Surviving a Remodel | How To Home Podcast #014

Surviving a Remodel | HTH 014

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Transcript

Aaron:
Welcome
back to the How To Home Podcast. My name is Aaron Massey, and joining me as
always is Tracy Pendergast.
Tracy:
Hello.
Aaron:
It’s
just the two of us today.
Tracy:
I
know. It feels so right.
Aaron:
The
reason why it’s just the two of us today is we are talking surviving a remodel.
Both of us have lived in a home that’s under construction, or currently under
construction in both our cases, and it can be an extremely stressful time both
financially and stressful on your family and your relationship and everything.
Aaron:
So
we’re going to talk about our experiences and give some tips as far as how to
make it go as smoothly as possible in kind of an unconventional time.
Tracy:
Right.
And then also I think it’s important to talk about the mistakes we think we’ve
made and will not make again, because obviously we don’t have the answers
because we’ve always done it the right way, right?
Aaron:
Yeah.
And before we dive in, we would love to hear your remodel horror stories as
well, if you want to call in or hit us up via social media. Our number is
978-709-1040. Call in and tell us your remodel horror stories. Hit us up on
social media as well at How To Home underscore Guide on Instagram. And also
make sure that you’re following us on our email list so you don’t miss out on
another episode.
Tracy:
Also
on a positive note, I love to hear survival tips from other people.
Aaron:
For
sure.
Tracy:
Like
how did they make it fun? What kind of meals did you eat when you didn’t have
your kitchen? Because I’m sure there’s a lot of like great tips out there too
from our audience, so hit us up with those.
Aaron:
Yeah.
People can be extremely resourceful when it comes to that type of thing.
Tracy:
Absolutely.
Aaron:
So
I would love to hear what people do out there. I know a friend of mine … You
know, they lived out of like a Yeti cooler for a couple weeks while their
kitchen was out of commission. Some people are just like pizza every night.
We’re getting pizza, ordering.
Aaron:
Also,
we want to thank our founding partner of the show, Filter Buy, for making this
episode possible. Filter Buy is of course an HVAC filter provider. They ship
direct to consumer under a subscription model. You can sign up, you can set
your delivery however often you want-
Tracy:
And
you save 5% when you subscribe, and it’s a great option.
Aaron:
That’s
right. I have mine set to deliver every three months, but depending on your
climate you may want to change that or whatever, but set whatever you want on
any interval or frequency that you want and they ship directly to you within 24
hours.
Tracy:
Great
company.
Aaron:
So
let’s talk about surviving a remodel.
Tracy:
Yep.
Aaron:
I
know it can be extremely stressful. I’ve lived in it. You’ve lived in it.
You’re going through it, and there’s a lot of things that go into a remodel and
I think you don’t really understand how much goes into it and how much you put
yourself into it until you’re in it.
Tracy:
Right.
Aaron:
What
are some of your tips, or what can you suggest that you’re currently going
through that maybe the audience might learn something from?
Tracy:
The
number one thing, before you swing a hammer or do anything is setting a
realistic expectation. What am I okay with? What am I not okay with? Who is
going to handle these responsibilities? How much time are we willing to invest
in this process? How much money are we willing to invest in this process?
Tracy:
One
thing my husband and I talked about before we started and I feel it’s really,
really helped us is we said we are not going to complain. We are blessed to be
able to be doing this. We know it’s going to be a complete hot mess and we’re
just going to make the most out of it.
Tracy:
We’ve
had days that have been really hard, but I think it’s more taking a breath and
saying thank you so much for putting me in this position to learn. Thank you
for putting me in this position to have the home that I want, and move on.
Aaron:
There’s
the scenario where you’re getting all this work done, you’re bringing in a
bunch of contractors, and you have all these strangers in your house working
day in, day out, from sunup to sundown, and you just … You know, you’re
living there during this whole process.
Aaron:
Then
there’s the other scenario, which is more like what I’m used to, which is
you’re working, you’re doing whatever you’re doing through the day, and then
you come home and you’re doing the work.
Tracy:
Right.
Aaron:
So
it’s a lot to tackle from a DIY perspective because you’ve got to keep yourself
motivated for that amount of time to get the job done, and you’re sacrificing a
lot in that time as well. You’re spending hours on the nights and weekends to
really kind of tackle those projects on your own, and there’s a lot of
opportunity costs there that you’re giving up.
Tracy:
Absolutely.
Aaron:
But
you’re living in this place that’s under construction as well, which can be
hard. There’s days where you’re not going to feel like doing it. There’s going
