Monday, July 9, 2012

Remodel Mondays – 5 things to do during a home remodel

No project would be complete without a review of what went well, and what didn’t go so… smoothly. Here are my recommendations for what to do during a full-on remodel project.

1. Move out. If you possibly can, get the heck out of there. It speeds up the timeline, keeps you out of the workers’ hair, and keeps your stuff from getting covered with a thick layer of construction dust. (And no matter what you do, you can never really get rid of that dust!) We were lucky to have an “apartment” to move into, unfinished as it was.

unfinished apartment

2. Keep an eye on things. Even if you’re not living in the middle of the mess, head out there as frequently as you can. Either Farmer Doc or I (and sometimes both) were out at the construction site every day. He did walk-throughs and talked to the crew, I took photos. We found a few things that weren’t quite what we wanted, and we were able to fix them as we went, rather than being disappointed at the end of the project.

3. Find your non-negotiables. Chances are, things aren’t going to go exactly as you planned (shock!) and you’ll have to make some on-the-fly changes. Figure out early what are the things you do not want to compromise on, and make those a priority. For me, it was an under-mount sink in the kitchen, a mudroom, and a master bathroom that felt like a fancy place. For Farmer Doc, it was serious insulation, the walk-out basement, and ceiling fans in every room. We did end up compromising on granite counters in the kitchen, and I was okay with that since we did get everything that was really important to us.

walk out basement
(Yep, the yard is still a disaster. We’re working on that…)

4. Answer the phone when your contractor calls. Every time. I don’t care if you have to run out of the shower with shampoo in your eyes and a half-shaven leg. Answer that phone! He’s probably got a question for you, and if you don’t get him now you’ll be playing phone tag all day. The crew won’t work on that part of the project until their question gets answered. And one of the most important things is to maintain momentum!

5. Keep copies of everything. And swatches. And color samples. We went over some of our decisions (cabinet door style? counter finish? interior door style?) way more than once because I didn’t keep copies of our original decisions handy. Who wants to pick out cabinet doors 3 times? Not me. I don’t have time for that, and neither do the sub-contractors. Take photos, grab color and fabric swatches, get websites and item/model numbers. And for goodness sakes keep it all in one place so you can find it again later when the kitchen designer can’t remember if you picked the oak cabinets with the honey stain or the cinnamon stain. (We picked the honey. Twice.)

kitchen cabinets
We are so glad to have our wonderful house finished. Now all that’s left is to enjoy it!

This wraps up Remodel Mondays. There is still quite a bit of decorating to do (curtains, anyone?) and I’ll be sure to keep posting as that moves along. But, fair warning, it’s likely to be a slow process!

What are your home decorating projects for the summer?


  1. Congrats on surviving the process, and thanks for taking us through it with you!

  2. I'm glad you liked it. It was so much fun to share!


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