A look into one of our full gut projects – Klein House
Since I’m just now getting started with this blog, I have so many post ideas and I had such a hard time choosing what to talk about first! I have recently been working with a few clients who are tackling projects within their home and I have given them some tips on how to manage the process. So I thought I would compile all the tips and more so that I can share them with the masses!
Over the years, we’ve gone through many home renovations and learned the hard way what NOT to do if you want to stay sane through the process! Whether we were living in the home while redoing our one and only bathroom or managing a rental makeover 20 miles away, we’ve come to live by these 6 P’s: PRIOR PREPARATION PREVENTS PISS POOR PERFORMANCE. I think this little alliteration was something I learned in school and it definitely stuck with me!
I compiled the following list in somewhat of a chronological order so you can follow them as your project kicks off!
This truly could be a blog post of its own! I can’t stress enough how important it is to understand what you’re getting yourself into – emotionally, mentally, physically, and monetarily. Now that might sound like such an inflated statement if all you’re doing is painting your guest room or tackling another small project, but no matter the size of the project you can never be too prepared!
If your project is on the larger side, think kitchen or bathroom makeover, inevitably your patience will be tested! You will have to make decisions on the fly. Your contractors will be overly optimistic and then let you down. You will probably go over budget. Maybe the vanity you’ve waited months for will show up dented! *WOMP WOMP*
Not only should you mentally prepare for the inevitable misstep, you should also imagine the exciting end product! It’s important to establish your WHY for any upcoming project and remind yourself many times of your WHY during the process. Are you redoing your guest bath before family comes to stay for the holidays? Imagine the relief you will feel when your guests are able to see and use your new and improved bathroom! Remind yourself of some scenario like this often to get you to the finish line!
In your preparation phase, you will want to decide whether to live through the renovation or to move out until your project is complete. This will definitely depend on the size of your project but it can be a hard decision to make for some people. A few major factors might play into your decision. What is the project timeline length? Do you work from home? Is anyone in your family sensitive to strong smells or dust particles in the air? The list of factors will be different for everyone as everyone’s tolerance levels for this type of thing differ, but be sure you and your family(if applicable) are on the same page and have considered any major factors that apply!
If you’re working with a contractor, you’ll want to do this step with him or her present as well. You will want to make a game plan where you lay out each step of the process to your best ability and set an aspirational and somewhat achievable timeline for each steps. Can any of your trades overlap? Is your electrician’s availability 4 weeks out but you want him to start next Monday? Below is an example of what a basic kitchen remodel timeline may look like!
It’s a good idea to empty out your space as much as possible so that you don’t get paint/dust/etc on your belongings! This is also a great time to go through your belongings and give away the things that aren’t ~sparking joy~ anymore Marie Kondo style! This way when you are ready to move everything back in, it feels fresh and intentional without the unnecessary clutter. If you’re doing a kitchen remodel, you may want to be more strategic about what you stow away and where you put it. If you want to be able to access your utensils and plates still, you may opt to put those items in an easy to find location.
This step is uber important especially if you are going to be living in the home where your project is taking place. It’s easy to say “oh it probably won’t be that messy, we can clean it up afterwards”. The more tradespeople will be coming in and out of your house the more out-of-your-hands the mess will get. I would recommend buying this plastic dust barrier to adhere it over any doorways you have into the space. And be diligent in making sure the space stays covered unless someone is entering or exiting the space! Additionally, you will want to create a path from the front/back door (or wherever your contractors will be entering the home) to the construction zone. You could apply this plastic covering over carpet. For all other surfaces, our favorite floor covering is Ram Board and although it’s a little pricey, the coverage it gives is well worth it!
Whether you know your neighbors well or not, it is always a good idea to inform them of any large projects you will have going on at your house for many reasons including: not being caught off guard when they see contractors coming and going from your home, being warned that loud noises will likely be made during working hours, and being aware that more trucks than normal will possibly be parked in the street during the day! Keeping your neighbors informed isn’t necessary by any means, but it’s definitely a courtesy that they will appreciate especially for longer term projects.
Last but NOT least!! Remember to take before photos! When your project is over and you are ready to enjoy your new and improved space, it is great to see how far you’ve come! This easy step is so easy to forget, but you’ll never regret having the photos to show where you started and remind yourself how hard you worked!
Before photo from our Linwood House
The remodeling process can be a fun and rewarding process if you put in the work early on to help everything run smoothly. If you follow the steps above, you will be setting yourself up for success in more ways than one! One more piece of advice I would give you is to ENJOY THE RIDE. Start your journey with a good attitude, a team you trust, and always remember your WHY! What project do you want to take on next??