to be days where you just won’t do it just because you’re just like I just
can’t do it today, but it prolongs the process, it drags it out. So finding
that motivation and finding ways to continue from a DIY perspective is
certainly a key.
Tracy:
So
we did DIY on our last house. We basically did everything ourselves, and we
didn’t have kids then, so it really wasn’t as stressful. I mean obviously there
was a sense of like how long is this going to last, let’s get this thing done,
but there was no one depending on us for a safe space.
Tracy:
Obviously
I have children that need to eat, that need to nap, that need clean clothes for
school. I had to like put a little note in my son’s bucket the other day that
said please don’t judge me. He was wearing like rolled up pants that had like
chalk on them, and I’m like oh, my gosh, this is so embarrassing. The teacher
wrote a note back saying been there, done that, like no worries. But it’s
definitely a different set of hurdles when you have young children and you have
routine.
Aaron:
I
know it slowed me down substantially since my son came around. Yeah, I mean
even when you’re doing DIY projects around the house and stuff, you’re doing
things in between naps. You’re more conscious of what kind of noise you’re
making, how often you’re doing it. You can’t be shaking the walls of the house
down trying to do stuff just-
Tracy:
Yeah.
There are no naps at our house anymore.
Aaron:
Yeah.
Well … So beyond setting realistic expectations, I think we’ve had a lot of
designers on the show, and even if you don’t work with a designer the idea is
that you have to have an overall vision for what your project is going to be,
because if you’re shifting things as you’re going, one, it’s making the project
take longer. Two, you’re going to kind of have this hodgepodge of things, that
you’re figuring it out on the fly, and it’s going to make it more expensive.
Tracy:
Right.
Aaron:
So
having that cohesive vision from the start, before you even break down a wall
or whatever, is going to be paramount to making sure that you can get through
the remodel both in a timely manner and in the budget constraints that you
want, because every time you change something, whether you have a contractor doing
it or you’re doing it yourself, you’re going to pay more, because you’re buying
more materials, you’re returning stuff, you’re losing money on whatever, and
you’re losing the time.
Tracy:
Right.
I think when you have vision of what you want your entire home to be it also
allows you to jump around with the level of money that you want to spend and
which projects you can do. So if I know we want our entire house to be like a
mixture of natural woods and like white cabinetry and this and that, then it
allows me to say okay, let’s do all the flooring at once in one big sweep. Then
let’s go through and have our cabinet guy not only hit on our kitchen, but also
like hit on the entertainment center, and kind of like group things in a way
that makes sense instead of feeling like you have to do one whole space at the same
time, which I think is a lot of pressure to put on yourself.
Aaron:
Being
on the same page with your partner, you know, is super important from a vision
perspective. I think the easiest way to do that, nowadays specifically even
Instagram or Pinterest or whatever, make those boards, even if they’re not
public. You don’t have to share them. You can make private boards on Pinterest
and share them with your spouse.
Aaron:
You
like okay, I love this, I love this, I love this, I love this. Then you can
start piecing things and pulling things from different places, start compiling
an overall vision to kind of get the place together, get it all cohesive so
that you know what … And then you can start sourcing it, right?
Tracy:
Uh-huh
(affirmative).
Aaron:
Okay,
well these cabinets are … They look very similar. We can get those at
wherever, and then this we can get from here. You can start sourcing it, and
then you can get a realistic sense of budget. Because, like I said, if you’re like
I really want to remodel this place and you just start into it, you’re going to
end up opening up the walls and you’re not going to have that finished because
you’re like oh, I don’t have time to pick out this, I don’t have time to pick
out that.
Tracy:
Right.
Aaron:
So
it’s like not figuring it out on the fly. Knowing it on the front end so that
you can kind of target and source things helps you create a realistic budget
for the room or space that you’re trying to figure out.
Tracy:
Right.
I think it also gives you a really strong sense of what you can DIY and what
you need to hire out for. We have cabinetry being done in our kitchen and our
laundry room attaches to our kitchen, and originally we were going to have the
same guy do the shelving in our laundry room. Then it’s like dude, that’s like
two prefab cabinets we can totally hang ourselves afterwards. We can totally
bring that out. We can put a countertop on top of the washer and dryer.
Tracy:
So
I think it helps prioritize as well where you’re going to spend the money and
where you can pick up these small projects on your own.
Aaron:
So
in your space you’ve got kitchen, dining room, living room, laundry room all at
