and are working towards a financial settlement. So we're trying to provide the best we can for the kids - but I'm making this space about me and the kids. It's about moving on, in my space :) I need ideas for cheapy/simple reno's in that regard.

    Don't have anything to say re. the renovations, but I'm really glad for you that you're amicable and that you've put the interests of your kids first. That's really fantastic - we can't always choose who we love and who we want to spend the rest of our lives with, but we can choose to be decent, respectful people, putting kids' interests first.

    You'd be surprised, but there are people I know who have completely blown up their families, become embroiled in complex court cases, made their childrens' lives a misery all over some stupid amount of money like $100K, not to downplay that amount of money, but invariably they all burn it on stupid purchases within a few years anyway.

  • +7

    Treat Facebook market place like an exchange service. Just buy furniture from there and sell your existing stuff. Probably won't cost a lot but will mean all your furniture is new to you!

    • That's a good idea.. I didn't think of it like that. I could 'exchange' (sell/buy) and that'd be a really cheap way to get something 'new'. Thank you!

  • +11

    This thread is really wholesome, I hope that the community here has made you feel a lot better about everything, I can't imagine how you feel right now. I'm not much of a reno's person, but I wanted to say that we're here for ya

    • +2

      Thanks mate, appreciate the post

  • +1

    I am terribly sorry for your situation, mate. I hope that you will come out of it alright. Just look after yourself and the kids as it's easy to forget about that in extraordinarily painful situations like this.

  • +2

    On another note, how are you deciding the 'fair market value' of the house? Are you getting an independent valuer in?

    • Real estate agents.. they're free and if you get a few, then compare them to RPData.. you'll get a decent idea.

      • +3

        I suggest you get a couple of independent vaulers in. They'll give you a fairer and independent valuation. Couple hundred to avoid paying tens of thousands more for your half. Real estate agents are free for a reason (they don't have your best interest at heart). They'll usually over quote to convince you to sell.

        • hmmm on the other side of the real estate agent, i think they wouldn't want to over value too much, they are after fast sale to do as little a work as possible. Get their commission and split.

          I reckon every agent would prefer to sell in a week or two then spend months doing constant opens, advertising, numerous phone calls etc.

  • +3

    Don't spend a dime until everything has been settled.

    Alternatively to get your 'own' space consider selling, split the proceeds 50/50 and buy your own place.

    • +1

      Very expensive. Over time OP will make it theirs.

    • Thanks for the reply.. To be honest, the house is in a brilliant location for kids.. down the road (near the lake) - houses are going for millions. I feel comfortable being able to make enough changes to make it mine and the kids :)

  • +6

    See if friends are willing to help you. My mate bought a place recently and I helped him renovate. Mainly just painting and garden work.

    We were only able to work on the place one day a week, so it took some weeks, but I enjoyed it. From there it gave me thr motivation to paint my place.

    If you're in Sydney and need some help, I'll be happy to. Once lock down is over of course.

    I hope everything works out well for you 👍

    • Thanks mate! That's very kind. I've had a few mates volunteer.. I suspect so they can go to bunnings and buy some power tools, and use me as an excuse when they're wives ask why they need the tools :)

  • +1

    What do you mean by 'cleanse'?

    I'm quite good at DIY, but I'm needing cost effective ideas of how to 'cleanse' the house.

    Edit: nevermind, saw the edit in the OP.

    Good luck, mate. Hopefully new and good things come from it.

  • +1

    I had a lot of fun in lockdown last year (Melbourne) walking around the house and making a list of things that annoyed me, then finding ways to fix it. E.g. we had some bottles of olive oil etc on the windowsill in the kitchen, blocking light, so I put up a nice stainless shelf just for them. Another E.g., we needed somewhere near the door to keep keys and masks so I put up some tasteful hooks. Last e.g. mounting the TV on the wall completely changed the lounge room.

    Just suggesting as something different but still small as the rest of the contributors in this thread have you covered on the basics.

    All the best mate, don't forget to take time out for you. You can't be the dad your kids needs if you aren't taking care of yourself. Coming from experience as the child in a situation similar to this.

    • Thanks mate.. appreciate the tips - funny enough, I don't have anywhere to put my keys.. so thats a great idea! And thanks for the advice too… :)

  • +3

    Painting the whole house will make huge difference.

    One tip I can make, is pay the $250 or whatever and get a colour consultant in to assist with the colour scheme.

    I'm not one to waste money, but I think it's money well spent.

