How to actually enjoy your remodel

15 min read You can enjoy every phase of your remodel, from planning to leading to living in your finished home! 

Enjoy your remodel while it's happening ... and love the result!

I bet you can’t wait to enjoy your remodel … being done. You’re set to tuck into your new banquette with your morning coffee or to slip into your Onsen tub and be so HAPPY that it’s all done.

But I’m here to tell you that you don’t have to wait until everything is finished to enjoy your remodel. You can enjoy every phase of your remodel, from planning to leading to living in your finished home! 

I know we frequently hear how stressful remodeling is and all the challenges homeowners face along the way. The process of remodeling is often viewed as something to slog through on your way to the the prize.

And, sure, remodels can be like that. 

Prepare to Deal with setbacks

Every remodel is going to have setbacks. It’s going to cost more than you hoped it would. Or take longer than you hoped you would. You’re going to have to change horses in midstream…maybe more than once! Maybe your dream tile won’t be available or won’t end up being affordable. Or the flooring you plan to use is going to take a bit longer to get. Or you’ll have some struggles connecting with the right contractor(s).  

Setbacks happen. It doesn’t mean your remodel has gone wrong. It’s part of the process. One piece of the grand remodeling adventure you’ve undertaken!

So, what are the secrets to help you enjoy your remodel if setbacks are a certainty?

Well first, you say a little prayer…The Remodelers Serenity Prayer. Which goes something like “I need to recognize the things I can and cannot control.”

Know what you can control and how

What can you control?

  • You can control what happens up front.
  • You can control your plan.
  • You can choose your people.
  • You can also be kind to yourself. 

Mid Mod Remodeler, you are about to experience a lot of porridge that is too cold or too hot before you get to appreciate your new just right life. So set your own expectations for what you want and what matters most and then focus on making those parts of the process happen.

Match your Expectations to reality

You want to make sure those expectations match your budget and your desired lifestyle during the remodel. Or, if not desired, then at least determine what you can actually tolerate. 

Create a (flexible) Masterplan

Creating a master plan that will allow you to be flexible will help you enjoy your remodel. 

As you execute, a playful attitude will help you enjoy your remodel. See if you can make fun of even the hardest days and situations. 

And in the end be prepared to pivot and have people around you who are also prepared to encourage you to make the right choices. 

In Today’s Episode You’ll Hear:

  • The Remodel Serenity Prayer…well, sort of. 
  • How to approach your remodel like an adventure!
  • Where to focus to make sure you accomplish what matters most.

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Read the Full Episode Transcript

We all spend a lot of time thinking and talking about how much you’re going to enjoy the remodel you’re planning when it’s done, how to make the best choices for your home, your life, your budget and your taste, how you’ll love it when it’s complete. But today, let’s focus a little more on the near term. How can you plan to remodel you’ll enjoy while it’s happening because remodels take time.

Depending on how you slice it, they can take months or years of your life. Why wouldn’t you want that to be the best experience it can be? So today, let’s get into it. My best advice for planning a remodel you will enjoy while it’s actually in process. Hey there. Welcome back to mid mod remodel. This is the show about updating MCM homes helping you match a mid-century home to your modern life. I’m your host Della Hansmann architect and mid-century ranch enthusiast, you’re listening to Episode 1401.

So here’s the thing, remodeling is slow and filled with drywall dust and unexpected setbacks. Oh no, there’s asbestos glue under your basement floor tile. Yikes. The GC just found out that the perfect tile the linchpin of your bath update is backordered in your color, disaster. But it’s also a time that can be filled with wonder and joy, you’re going to become a mini expert on the process of remodeling on your home, you’re going to develop a godlike power of constructing reality around yourself to make a perfect home out of the house you either just moved into, or have been just existing in for years, and check a major American homeownership life stage off your bucket list.

When it’s done, the real fun begins. You live in your home the house you dreamed about took measurements and assembled endless Pinterest boards for a master plan many years in the making becoming reality. And three cheers for that. I can’t wait to catch you on the flip side of the remodel and see how the pictures and turn out. 