once, right?
Tracy:
Yes.
Aaron:
That’s
huge. I mean that’s a huge amount of space. So anywhere … Obviously the
budget constraint thing in a project like that is huge to try and keep under budget,
because I think one thing that maybe people don’t realize is that every remodel
that I’ve been a part of and that I know of has gone over budget.
Tracy:
Over
budget, over time.
Aaron:
And
it’s not necessarily that the work isn’t being done … It’s that things come
up along the way and it’s like okay, since the wall is open do you want to do
this? It’s an addition, you know. You’re adding things, like oh, well, it’s
open. Yeah, I should do that. I’m running that extra cable. I’m running those
extra lights. I’m doing this. I’m doing that, and it’s all little things, but-
Tracy:
Right.
And that comes back to the point of if you have a very strong vision for the
entire house, when those things come up and it’s do you want to add this to
this while it’s open, you can think ahead because you already know kind of how
you want everything to go and make a super educated smart decision on those,
and they are upgrades.
Aaron:
Yeah.
They’re add-ons, they’re upgrades and stuff, but it comes up. I mean it’s come
up in everything that I’ve done. It’s kind of one of those things, like even
DIY, you get into it and you go man, you know what? I should do this while I’m
here, while I’m in it, because I’m going to have to come back and do it later
otherwise, or I’m going to add this later, I’m going to do this, and it is …
It’s less work to do it then, but it’s more money.
Tracy:
Right.
Aaron:
So
it adds to costs, and that’s why when I talk to friends of mine that reach out
to me and they’re like how much do you think it would cost to remodel this
bathroom or do whatever, obviously it varies. But it’s like whatever fixtures
and once you kind of have the design sense, I always say add 15%, because it’s
just going to happen.
Tracy:
Right.
And if you’re working with a contractor they will say … They’ll give you …
So the way our contractor priced it out is he gives us this much budget for
paint, he gives us this much budget for countertops. So that’s just based on
what he thinks we’ll probably pick and the space we’ll probably paint.
Aaron:
I
know some other contractors and stuff that do like a low and a high.
Tracy:
Uh-huh
(affirmative).
Aaron:
Like
on the low side, here’s kind of what you think. And then on the high side, this
is kind of what you think. It’s depending on what types of finishes, what types
of hardware and things that you’re picking, because yeah, there’s a huge gap
there, whether you’re picking top of the line faucets and fixtures from X store
or you’re going to Home Depot and picking up your basic Kohler ones. You know,
there’s a wide range in pricing.
Tracy:
Yeah.
And there are opportunities to save money along the way.
Aaron:
For
sure. For sure. But everybody’s goal is to spend the least amount of money and
get the most bang for their buck, and every homeowner has the exact same goal
in mind. But having that budget in place, setting the realistic expectations,
and having the clear vision I think are the basis to kind of get what you want
out of this remodel without being overly stressed from it.
Aaron:
You
have to know those things going into it because yes, all these things are going
to add up and you’re going to encounter them along the way, and if you don’t
have all this stuff kind of set on the front end it’s going to add such a level
of stress that it’s going to carry over into your day-to-day life that’s going
to drive you nuts.
Aaron:
You’re
going to carry that to work. You’re going to carry that wherever you go. It is
a very stressful time in your life, to have and to live in a remodel at the
same time.
Tracy:
Yeah.
And certainly when you have young kids you don’t want them to associate …
It’s already a lot for them, an adjustment for them, so you don’t want to
associate any work going in the house with their parents being stressed or
arguing or just bad energy, so it’s working really hard to communicate all of
those things at the front end for sure.
Aaron:
Well,
communication certainly is a huge component with your spouse as well. You’ve
got to know what you’re willing to give and take, what things are really important
to me from the design aspect, the budget aspect, all that type of stuff, what I
really want out of it. Then you’ve got to take into account what they really
want out of it too. It’s a shared space. You know, you live in there, you’re
raising your family in it and all that stuff.
Aaron:
But
you got to know it’s compromise, right? Just like everything else we’ve talked
about, it’s give and take of what I want versus what you want, figuring out
that middle ground, that compromise, what’s important, and then going from
there.
Tracy:
Right.
And that’s where things become really emotional in my opinion, is there’s two
people living in the house so it belongs to both of you. You’re both
contributing. If you’re not contributing financially, you’re still
contributing. You’re at home with the kids or overseeing the work or whatever
