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Great article. I have lived through 7 major renovations in a 5300 sq ft home over 26 years. 1. SET WORKING HOURS you need to know you have private time established. Yes, demo crew could show up at 7am! 2. There is NO substitute for owner supervision - stop mistakes before they happen. 3. Ask questions and learn about the process. Educate yourself so you can enjoy the next project!

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Jody Bosse

yes the dust!! we all got a nasty nasal infection. highly do not recommend living in it especially with kids. would do it differently. stay with family or friends if possible.

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Sheila Wall

Re-model! The word makes me shudder!
We have lived in 5 houses over our 32 year marriage. It was only after the 4th fixer upper that I read a statistic that 86% of couples separate or divorce in the course of a major remodel. We did huge remodeling on our first house and did not move out while the work was being done. The contractor had done small stuff for us before, reliably and inexpensively. I had seen his work in a Federation style house that was remodeled for office space. The owners had no complaints, my office was lovely, and several other office renters had him do work in their homes. No problem.

However, before he started our major, major project, (involving replacing huge windows w/ thermals, a complete renovation of kitchen involving glass fronted cabinetry to coordinate w/ out etched glass front door, adding a basement and family room next to the kitchen, hardwood floors throughout) he had broken up w/ his wife of 20 years and had taken up w/ a salsa dancer. Schedules were off. He dug a huge hole in the backyard for the basement and then disappeared for 6 months. Fortunately we hadn’t paid him. The hole filled up w/ water and only plastic sheeting protected us from the elements. We had 2 small children, one who was going through a lengthy medical diagnostic process. He could only eat gluten free bread of some grains. None of this was available commercially. So I was making bread in a bread machine on a TV table, using the bar sink as the kitchen sink, and a toaster oven for the oven.

As we were trying to find another contractor, he showed up, and finished the job. A project that we were told would take 6 months ended up taking 18 months.

So: Know your contractor, as much as you can!
Give as little money up front as possible.
Have names of other contractors available. Names
of lawyers would be useful.
If you can, move out during the process. If it
involves the kitchen, set up a functioning kitchen
elsewhere in the house, but really moving out
will be far more peaceful.

In the end, it was gorgeous, but after that we did no more major remodels—only cosmetic—which has its own level of interference and disruption.


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