But if you need a little more support to make your remodeling dreams into a reality, let’s think about what goes on before you get to that point. All right, here’s the boilerplate, you’ll always find the show notes for these episodes at midmod-midwest.com In this case, 1401. And any links I mentioned or other episodes I referenced will show up there.

But let’s talk about the mindset of a successful remodel, a remodel you enjoy while it’s happening. This can feel a little bit like the Serenity Prayer, you know that thing God grant me the power to recognize the things I can and can’t control. I don’t really know it. 

But here’s the difference. You can control what happens up front, you can control your plan, and you can choose your people, then once you get into it, you kind of have to be willing to lean back and go with the flow. So I’m not going to tell you that this process is just about waking up every morning and reminding yourself how lucky you are to live in a time of airplanes and online ordering and nail guns instead of hammers. That’s part of it.

But enjoying your remodel can be just enjoying your remodel. And also it can be about setting yourself up for success. I do want to throw you back a couple of episodes to the one where we talked about how to make a remodel more expensive or less, you can make any remodel much more or less expensive with a few simple tricks. And I’m going to go out on a limb and assume that like most regular homeowners, certainly like myself, you will enjoy your remodel more if it costs less overall. And be it costs something in line with what you expected it to cost.

So I want you to think about how you can control for those things, how you can affect the things that make you most happy or unhappy in a situation. But also at the same time balancing that against a flexible mindset managing your own expectations. So let’s talk about that. Because planning a remodel will, I should say, carrying out a remodel will take longer and cost more than you expect it to than you hope it will. So it’s great to set up an ideal timeline. It’s great to have a very snug budget that covers exactly what you think is going to happen. But you also want to have contingency plans in place.

So you know what you’re going to do if it takes longer than you hoped it will or costs more. To do this right, you’re going to need to focus hard on the first and last steps of the master plan method. setting your expectations is all about dreaming and then developing. In terms of dream. It’s about figuring out what really matters at the start of the project. Not just that your house needs to refresh. But it needs to be more spacious, or more bright or more host friendly, or to make more space for your family to reset themselves separately from each other. Whatever that thing is that matters the most.

That’s what’s going to drive you into feeling great about the project when it’s done. And that will pull you through like an invisible string through the process of all the inconvenience and confusion and stress that can happen in the middle knowing that you’ve planned something that matters the most. And then you control it with the develop plays of the master plan process. This is where reality meets with your hopes and priorities. So it’s all about where Turning to your initial desires and filtering them through the lens of what is plausible and what is possible.

Now, I know you might think you’d be happy if you had everything in a remodel and the kitchen sink, but money doesn’t buy happiness. Just watch succession. Instead, think about what’s really going to move the needle for you. And maybe it is the most beautiful finishes in a couple of key places. Or maybe it’s outside space with your family and throwing everything else out in order to build the deck this year is the most important thing to think about how to prioritize you might like the metaphor I use in Episode 1209. This goes back to planning your remodel like the last great vacation you enjoyed. I did this in May.

And it’s about thinking about the feeling that you want to get from your remodel. Now shortly after that I had a lovely four day getaway with two friends in Chicago, which we packed to the max with sightseeing and long long chats. And then a week where one of them came back to Wisconsin with me and we worked together during the days on our own and then hung out mornings and evenings in each other’s company, such a gift.

We only blocked off one day in that week, her birthday, as a no work, no commitments, no messages time. And we thought of what we wanted to do. We thought about jamming everything we could into that list. But she pointed out that what we really needed most in that moment was downtime together, we were both working pretty hard and just wanted a day to bask in each other’s uninterrupted company.

So in the end, we decided we had a loose list of things we might do. But we would literally jettison anything from the list in order to keep a chill feeling. Here’s a list of things we did not do on our very pleasant relaxing day together. We didn’t run a few more errands we didn’t get any more snacks, we didn’t make a birthday cake or buy one, we didn’t go see the movie, we plan to go kayaking, or stop by a friend’s house for a long catch up. Instead, we took care of a few life lightening tasks together, got bubble tea, drove to a state park when swimming, lay on a beach and read a book out loud. It was a pretty perfect day.