it is, and I think everyone just wants to be heard, but not everyone can have
what they want, right?
Tracy:
There’s
only one sink. There’s only one faucet. There’s only one refrigerator. So I
think it’s standing firm on the things that really mean a lot to you, but also
knowing when you need to just back out and let things go, which is not easy.
Aaron:
Well,
I think taking a step back and just realizing it’s like okay, you’re going
through a remodel, you’re living a very privileged life if you’re even getting
to that point where you’re able to make a space the way you want it, if you
have the budget to do it.
Aaron:
These
things are all … They’re minuscule in the grand scheme of things, you know.
But yeah, they are important. You want your home to be the place where you, you
know, raise your family and you make your memories, so there’s a reason why
people go through a remodel in the first place.
Tracy:
Right.
Aaron:
But
when you take a step back and if things get too stressful for you, you just
take a step back and you look and you say look, we’re in a very privileged
situation to be able to even do this, to make our dream home and all this
stuff, and so it’s not that big of a deal.
Aaron:
And
maybe … You know, maybe that will allow you to go like okay, I’m willing to
let go of that or this item or that. I don’t really need it. You’re right, it’s
not a necessity, it’s just a want.
Tracy:
I
think too that social media can really cause us to be very hard on ourselves
and set expectations kind of unrealistically high. Not all of us can have a
showroom for a house. Not all of us do a big reveal at the end of our project.
Tracy:
Homes
are created over time and they evolve, and I think just putting the expectation
on yourself that everything needs to look a certain way is unfair. I think that
one thing that’s really helped me, and I have to remind myself all the time, is
there’s no right or wrong in design. We just have like very strong opinions on
what we like.
Aaron:
Subjective
opinions.
Tracy:
Yeah.
And we can … My husband and I feel make very good arguments to our points,
but no one is right or wrong and at the end of the day someone just has to …
It’s give and take, and you win some, you lose some.
Aaron:
I’m
a function person, right? So it’s like does the toilet flush? Does the sink
work? You know, it’s like yeah, great, perfect. Then about the social media
aspect of things, yeah, it’s the same. It’s the TV world, it’s the social media
world. You’re constantly being barraged with what people want you to see. You
don’t see the other stuff. You don’t see the mess and the dirt and the stuff
that goes into it unless you’re following contractors and other accounts like
that that show you the real work, you know.
Tracy:
Well,
you’re showcasing your home on social media and you’re work and-
Aaron:
But
it’s not pretty all the time.
Tracy:
But
do you feel pressure for it to look a certain way because you know people are
watching? Are you affected by opinions?
Aaron:
I
would probably be lying if I said I wasn’t, but I think I do a fairly good job
of being able to let it go. Yeah, I want to put the best product out there, but
from my perspective and from what it is that I do, everything is a learning
experience. I’m not an expert in any of these fields, and I’ve said that on my
videos many times.
Aaron:
I
understand that people look to me as an expert and I try to present the best
knowledge and information and execute the project as best as I possibly can
given the current knowledge that I have. But to me that’s what DIY is all
about. It’s about using the tools and the knowledge that you currently have to
do the best job that you possibly can given those constraints.
Aaron:
With
each process, and we talked about it previously on a previous episode, you make
mistakes, and in those mistakes you learn and you won’t do the same thing
again. So that learning process is growth, right? There’s no perfect formula.
You don’t just plug and play, you know.
Aaron:
Sometimes
you spend more money DIYing than just hiring somebody. Sometimes you save
money. But you don’t really know unless you get into it.
Tracy:
So
I think one of the biggest things I’ve learned from all of our guests is just
to take your time, and I think that is part of what goes into when you’re
having these debates with your spouse. If there’s decorative stuff that not
both people … That both people don’t like, keep looking.
Tracy:
During
this process we’ve had people come in with samples and they’re like okay, these
are the samples. Which one do you want? And it’s like well can I live with it
for a couple days? Can you leave it here? Can I see it in different lights?
Because I feel overwhelmed and I don’t want to point at something in this
moment and not really think it through.
Tracy:
I
think it’s okay to say you’re not ready, you need time to like live with stuff.
If you’re going to do something that involves like flooring, countertops,
finishes, I would highly recommend looking at the stuff in advance and kind of
coming to decisions on what you like, because it’s very easy to get worn down
and by the end of the process you just point and you’re like-
Aaron:
You’re
settling.
Tracy:

do that. I don’t even care. It might not be the best. It might just be the best
out of the eight things you’re presented in that moment, so continue to do your
own research and just find things that everyone likes.
Aaron:
What
sort of things have popped up in your experience going through this now? Like
obviously you had an idea of what this was going to be like when you started
it. What has popped up along the way that has like been a hurdle that you
didn’t expect, or what has become harder?
Tracy:
So
my biggest concern was the children, the kids being uncomfortable. The kids
have been the easiest part. Kids are adaptable. Kids are like our teachers.
They teach me every day how I should be dealing with situations. Like they
think this is an adventure. They’re riding their bikes in the house. They’re
watching cool equipment come in and out, and I’m trying to be more like them.
Tracy:
Something
I didn’t anticipate is just … So like as you’re tearing you whole house apart
there’s just a lot of big feelings. Like not to go like deep, but my husband
and I … It hasn’t even been arguments, but really big discussions over like
feeling heard, being like we both have a say, like feeling appreciated, you
know.
Tracy:
There’s
financial aspects. There’s someone throwing more money in. There’s someone
who’s in charge of babysitting all the workers all day and dealing with that
stress. There’s someone that’s carrying the emotional weight of like any
anxieties the children might feel, which I definitely take that on.
Tracy:
So
I think it’s just us both needing to be heard, and it comes out during really
weird discussions, like over a microwave or over like a counter, and all of a
sudden it’s a discussion about well, I don’t think you know how I feel.
Tracy:
I
think that’s normal when you’re pulling apart your life essentially from the
ground up, and it’s been a good experience and a learning experience, but I
just have told everyone that like if you don’t have a strong relationship and
good communication you just cannot go into this in like a broken state, because
it’s hard. It’s a lot of work.
Aaron:
Yeah.
All your stuff that you do on a daily basis is going to get hard. Laundry is
harder, you know. Cooking is harder. All the stuff that you don’t like to do on
a daily basis, well I mean a lot of people like different things, but I’m not a
… I don’t like to spend a ton of time in the kitchen. But if it’s like okay,
now the kitchen becomes even harder, I’m cooking microwave meals every single
day or I’m eating this or I’m doing that-
Tracy:
Right.
The eating is hard. The food is very hard. If it were just adults it wouldn’t
be hard. I have a very deep concern for the food I put in my kids’ bodies, so
like that has definitely been an issue. A positive thing I’ve learned from this
that has been a huge experience is like how little stuff we need.
Aaron:
Oh,
yeah.
Tracy:
Like
our kids don’t need special cups. Our kids don’t need special forks or special
plates. They don’t need like all of this stuff. They just want to be outside.
Paper plates are fine. Paper cups are cool. They think plastic silverware is
like the coolest thing ever that they get to use that.
Tracy:
Also
with commitments, like it makes you realize how much extra you’re doing in your
life and you have to cut those things out, your commitments. I think it just
teaches you to simplify. It’s been a great lesson.
Aaron:
And
declutter for sure. Like I mean when you have to move stuff around a bunch
because you’re working room-to-room or you’re doing this or that, there’s only
so many times where you’ll move something and you go why do I even have this
anymore? I do not need it, and you just, you know, get rid of it or donate it
or do whatever.
Aaron:
But
to your point about kids not needing anything, yeah, I can speak to that,
because my son’s favorite thing is diaper box with a belt attached to it that I
tow him around the house with. I mean that’s it. That’s all he needs and he
would be happy like all day. Instead he’s got a hundred toys.
Aaron:
So,
yeah, I mean it is … I feel like we project these things onto … You know,
you’re into it. You get stressed out about things that don’t need to be
stressed out about. You can just kind of focus on … And I think you’re
looking at it from a financial thing. You’re like am I going to get this money
back? Am I going to do this? Am I … And it’s easy to overthink.
Aaron:
It’s
easy to really just kind of ruminate on these things that they don’t really
matter in the long run. But you want to do it right, so obviously people carry
a lot of weight with those things. But, you know, I think a lot of the tips
that we’re talking about, having clear vision, making sure you set a realistic
expectation, budget, all that type of stuff, like these are great things to
think about before you get started.
Aaron:
Don’t
do all this stuff once you’re into it. I mean if you’re into it already and
you’re listening to this and you’re just trying to push through, just push
through. That’s the only tip we can give you, you know. Try not to sacrifice
everything and just end up with something you’re not going to be happy with at