    Anyway, just like George Costanza, after you, there's no better man out there, so your wife had to switch sides.

    • Ha! I love it!!!

  • Consider posting your story to Strong Successful Male on Youtube. It will help other men going through the same shock as you have.

    • I didn't know about this at all, so I'll take a look and watch a few videos too. Thanks for that.

  • +2

    'somewhere welcoming for my kids. I'm quite good at DIY, but I'm needing cost effective ideas'

    OK - here's my thoughts - I've spent 5 years with childcare so have some observations about what kids enjoy.

    They don't care about shiny new - they care about feelings and experiences and time with friends and loved ones.

    If you let them choose the colours and get them to paint their rooms (water-based!)

    then even if it looks terrible to you - crazy pink !?!? - they'll tend to feel proud that they did it themselves.

    if they have friends in the neighbourhood you could invite over to make a paint party,

    that could be a lifetime memory bonding experience for your kids and their friends

    who would then go home and tell their parents - 'gee Mary's father let her paint the room - what's wrong with you guys ?'

    don't recarpet except out of necessity - consider that a write-off in the fun experience - I'm a DIY guy - I just rent a Britex carpet (hot water/detergent spray/vacuum) cleaner every 6-12 months, go over bad spots several times (which professionals won't do - they gotta be outta there in 45 minutes) - and even twice within 24 hours before returning the hire equipment - and you've got freshly cleaned carpets for another while.

    further thought - if you want to further bond with your kids parents - invite them to a BBQ with the paint party - so not only do all the kids have a great time, but you bond with their parents, who will also consolidate your support from the community in future - especially when - you know - single guy alone is otherwise seen as a risk

    • +1

      That's great advice all around - thank you.. and I really like the idea of letting the kids paint their room.. It's only paint afterall.

  • You can shuffle furniture around.

  • -2

    Basically - My wife of 17 years has recently disclosed a secret which basically makes my marriage impossible due to me being the wrong gender, and I never have been.. I'm sure you get the gist of what went down, and it's basically a bad situation mentally.

    Okay your wife is queer?

    • -1

      Due to that strange wording I genuinely thought one of them came out as gay, and I got negged the f out. Lol

      • +1

        That is what happened.

  • +4

    MY advice is don't lift a god damned finger until the property settlement is complete.

    • To be fair, I am picking up the dog poo from the backyard.. but that's about it for anything for the moment (except for keeping the house running)

  • +4

    Change the locks. Get a security camera.
    If she (and her new partner/friends) behave then no harm done.
    If something goes missing then you wont need to blame her (or her new partner/friends).
    If it goes downhill you and your kids are better protected.

    • Funnily enough, I have security cameras but I turned them off. Thankfully we're still friendly and I can't see that happening (maybe i'm naïve!)

      • +3

        Turn them on. Record everything.

      • +1

        Did you see the other thing happening?

        Its not a matter of trust more like boundaries.

  • It isn't your fault so what is done is done. Nothing needs changing. Just a flick of the mind. People do that kind of stuff. I have learned to ignore it, even from the other half.

    Unless whatever they have left behind is really impractical otherwise just relax and live happy to not see them so much. At least they are out. For some people they are living a life sentence.

  • -3

    Plenty of people remain happily married in this situation and in love. It can be better for the kids too.

    • Thanks for your reply. Let's not go into this side of the conversation, we've jointly made a decision which we believe will be better for the kids.

      • That’s good. It was more a contribution to the thread than a response to your post. it’s not the only response to the situation. Decisions are for couples alone, friends and colleagues don’t know all the facts and feelings and can bring their own agendas into advice.

  • +2

    I'm guessing you're in your 40's? Start working out and get back in the dating scene, plenty of fish in the sea!

    • Good guess :-) Thanks for the encouragement - I've been going to the gym regularly except for bloody COVID. I'm super nervous about how many fish are actually out there!

      I'll find out one day :)

  • +2

    Damn, she literally (profanity) the wrong dude.

    Joke aside, Stay strong bro. And get jacked and find yourself a most suitable partner for life.

    Life is too short for toxic things.

    • Thanks for the encouragement, it means alot

  • +1

    Home theatre and games room
    You will love it …the kids will love it
    Make sure your tv is bigger
    82 inch should do it
    https://www.ozbargain.com.au/node/637307

    • I do have a 75inch HiSense.. But I do have a master bedroom that needs redecorating…………………… with an 82inch tv :)

  • Change the floors to a different material, e.g. timber floors. Assuming it's currently carpet.

