5 Ways to Survive a Home Renovation
If a friend tells you she’s renovating her home, when she finishes gushing about her new herringbone marble backsplash, expressions like “Our place is a wreck right now,” “I’m so stressed,” and “I’ve had it up to here with my contractor” may soon follow. Yes, renovations can be a major headache and they’re certainly a challenging time to be living at home. Thankfully, many have survived remodels, and so will many more.
To help you handle your reno without losing your cool, we spoke with New York–based interior designer Leslie Banker, who leads design firm Pamela Banker Associates (which was started by her late mother), and who has co-authored two decorating primers: The Pocket Decorator and The Pocket Renovator. Read on for Leslie’s tips on surviving your remodel.
“For a complete gut renovation, there’s no choice but to live somewhere else while the work goes on. For smaller renovations, if you must stay at home, be sure to seal off dust-free areas with plastic sheeting and implement strict rules banning dirty shoes in clean areas. If you are living through a kitchen renovation, set up a makeshift kitchen elsewhere in the house: A mini fridge, coffee maker, toaster oven, and hot plate should do the trick.”
“Existing floors that are not being replaced must be covered so they don’t get scratched. Carpets that are being kept need to be sealed with plastic so they don’t collect dust. Hardware, such as doorknobs, in the work zone should be carefully stored or else protected in place.”
“Assemble your design team—architect, interior designer—early in the process. Hire people you trust and like, and let them do their jobs without micromanaging. Commit to the project fully by being available to answer questions, and go on regular site visits while always keeping in mind how the best results come from great collaborations and positive team dynamics.”
“There are things you can do to help keep a project moving ahead on schedule: Do as much planning as possible before construction begins; don’t change your mind once you’ve committed to decisions; and be willing to accept a second choice if something is delayed or backordered. With shipping and customs, international orders are more likely to be delayed than domestic orders, so place those orders particularly early.”
“You’ve planned everything down to the last tack, but, as with most things in life, something unexpected often pops up. Plan to spend at least an additional 10% of the construction budget on contingencies. You can consider the money a bonus if you don’t end up needing it.”
Want to learn more about home renovating? Pick up the books below.
Any other renovation survival tips to share? Tell us how you made it work in the comments below.