the end. Do it the way that you want to. Yes, you might have to pay a little
bit more money than you’re comfortable with or whatever. You can get that back.
You’ll figure it out.
Aaron:
But
have these things in mind on the front end before you get started and it’s
going to save you so much stress, so much like … So many sleepless nights,
you know. You’re going to be able to just kind of tackle it and know what
you’re getting.
Aaron:
I
think that part of it from … I don’t like hiring people a lot because I can
do a lot of the work myself and I can manage the job and do things, but there
is a lot to be said about people taking on either the design aspect or the
managing of the contractors-
Tracy:
The
project management.
Aaron:
All
that stuff. There is a lot of work involved in there. That’s the reason why
people have these jobs. There are skilled trades for a reason. And if you’re
trying to tackle that or take that on as a homeowner who doesn’t have any
knowledge of doing that or what’s involved or whatever and you just think that
you’re going to throw yourself into it, it’s going to stress you out.
Tracy:
Right.
Right. I have to say one of the coolest parts of watching the remodel has been
seeing all the different tradesmen come in and how they communicate and like
work with each other.
Aaron:
It’s
awesome, isn’t it?
Tracy:
It’s
so cool. It’s such a cool … They work together as such a great team and
support each other and communicate well, and it’s been really cool to watch. I
think it’s taught me a lot about project management when we do … Because
we’ll do the bathrooms by ourselves now. We’ll … Like everything else pretty
much we’ll do ourselves with the exception of like new carpeting in the kids’
rooms. But it’s just a cool … I like watching the workflow. It’s pretty
amazing.
Aaron:
I
get this sometimes via social media and stuff. People think that I’m anti-trades
because I do the stuff myself, like I don’t hire people and whatever, and that
couldn’t be any farther from the truth. In fact, I appreciate what these guys
do so much.
Aaron:
A
lot of this stuff, I’m just like I couldn’t imagine myself doing it on a
day-to-day basis. It’s just the amount of work that’s involved and the stuff
that they do I have a profound appreciation for it. It doesn’t mean I want to
do it every day. But I do like it, and I like having the knowledge to do it
myself. So a lot of that type of stuff, when I consider myself like DIY for example,
is I love what these guys are doing. I want to be able to do it and I really
respect the professionalism that they can do it.
Aaron:
So
what you’re talking about … When they come in and they’re communicating and
doing this work, I got to do this but you got to do that and we’re kind of like
coexisting, it’s awesome to see these guys work together like that.
Tracy:
Yeah.
My husband popped in the other day while one of the guys was doing drywall and
they had this huge long discussion about like oh, so you mix a little bit of
the Quick-Set with a little bit of this? Like he’s learning all of these
different-
Aaron:
Yeah.
It takes like one day … Like I almost wanted to spend a day with each …
It’s like … Because it’s awesome to see that type of stuff and how these guys
work. But that doesn’t mean I’m anti-trade just because I don’t want to spend
the money or whatever. It’s because I want to genuinely learn it, and the only
way that I’m going to learn it is by doing it. So that’s the reason why I kind
of do what I do.
Tracy:
Absolutely.
Aaron:
We’re
talking about budget and we touched on it a little bit, but things have a
tendency to snowball, you know. We talked about how things can kind of well,
you’re doing this and then all of a sudden now you’ve got this, now you’ve got
this.
Aaron:
Things
can easily snowball out of control, specifically if you have a really tight
budget in mind in the first place. You have to nip that in the bud like somewhere.
You know, you have to kind of take a look at it and be like okay, we just
can’t. We just can’t do that right now, because it will … It will snowball.
It’ll get out of control, and you’re going to be spending exponentially more
money than you wanted to.
Tracy:
Absolutely.
Aaron:
So
I don’t know how to say where you draw the line, but keep in mind that you should
have a line somewhere.
Tracy:
Absolutely.
So we’ve shifted money around and we’ve pulled things that we were initially
going to do and then decided we’ll do it on the next round. So we were
initially not going to add an island, and we were going to possibly do it down
the line. We weren’t really sure. Then we realized that because of electrical
and the fact that we were doing hardwood flooring, it could essentially be
drilled right into the flooring, that we should probably do it. So we pulled
the cabinets out of the laundry room and we’re not doing that.
Tracy:
There’s
just certain things where my husband has jumped in the truck and went and got
wood and like had stuff framed out before the guy showed up just to save money,
and I think it’s … There will be things that come up, but then you have to
decide-
Aaron:
Prioritize.
Tracy:

