Plain and simple construction stinks, especially when it’s being done while you are living in your home. Your normal routine is interrupted, you have strange people in and out of your house, you must make a thousand decisions about a thousand different things. Dust, garbage, noise…. the electrician didn’t show, the plumber said your pipes are shot and it’s going to double the estimate, you need an updated land survey, and there is a mistake on the architectural plans so they need to be altered. Hopefully in the end the project is done correctly and you love it. Renovations are a necessary evil, but there are things you can do to make it a little less painful and inconvenient. The first and most important is to set a realistic budget. Be prepared to spend an additional 10% for those unexpected things that lurk behind your walls. You never know what's going to come up and it’s nice to have the extra cash when it does.
Whenever you need to select things like cabinets, tile, faucets, and plumbing fixtures it needs to be done well in advance. Don’t expect to walk into any store the week before you need something and walk out with it. Just in the tile business alone the number of products available now, as opposed to 10 years ago, has quadrupled. The other thing to watch out for is mistakes. Check over any item that is going to be permanently installed like cabinets, bath fixtures, and tile. Make sure everything is the same color and dye lot, plus has no defects. Also, make sure the contractor knows what product gets installed in what room and inspect any work done at the end of each day.
On smaller renovations it's best to not schedule a start date until you have the products on site. When we put a bathroom together we might be getting products from 3 different vendors and items could be back-ordered or even come in broken or wrong. It does take time to resolve any issues that occur. If a special order item takes a week to come in and is broken, it’s going to take a week to receive replacement tile. So it’s important to have tons of patience when undergoing any renovation.
In the end, once all the dust settles (pun intended) and the parade of workers moving around your house stops, take a step back and look at how beautiful your home has become. Even though you didn't do the physical work it was your vision that made it all happen. It was your time, money, and willingness to upend your life and create something uniquely yours. Remember all the great people you met during the process and all their hard work helping you design and build your masterpiece. Now sit back with that cup of coffee and a good book and relax in your home.