Let’s face it; kitchen remodeling is almost always done about 5 or 10 years after you wanted it done. In virtually every remodel we’ve ever done, the customer admitted that they wanted to start the project long ago, but kept putting it off because of some stressful situation or another.
No doubt, a kitchen remodeling project can be a source of stress. Before you even start you’re stressing about things like the cost, agreeing on the best way to do the remodel, and how the new kitchen should look. That’s a lot of stress!
An associate of mine once claimed that the only thing more stressful on a marriage than a kitchen remodeling project was a heart attack! While I can’t verify the accuracy or validity of that claim, I readily admit that kitchen remodeling is a source of stress-causing influences on family life.
I’m of a firm belief that kitchen remodeling should be cause for excitement! Stress may be an unavoidable byproduct of a remodel, but you don’t have to lose your marriage over it!
That’s why I came up with the “6 Vital Principles” for enjoying your kitchen remodeling project:
Principle #1: Start with the end in mind
Always have a good written design/plan. Regardless of whether your kitchen remodeling project is very basic, or very complex, good plans will ensure you get all the elements you want in your project. Plans are a valuable communication tool that always reduce mistakes during the project. Even if you have to pay a little extra for the design, starting with a clear picture of the finished product will be well worth it.
Principle #2: Minimize your downtime
There’s no way around it. A major kitchen remodeling project inherently implies downtime in your kitchen. Your family will be unable to use the kitchen as a place to gather, cook, eat, do homework, etc. for a while. Since there is no way to eliminate the downtime, you want to reduce it as much as possible. Because cabinets require the most time to arrive after ordering, never start demolition until cabinets have been delivered to the warehouse. This should limit your downtime to no more than four weeks.
Principle #3: Get out of town for a few days
The construction part of most kitchen remodeling projects will take about a month. That is a long time to deal with dust, strange people in your home, not having the use of your kitchen, etc. At some point during the project (after week two or three) get away for a long weekend. Your project will survive without you, and you’ll come back with enough juice to see it through to the end.
Principle #4: Don’t sweat the small stuff
To borrow part of the title from Richard Carlson’s book: Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff! Mistakes will happen on your kitchen remodeling project. Period. End of Statement. Recognize upfront that mistakes will happen and recognize that an experienced remodeling contractor knows how to minimize and correct mistakes.
Principle #5: Approach mistakes with the right attitude
Until the final sign-off, your remodeling project is a work in progress. When you see something that was done incorrectly, or simply missed, approach it with the following attitude: “I noticed X last night when I got home. You probably saw it too, but just in case you hadn’t seen it yet I wanted to bring it up.” A kitchen remodeling professional will jump at the opportunity to correct whatever was done incorrectly and will respond to your positive attitude with a desire to make your day (and project) even better.
Principle #6: Hire a professional
Have you ever tackled a home improvement project (like replacing a toilet) and about a third of the way into the project wish you had paid someone else to do it? Now multiply that feeling by about a billion and you’ll know what it’s like to tackle your own kitchen remodeling project. Even if you hire tradesmen and manage their work, you’re increasing your stress-load to catastrophic levels! Hire a professional you can trust to manage the construction and give you a dynamite finished product!
Ignore the critics; kitchen remodeling is supposed to be exciting! I’ve had multiple customers shed tears of joy during and after the project. Follow these 6 vital tips, beat the stress, keep your marriage in tact, and enjoy your kitchen for decades to come!