Living in Construction is Not Easy. Be Prepared.Jan 13, 2023
There are a lot of design blogs out there giving out great information about interior design and home renovations, so what else can I add to the pool? Realness. I bring a whole lot of real to the party. I don’t feel like anyone is explaining what it’s really like to be deep in a home construction project so that's what I want to talk about today. Making daily trips to the lumber yard or showroom. Calling, scheduling, rescheduling with contractors and subcontractors. Cleaning the site, squeegeeing water out of your freshly poured basement after a storm. Having to revolve your life around when the water or electricity is being turned off. Managing a large home construction project is a full time job and trying to live in one is purely chaos. Most people are doing all of this while also working a full time job and running a full time life, except without your physical house to help support the process. You need to prepare for this.
Your house, your space, the area you spend your personal time in, greatly affects the direction of your day and subsequent life. If you don’t believe me, ask anyone living through a home construction project right now! Setting up a shanty kitchen in your basement, living off microwave and crockpot meals. It’s a camping adventure in your own home and while it can definitely be fun, as we all know, construction generally takes longer than you think and when it stops being fun, it really stops being fun.
It’s easy to get swept away by the beautiful magazine photos, only imagining the end and not planning for the journey. It’s like admiring a beautiful river, jumping in and then realizing you don’t really know how to swim. My business and this blog is about helping people understand the process you are going to go through during a home construction project and how to best get to whatever end you are aiming for.
Why are you remodeling your home? It doesn’t matter what the reason is but you need to be committed to it. This will not be easy but knowing that your life will be better in some way because of what you are doing is a great motivator and gives you something to base your decisions around.
For example, my goal for our current remodel and general day to day life, is to be more efficient and generally easier to manage.
For me, that means: 1. Materials that are durable and easy to clean. 2. Adding easy organization to spaces. 3. Designing with flexibility in mind, creating a home that can easily change for our needs. Apparently I am looking for things to be easy, and that’s ok 😀
Whatever your goal - easier life, impressing your in-laws, hosting the holidays. Make it a good one and really go for it! If you decide to go down the new build or home renovation path, the construction process is going to happen and it’s going to be difficult, whether you are doing a little refresh or gutting the whole house. You are going to be uncomfortable. When it’s finally over you will settle back in and I want you to be blown away and so in love with your space, not wishing you would have done more but now there’s no way you are going to go through that process again anytime soon. So you move on, but you see it and it’s there, in the back of your mind and you will be slightly unhappy about it until you remodel again, 10 years later and finally do it right. Don’t waste the years! Take the time to figure out what you really want, what would make you happy in your space. Not necessarily all the rooms you could add or trends you could adhere to, but what sort of environment makes you happy and how could you create that here?
I once had a client who loved baths, had to start her day off with one, everyday. She was remodeling an old farmhouse. Side note for anyone who does not know what a legit old farmhouse is like, the upstairs is always extreme. The furnace was not made to heat the whole house and air conditioning - ha! The upstairs of an old farmhouse was never intended to be kept at the optimal temperature that we delicate creatures expect these days, it’s freezing cold in the winter and blazing hot in the summer. People were hardier stock back then and they just put up with more. We were rearranging almost the entire first floor, so she moved upstairs in the summer. If you have screens on your windows and can catch the right breeze, it’s really not too bad, but now it’s winter and it’s a cold winter. The water was turned off for a day or two for something in the kitchen, so she missed her bath. When they turned it back on, something went wrong with the water heater and it is now out of commission. It had been two days since she started her day off with her morning bath and she was about to lose it on the third day so she filled the tub with whatever water came out of the tap, I believe it was around 10 degrees outside so you know that water was cold, and took a polar plunge so she could feel like herself and start her day with her regular routine.
I don’t know about you but I am not that committed to my routine. I would have skipped the bath. I easily go a week without showering, I know that’s just me. My point is that we are all very different and need very different things to keep our mental and physical states intact. Building or remodeling a home is hard. It takes a lot of brain space, it interrupts your life, your world revolves around this big project and other things are going to have to take a back seat. Again, the reason for having a good motivator. That client now sleeps in her newly remodeled bedroom, gets dressed in her new walk-in closet with ample shoe storage (her biggest request) and easily hosts the entire family over for Sunday football games. She went on to remodel her kitchen and bath on her own and with ease because she understood the process, knew what to expect and felt she had already overcome so many challenges, nothing could stop her! I agree and it all turned out fantastic!
Even if you can afford to live somewhere else while your home is being constructed, there are still meetings to go to, site visits, showrooms and hundreds of decisions to make on things you have never thought about - tell me the last time you had a conversation about your door handles or outlet location needs? You're about to have a lot of them! For my course, Design YOUR Dream Home, I counted the amount of decisions you have to make. It’s over 300! And each decision has options, pros and cons for miles in every direction.
Creating a space that will support and enhance the life you want to live takes time and thought. It takes a dedicated vision, a strong commitment to your needs and lifestyle and a thick skin. You will have to advocate for yourself on the most basic of decisions, way too many times. Construction takes over your physical space and your mental state, so be prepared. Build the right team that understands your vision, that respects your needs and boundaries and is ready to support you through this journey. I am available in-person in the South Puget Sound area and online to everyone through video conferencing or at your own pace through my online course, Design YOUR Dream Home. I am here to prepare you for your home construction journey and support you along the way, when you need it. I am here to help.
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