Letting Go of Perfect

Several weeks ago I went to a workshop hosted by Brick & Beam and led by Jim Turner of Turner Restoration that was all about restoring old windows. Restoring the windows in our house was something that I had been interested in and this workshop gave me the courage to give it a shot. I decided to start with the window in the bathroom that we are currently renovating. This involved removing the sashes and stripping them of paint and glazing and then reglazing and painting them. I decided that since I had the window all apart I might as well strip the jambs, sills, and trim too. I realized pretty early into this project that it was going to be a lesson in accepting the imperfect.

I learned pretty quickly that sometimes perfect is just not worth it. Yes, it would have been nice to strip everything down to bare wood to prime and repaint it from there. This would have given me crisp, clean edges once I was finished. It was just not, however, worth the time and effort that would  have been required. I opted instead to only remove the paint that was damaged and coming off, saving myself hours. Once everything is sanded level it is hard to tell the difference anyway.

I learned that sometimes perfect just isn’t even possible. When it comes to glazing I just do not have the experience needed to get a nice, clean, perfectly smooth line. I am sure that once I have done it a few times my technique will improve, but, until then I will just have to be okay with a few lumps and squiggles in my work.

window glazing

You can check out my less than perfect glazing here. Corners are hard.

Lastly, I learned that sometimes you just make mistakes. Whether it be an accidental gouging into the wood with the scraper, or sanding a little too much off of an edge I have definitely made my share of mistakes on this project. Instead of beating myself up over it I have learned to just let it go and take comfort in the fact that it gives the windows “character.”

Learning to accept less than perfect has been a lesson in being easy on myself too. It is easy to get frustrated if I am expecting too much from myself. Letting go and not sweating the small stuff not only keeps me on task but keeps me sane. Besides, if perfect was that important to me I probably shouldn’t have gotten a 90 year old home.

Oh, check out this little surprise I found when I was stripping the sill!


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