The best way to reach success is to have a plan and know what to expect.

Whenever someone chooses to make a major change through renovation, nerves can flare up and dozens up questions can cycle through their head. Not only is this an exciting time, but there may be some worries about expense and making it all come to fruition. But if you know what to expect, you’re already ahead of the game. Keep these important thoughts in mind to keep any fears or apprehension at bay.


1.    Euphoria. You wouldn’t be remodeling or renovating your space if there weren’t things you were looking to change in the first place. Everyone experiences this elated emotion when they see the progress begin and grow. It might come from the moment you see the bathroom demolished. Or it could be the moment you see the new floor fully put in. Go with it. Embrace it. This is one of the best parts of renovation.


2.    Remodeling fatigue. Yes. It happens. You’ll be in the midst of the renovation and you feel ready for it all to be done. You’ll want your house to yourself. You’ll be tired from answering a million questions. Don’t worry. Let the fatigue pass. It’ll all be worth it when you’re living in your amazing, beautiful new space.

3.    Decisions, decisions. Expect to be asked a million questions and be able to give a lot of answers. What color should this wall be? What flooring did you decide? How high do you want the cabinets? If you’d rather not answer all of these questions, find an architect who can act in your stead.


4.    Expect the unexpected. You’re in the midst of your renovation, and then boom: you find out your home has irregular plumbing. Or that your framing is all off. Breathe. It’s okay. You likely won’t be excited about this, but there’s always a way around things. Patience. It’ll pay off.


5.    Change orders. These typically occur because of things that the client wants to add, change, or delete. The change will also affect budget – but it’s better to get the end result you’re after, rather than being unhappy with it for the rest of your time in your home. Communicate with your contractor and he will advise the best way to move forward. A change order is not the end of the world.


6.    Lots of Dust. There will be dust. Prepare. It’s going to happen. Even when you use high-caliber plastic to isolate an area, there may be some fine layers of dust that collect in other areas of your home far from the actual construction. However, there are ways to alleviate this. If possible, make sure to close off the construction area completely from the rest of your home with a compression-fit temporary wall. Utilizing air filtering systems called air handlers can also pull the dust out of the air for you. Try to heat your home without your furnace if you can, or block the warm-air and cold-air returns completely in the construction area so that you aren’t pulling dust from the construction site into your living space. We also advise that you consult an HVAC company before blocking air ducts to make sure your furnace will still work effectively.

7.    Intense Noise. Yup. It’s true. There will be lots of noise and it won’t go away. Saws, sanders, nail guns, compressors, and more. Make sure to bring some ear plugs if it is bothering you profusely, and do not plan on napping unless you can find another place. Also, if you’re self-employed, it may be very difficult to work unless your home office is far away from the construction area.


8.    Financial anxiety. Most people don’t like to spend a lot of money in a small amount of time, and this can often cause moments of anxiety. Remodeling can be expensive, and you knew this going into it. Of course, everyone wants to save a buck here and there, but make sure you’re not skimping on an area that is extremely important. If the budget is increasing rapidly due to things like change orders, take a moment to relax and keep the end vision in mind. Having a contingency fund of at least 10% can help. Having a contingency plan of 20% is even better.


9.    Delays happen. The rain will fall, the car will break down, the order may not arrive exactly on time. Most schedules are created prior to production and operate under the notion that the world is a perfect place. Well, it’s not, and scheduling backups may occur. Be resilient when the schedule shifts and have open communication with your contractor. It’ll help tremendously.


10. Outliers. The end is in sight! You’re almost there! Yet, before you can cross that finish line, there will likely be one or two items that seem to be taking longer than everything else to finish up. Just note that it’s most important to get all of the final details perfect, even if it takes a little bit longer.

11.  Show it off! Yes! The time has come! Your beautiful renovation is complete! Now make sure to plan a party and celebrate what has happened. This is an exciting time, and it is gratifying to everyone to see hard work done well.



Steve & Chris Kuehn - PO Box 2875, Danbury, CT 06813 - 203.791.2919