Ten Things

I’ve just suffered through an extensive live-in remodeling of my house, which, in legal terms, qualifies me as an expert witness.

Here are 10 things I’ve learned about the process.

1. Budget. Think of a number you’re comfortable with. Now double it. The latter is what you will end up spending.

2. Fine print. Costs aren’t just hidden. They are buried in a field in Appalachia. Your contractor will unearth these monstrosities to coincide with your mortgage payment.

3. Holding firm. If you don’t have a backbone, grow one. You’ll need it to stand up to the remodeler when he demands full price for a half-done task. Voices will be raised and feelings hurt. So what. It’s your money and being satisfied is what matters.

4. Socialize.  Get to know the guys wielding the hammers and paintbrushes. They are the boots on the ground and the people you will see every day. Establish a rapport. Buy them donuts. Remember their birthdays. Build trust. Everyone appreciates being appreciated.

5. Clear your calendar. Practically every waking moment will be spent toward the project. Tell your friends you won’t be available for any happy hours for a while.

6. Lose the junk. You don’t need half the stuff you cart off to storage. If you haven’t missed it in three months, it’s superfluous.

7. Accept imperfection. A warped cabinet door. Uneven wood stain. A crooked paint line. You will notice flaws in the job daily, and it will frustrate the bejesus out of you that regardless of the times you complain, they never are completely fixed. My advice: let it go.

8. Hug your wife. She’s just as stressed as you are. 

9. Communicate. Get the phone numbers of all the principals in your crew. Text often. They can’t correct what they are oblivious to.

10. Take a step back. Admire the new view. You’re too close to see the big picture. Visitors to your home won’t be.


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