what things … Yeah. And you just don’t have to do everything at once. So do
the things that make sense with the walls open up or … You know, in the spot
that you’re in get everything done that you can and worry about the decorative
finishing stuff later, you know. The bar stools at the bar can wait. We probably
won’t have any for like a long time.
Tracy:
We’re
not going to have a new dining room table and chairs for a long time, which …
You know, it sucks when you have a new space. You want it to looked finished.
Aaron:
Well,
we talked … I mean you mentioned it. Like there’s no reveal day.
Tracy:
No.
Aaron:
You
don’t have … Nobody is puling this curtain back and all of a sudden it’s a
reveal, like oh, look at this. It takes time. It takes time to build out and
have kind of a finished space, you know.
Tracy:
And
guess what?
Aaron:
Even
when it’s finished, it’s not finished because you’re going to keep adding stuff
to it. There’s going to be elements that are added later one. You’re going to
tweak it. On social media and television you see a lot of finished spaces, but
they’re not lived in. It’s like okay, it’s done.
Tracy:
Either
that or the people have enough money to do it all at once, and that’s amazing.
If you have the money to do it all at once that’s great. Most people do not.
Like we do things in chunks. So we do big projects at a time, but then there
will be a recoup period now where we have to save up money again before we do
this again, and it’s going to be a long time, so I just don’t think it’s
realistic.
Aaron:
There’s
a reason why, you know, people live in houses for 25 years and it’s like oh,
we’ve done this, this, this and this and this. Yeah, well you’ve done it over
25 years, you know. It take time to get stuff done.
Aaron:
If
you want to be in the house long term, that’s an investment well spent. If
you’re trying to flip it or you’ll only be in there for a short amount of time,
then obviously you want to get the work turned around and sold, but it’s a
different thing.
Tracy:
Right.
Aaron:
Dealing
with the stress of a remodel, I certainly can’t say that it doesn’t exist.
There’s a lot of stress on the person doing the work. There’s a lot of stress
on the person or people who are just living in the house and maybe they’re not
doing the work. It’s just … It’s a lot. You know, it is a lot to manage, and
I don’t want to sugarcoat it and say that it isn’t. It is what it is.
Aaron:
But
it’s your space at the end of the day and you’re going to have it the way that
you want it, whether you pay to have somebody else do it or you do it yourself.
So it’s worth it, and if you have to make some sacrifices along the way so
what?
Tracy:
Right.
And one thing I would highly recommend before you choose when you’re going to
do your remodel is actually sit down and look at the calendar, and if they tell
you it’s going to be four months, first of all plan on five, but look at the
calendar. Look at birthdays. Look at holidays. Look at work commitments, and
figure out is this going to be a doable time?
Tracy:
There
were things I did not think about, like I run an at-home business that is
packaging … I package things and ship them. I did this remodel during
Christmas, so I was like trying to package things in a little room, like hoping
my stuff wasn’t covered in dust. I did not even think about that. I would have
totally done it again, but there are just things that I didn’t consider, so I
would highly recommend looking … Just looking at the calendar and kind of
realizing that those are going to be some difficult months.
Aaron:
And
maybe if you’re doing a smaller … I know for example my brother, like he
wanted to tackle a DIY bathroom remodel in his home. He has two kids, two young
kids, and he smartly, I think, had his wife and my niece and nephew go stay at
her mother’s place for a couple weekends, and that way he could just work
uninterrupted, uninterrupted for a couple weekends, and he would put in long
days during that time.
Aaron:
If
you’re doing a DIY tile job or bathroom remodel or whatever, those are long
days. So he would put in these long days and he wouldn’t have to worry about
that added stress. He had the help, he had the support, and was able to do
that, and I think that was really smart of him.
Aaron:
That’s
something to consider. If you’re going to do it yourself, that’s a great
approach to take I think, and I would have never even thought about that, but
that was a great idea on his part.
Tracy:
Right.
You know what I don’t recommend is deciding two weeks before you have company
or Christmas I want the bathroom to be done before everyone visits, or I want
this to be done in time for Thanksgiving, like two weeks ahead or a week ahead,
and trying to like fit a big project into a small period of time with like
people showing up.
Tracy:
We
did that in the last house. It did not turn out well at all. You’ll have
someone sitting on the toilet seat that’s like moving. I just feel like put
yourself in a position to have time-
Aaron:
To
succeed.
Tracy:
Exactly.
Exactly. And I think that goes with realistic expectations for sure.
Aaron:
Well,
we hope this episode was helpful for you guys. I know this can be a stressful
time, but it’s not the end of the world, like you said. It can be stressful,
but it’s also … It’s one of the most rewarding things that you can do.
Certainly if you do it yourself, and even if you don’t … I mean even if you
hire out it’s fine, because you’re going to get the space that you want.
Tracy:
Thank
you for that validation.
Aaron:
Well,
it’s not that I encourage … You know, I encourage everybody to do some level
of DIY. I don’t encourage everybody to do what I do, because it is … It’s
very stressful and you’ve got to be a specific type of sadistic person to want
to set yourself through that much punishment.
Aaron:
But
I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I love it. I love what I get to do and-
Tracy:
And
it doesn’t last forever.
Aaron:
It
doesn’t last forever. Yeah. I mean you can … It just … You’re going to have
a place that you can call your own at the end of the day and it’s going to be
the way you want it. Maybe you spent a little more money. You probably did,
because every time I do, I spend a little more money, but then you get that
space and you get those memories in there and you get the home the way that you
want it, and it’s super rewarding.
Tracy:
Nothing
like it.
Aaron:
We
want to thank our founding sponsor, Filter Buy, for making this episode
possible and encourage you guys to get involved in the show however you choose
to, whether it’s leaving us a voice mail at 978-709-1040, hitting us up on
social media … You can find us on Instagram at How To Home underscore Guide,
or just follow along on the email list. Subscribe to our email list so that you
never miss an episode and see all the contractors and designers and cool people
that we have on. We have cool guests all the time and we learn a ton, so I
think we share some really valuable information with you guys.
Tracy:
If
there’s a guest you want to see on the show share their profile with us or tag
them in the comments. Like we want to know who you want to hear from and who
you love and want to learn from.
Aaron:
Yeah,
who you’re inspired by. I mean there’s so many great people out there in both
the DIY and home improvement space and we want to talk to them. We want to
bring them on the show and we want to provide the best information that we can
to you guys, so please share those with us. We hope you guys enjoyed this
episode and we will see you next time.
Aaron:
The
How To Home podcast is brought to you by filterbuy.com, your one stop direct to
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Media Group, LLC, and Intelligent Arts and Artists. The show is executive
produced by George Reeves and Aaron Massey.

