How to Reduce Discomfort when Doing a Remodel – Part One

Remodeling a kitchen or bathroom is a huge undertaking! From picking a contractor, to selecting materials, to figuring out how to live through the remodel, there are countless things you will have to navigate and very little places to look for good advice.  Internet research, word of mouth, and your gut feelings are all you really have to rely on as there are endless designers and contractors to choose from.  Top that off with all the endless remodeling nightmare stories you’ll read online, and renovating can seem an impossible task.

But fear not – you’ve reached the right blog!  In this two-part series, we’ll focus on how to set yourself up for success.  From someone who’s helped more than her fair share of homeowners avoid potentially disastrous renovations, I have a few tips to minimize the typical stressors and discomforts most homeowners’ experience.  While no renovation is completely stress free, there are ways you can set yourself up for a pleasant experience.

Know what you want

Stress is almost guaranteed if you don’t take time to figure out what you want in your new space and what you want in a contractor.  Before even reaching out for estimates, take time to think about what you’d like to accomplish in your new space and the type of experience you’d like to have with your designer and your field team.  Start first with understanding your style.  Look through galleries of kitchens and bathrooms and start paying attention to what you like and dislike about each picture.  Also, go carefully through your current home and pay attention to the areas that frustrate you.  Write a list and then start to categorize so you’re fully prepared when your designer asks you about the design and stylistic choices you want to make. 

Next, think about the least stressful experience you could have during construction.  Are you going to panic if you’re not in control of the field or do you want to hand your keys over and let someone else manage it?  Do you want a designer who sends you to visit showrooms alone and gives you assignments for what to pick or do you want someone to get to know your preferences and do all the shopping for you? Ask yourself questions like these to figure out the type of company you’d like to work with to make your contractor interview process a lot quicker. 

Don’t rush the planning process

To have a stress-free renovation, you need to know exactly what you’re getting.  If you’re designing a new kitchen or vanity, go through every single cabinet with your designer.  Understand how much space you’ll have, how the cabinet operates, and decide what you’re going to store in each one.  If you’re getting a custom countertop, take time to visit a showroom to select the slab that will go in your home.  Touch and feel samples of all your staple materials to make sure you really like them.  One of the biggest construction stressors is realizing something doesn’t look or function the way you thought it would while it’s being installed.  Then you’re in for a fight with your contractor to change it, creating a huge delay and probably a change order.  Make sure you select a contractor who is willing to work at your pace during the planning phase and who wants to have every detail selected prior to moving into contract.

Likewise, make sure you’ve selected a contractor with experienced project managers that do a thorough discovery of your home prior to giving you an estimate.  As you won’t know what to look for on the construction side, you’ll want to make sure your project manager and design team are planning to make multiple visits to your home to do a thorough discovery and to double and triple check all their measurements. If you hire a contractor who looks around for a few minutes and then is ready to give you a quote and move into contract, be prepared for the stress of change orders for any issues that arise during construction, as they won’t be included in your estimate.

If you take care to plan every detail, you’ll enter construction feeling at ease about what’s to come.  Keep an eye out for part two of this blog where we will discuss how to prepare for a smooth experience during construction.  If you’re nervous about walking into a potentially disastrous renovation, reach out to Mayflower to work with our experienced design and construction teams.. We’ll take good care of you! 


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