    I hope all things work out mate, especially for the kids. How old are the kids? Maybe a jungle gym in the back or a hobby they are interested in?

    You're a trooper!

    • +1

      Thanks for the kind words… It is carpet.. a very rubbish one too. I've downloaded a few of the apps that show you what the floor could look like.. I'm going to look into some samples when the dust settles.

      Kids are both under 6, I've been thinking of something for them that I can make myself in the backyard for summer time like a climbing wall etc.

  • +1

    I'm very sorry, this sucks. If you need to chat, send me a PM.

    Don't spend too much money, but do what you need to do to cope and keep going.

    Paint walls and replace linen, pillows, cushions etc. anything to might smell like her?

    • +1

      Thanks mate - appreciate the offer too. I'm keeping the budget low, because I want to pay off the loan ASAP.

      You know what - you are spot on with the 'smell'.. It sounds super weird, but you don't realise that it's a major trigger, even just walking into a room and smelling old perfume etc.

      • +1

        Just remember to look after yourself, no one else will.

        The smell was a big deal. And soon you will dislike the smell if you randomly cop a wiff of it.

      • +1

        Also remember you don't need to rush into Tinder etc. Try to enjoy being alone and seeing friends and family.

        After that many years you'll need to enjoy your own company. So keep busy with your own fun or just play games, books, movies etc.

  • Put up a bunch of pictures and paintings, ensuring your wife is in none.

    It's a sucky situation, particularly as you have kids. But look on the bright side you can be a single guy again and it's not all bad. Go dating women, get on Tinder, go to some bars, go on a tour, have more freedom etc.. the excitement in a relationship probably isn't overly strong for most people after 17 years anyway so maybe you can recapture some excitement in your life despite the fact this situation wasn't your choice.

    • This is top of my list too, I'm keen on photography - so I've been planning places for panoramas and pics of the kids. That's will be my main game changer i think..

      Far out, you know - I'm scared and excited at the same time. Like all of this, I think I'm just going to have to take a leap of faith in the future and get on Tinder and cruise the bars… It's not in my nature, but I've truly learnt that it really doesn't matter in the end - shit happens and you may as well try to do things that make you a bit uncomfortable.

      • +1

        I think that taking a leap of faith is all you can do, and just trust that everything will be ok in the end.

        One bit of advice that you probably already know is to break down these big leaps into very small steps. Looking at the situation as a big picture can give you anxiety, but it's much easier to see a path when you are working to small incremental goals.

        Best of luck to you, such a painful situation, but my hope for you is that you'll one day look back and be happy about where life eventually took you.

      • +1

        i'm loving your adventurous attitude but seriously: avoid Tinder. I've seen far too many friends become miserable from it. Try Bumble instead

      • Fair enough you're anxious about it after so long with one person, maybe go to a strip club just to get your confidence up with other women. Adopt a new YOLO attitude.

  • +1

    You need a playstation 5

    All the best. You seem like a good man.

    • Thank you for the well wishes. I was thinking of a PS5 for the kids :-) But it won't go astray for me either ;-)

    • +1

      She's not in the thread, only OP who it has affected negatively because she didn't do it before marrying him. Yes it's good to be yourself, but I don't think there's a lot to celebrate here because of the timing and the family situation.

      Frankly I think OPs wife is selfish. Not many people are getting what they want sexually after 17 years but in many cases stay together for kids.

      • If it's something they genuinely didn't understand about themselves then it's hardly selfish. Plenty of people don't realise until middle age.

  • +2

    Condolences man, that's rough on a whole other level!
    1st advice: legally formalise everything
    2nd advice: don't delay or get lazy with legally formalising everything
    3rd advice: Stick-on tiles! They're cheap, quick and you wont be able to tell the difference.

    https://tictactiles.com.au/

  • +3

    I've agreed to buy her share of the house off her, at great expense in this current market.

    What I want to do is go from the back fence to the front door and make the house 'mine', and equally somewhere welcoming for my kids.

    Make improvements after you have purchased the house.

    If you make them now and they increase the value you will be buying you work and paying for the increased value you have created.

    • Thanks for the comment, I agree completely.. I'm starting to get excited by looking up all the suggestions people are coming up with :) But that's why I created this thread!

  • +1

    Yikes mate!

    I'm halfway through using Screen Up from Bunnings to change a bunch of old boring lattice etc around the house for some modern looks. depending on the slats you use it can be quite cheap. Im using pre oiled Merbau that is a bit more exie.

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