December 13, 2013

How to Survive a Remodel

I came across Sally of Sally J. Designs a few days ago in an Interior Design support group and she shared with us her “How to Survive a Remodel” document that she gives to new clients. You will love this article, as it gives insight into the process of a remodel and how to keep your sanity throughout the process. Sally J Designs is a full-service Interior Design firm based in Garland, TX and also offers E-Design services.


How to Survive a Remodel

A Survival Guide to a Successful Remodel

Imagine having a bunch of strangers over for a demolition derby in your living room.  The rules of the game are:  They are allowed to come and go when they want to, and each player is permitted to make as much noise and ruckus as they like while doing mysterious things in an atmosphere that seems like controlled chaos.

Now you are starting to get a sense of what a major remodel feels like!

But this noisy, gritty process doesn’t mean you will be tearing out your hair.  With a little advance planning and great communication, it is possible to live through a renovation with your sanity and good nature largely intact.

Work out the Job Rules in Advance.

During your pre-construction meeting, your project manager will sit down and go over all the little details that are in your pre-construction check list.  This is your opportunity to voice any concerns you may have, and set any ground rules that are not already outlined in the checklist.    For your information, we have very few workers who are smokers, and we always instruct them to light up outside and to pick up any butts….no messes allowed!

Plan for Everyday Living

Your house may look like a bomb went off in it for a few weeks, but you still have to feed your family, get a good night’s sleep and have access to water and electricity on a regular basis!  Now is the time to put a plan together so that life can continue as normally as possible.

Here are a few suggestions for “living in” a remodel.

1.  Make a mini kitchen somewhere.  Move your microwave and refrigerator to a place where they can still be used.  Be sure to keep a can opener, coffee maker, utensils and other such items accessible.  Stock up on paper goods and disposable dishes.    Remember how you loved camping!

2.  Keep a stock of bottled water close by in case your water has to be shut off for a little while.  We always try to minimize the time that you are without water and/or utilities.

3.  Use the remodel as an opportunity to enjoy trying out some new restaurants in town.

4.   Don’t try to keep an immaculate house.  It’s just not going to happen during construction, so don’t make yourself crazy.  Remind guests that dust is a design statement!

5.  Protect your belongings.   Remove pictures from the walls, and place things in plastic tubs with lids.  Dust gets EVERYWHERE.   Roll up your good rugs…cover your computers and electronic equipment when they are not being used….seal off your airvents to rooms not in use.

6.  Protect your plants.  If we are working around outside shrubs, they may need to be moved.  To save a plant during a remodel, you will want to dig it up and repot them away from the construction site.

7.  Involve your neighbors.  Please tell your neighbors that you are in the midst of a remodel so they won’t call the police when they see strange men entering your house with sledge hammers.  We always try to keep the noise and congestion to a minimum.

8.  Let your project manager know if there are any health issues in the family that may be impacted by odors and dust.  We will do our best to seal off the areas where we are working, but people who are extremely allergic or sensitive may want to spend a night or two at the motel.

9.  Although we try to adhere to a schedule, timeline and budget, please be aware that issues can crop up that affect those things.  Everyone associated with Sally J. Designs tries to be diligent about notifications and project changes.  Be aware that many things can try to sabotage the timeline and budget such as materials being out of stock, weather,  delayed deliveries and design changes.  Communication is the key to a smooth working relationship.

Prepare for Mood Swings

You are about to enter a roller coaster existence for a time.  Your initial excitement will nose dive once the mess, noise and the organized confusion of a remodel begin.  Expect that your emotions about the project will vacillate, and there will be moments when you are convinced that we have no idea what we are doing.  Please be assured that we do, and “this too, shall pass”.

Please be patient.  A major remodeling is a constant source of little irritations.  Stay calm and be patient with us and with your family.  If things really start to get to you, (and it might !) plan a weekend away, go shopping or tell us to take a break for a day or two…..whatever works for you!

Take time out for having fun.  Remodeling can be all consuming, and it can leave you tired, stressed, and less than your usual, cheerful self.   Schedule in some time to do things that you really enjoy outside of the house.  Consider it therapy.

Be Accessible

Your project manager needs to be able to find someone who can make decisions when issues come up (and they will).   We will need phone numbers and email addresses for anyone in the chain of command.  No doubt, by going through our extensive design and planning process, you believe that every possible scenario has been considered.  But every project is different, and something may just crop up that we didn’t plan for.  Keep the communication lines available, please.


Sally J. Designs is your partner in the renovation of your home.  We feel confident that with a good design, skilled workers, awesome homeowners, and great communication that your project will have a fabulous conclusion.

Let the demolition begin……..

So, have you recently survived a remodel? Have any horror stories (or even good stories) of how it went? Have any advice for anyone going through a remodel or about to start a remodel?

Till next time,





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6 comments so far.

6 responses to “How to Survive a Remodel”

  1. About 10 years ago we lived through a kitchen remodel – it was longer than expected and during the winter, but overall it wasn’t too over the top.
    Antionette Blake recently posted…Festive Holiday Sweater Party for A Good Cause with GoodwillMy Profile

  2. Today is Thankful Thursday – glad I could share it with you!
    Antionette Blake recently posted…Thankful Thursday and Versatile Blogger AwardMy Profile

  3. I would have never thought to replant any plants that may be in demo zone. Plants are important to the landscape so it makes sense to protect them if possible. Planning ahead by having appropriate size pots before demo begins would be beneficial.

  4. Christina says:

    Having a plan for how to live in the space during the chaos is a good tip. The water bottles and makeshift kitchen with a microwave are great suggestions.

  5. Christina says:

    Your comments about dust being a design element are pretty funny. You’re right about the need to realize that things are not going to be perfect as far as neatness is concerned.

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whitney j decor | whitney jones | new orleans interior designer | new orleans decorator | nola interior designer | nola decorator

I’m a self-proclaimed foodie with a love of all things HOME. I’m at my best when color & coffee is involved, but you can also bribe me with crawfish, bread pudding, and/or hibachi. New Orleans born and bred, it’s how I’ve learned to be confident in my use of unique patterns, bold color, and space planning when transforming my clients’ homes! Welcome to Whitney J Décor!

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