Show Notes

This week, Aaron and Tracy talk about their tips for surviving a remodel. Renovations can be stressful, but with a lot of planning and clear expectations, things will be easier.

LET’S CHAT!

You can always call and leave your questions and comments on our voicemail!

978-709-1040

Set expectations:

Before you make the decision to start a renovation, talk about your expectations. Who is going to handle what? A lot of time is spent tied to the home while people work- who is going to “babysit” the workers? What are your schedules like? Are you comfortable with giving up A, B and C while the house gets done? What is your timeline? Talk about everything!

One thing Tracy and her husband agreed on before they started was not complaining.

Also, be very clear about what you want to hire out and what you want to DIY.

Have a clear vision of the big picture:

This one is HUGE! Before you start ripping anything apart, sit and talk about your vision for your ENTIRE home.

It’s so important to get on the same page about the look and feel of your home, so as you pick away at the little things, you both have the same vision for big picture.

Know which things you’re willing to let go:

Everything is give and take. Know the things you’re willing to bend on, and allow your partner to make those choices. One person cannot control everything.

If you can’t agree on something, keep looking:

There is no formula for decisions being less frustrating- but if there are things both parties feel strongly about, sometimes the only option is to keep looking until you find something you’re both ok with. Some purchases take time.

Pick out the little details at the beginning:

We assume the little things like knobs and fixtures can be last priority, right? But by the end of your project you will have made so many big decisions, that the little decisions will make your brain melt. You will want to light the entire hardware section on fire. When you’re sitting down and going over those big picture plans, take note of the little details you like and decide on them then.

Don’t let things snowball:

This is HARD! Renovations have a way of getting out of control. You get in a groove and just want to keep going. Make a list of what you’re doing, or create a budget- and stick to it. Inevitably surprise costs will come up- so save any extra cash for those expenses and avoid financial stress.

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