5 ways to survive a home remodeling project
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.
Get out if you can: “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.”
Protect what you plan to keep: “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.”
Build and nurture your team: “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.”
Stick to the schedule: “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 back-ordered. With shipping and customs, international orders are more likely to be delayed than domestic orders, so place those orders particularly early.”
Sock away money for contingencies: “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 percent of the construction budget on contingencies. You can consider the money a bonus if you don’t end up needing it.”
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