And this is what happens when you know what you want and why. And then you make your choices that line up. So this is related to remodeling and thinking of what kind of remodel matches the life you’re up for living while it’s going on. You need to know yourself, perhaps know your partner or your family. Well here are you willing to live with some long term chaos in order to DIY a project or a number of years or to stay in the house while the work is done.

As we were talking about a couple episodes and how to control the cost of your remodel, sometimes that’s the most cost effective way to make things happen to live in the house or to stretch out the timescale. But that might not be something that your family can tolerate. It might break an individual person’s brain, no judgment, it’s just not for everyone. So if what you need most is to go away on a long vacation and come back and find the floors are all refinished and the walls are all painted, then that’s the kind of remodel you should be aiming for. And it is possible, you just need to know that’s what you’re going for and go for it.

So thinking about how the style of remodel not I mean the style of the look. But the arrangement of the remodel suits your life is really important to matching your experience to your expectations. It’s also to enjoy it, it’s important to be flexible. This is the let go of the things you can’t control part. To keep your price rate it’s important to be flexible, but it also helps to keep your emotional state right now, this is part of the benefit of having a master plan.

When you have an overall vision, you can roll with the punches. Or when the price goes up you have the information and the soul searching done in order to rapidly and smoothly reprioritize. When something else is possible, you can pull it from your overall list and bring it in at the last minute or you can downgrade the quality of something you were looking at and upgrade the quality of another to make a balanced equation.

Being well aware of your budget, sometimes a remodel is expensive, and it can feel good to put off the day of reckoning. But in reality, even if you are not letting yourself feel consciously aware of what a remodel is costing, what it’s adding up to as it goes, the chances are that feeling of uncertainty will grate on you. So the more you plan ahead, and the more you can pre price and track your spending as you go, the more confident and calm you and your partner will feel through the process. You do need to prepare yourself for some frustration.

It’s inevitable your remodel is going to have setbacks; it’s going to cost more than you hoped it would take longer than you hoped you would. You’re going to have to change horses in midstream at least once. But that doesn’t mean your remodel has gone wrong. It doesn’t mean you can’t feel pretty good about it as it’s going on. And certainly when it’s done a couple of things you can do to work through setbacks are to gamify the process you can make milestones you’re looking forward to and do what you can personally to move towards them.

if you’re DIY and you can put in a little extra effort to make it go faster. Or you can just observe the process differently. You can make bets with yourself or your partner about how long little things will take and enjoy the process of winning are losing a bet even if you win by guessing it’s going to take three times as long as you hoped. Also you can think about, here’s that thing parents do when they’re worried about something and they don’t want their kids to be, perhaps you do this for your kids, or perhaps you remember a parent doing it for you.

You can be kind to yourself, you can parent yourself for the process. And here’s how it goes. Instead of saying, Oh my God, we are so late. You play the hurry up game where everyone runs from the room and gets what they need to leave the house as quickly as possible because now it’s a race. Or we’re not locked out of the house. We’re going to play explore the yard. How many kinds of rocks can we collect until the locksmith arrives? Or we love that it’s raining! Let’s sing our favorite rain song. We definitely did not mean to bring an umbrella today because it’s fun to get your hair wet in the rain. These kinds of benevolent lies or misdirection can make a dire situation suddenly turn into an adventure.

And it’s really helpful if you can see the ups and downs of your own remodel as an adventure, a temporary one, something you can remember as a funny story later, even if it’s not terribly funny. While it’s happening, you might look back on some of your favorite childhood memories or something that your parents would recall as an OSHA time when they made a mistake or were rocked by life and circumstances beyond their control. Now as an adult, you’ve got the double vision to see both realities. So trying to deconstruct that remodeling, even in the craziness can be a fun game can be the process of making those chaotic memories. And if nothing else, you can think of the remodel process as a sort of natural Goldilocks funnel effect.

You are about to experience a lot of porridge that is too cold or too hot, until you get to appreciate your new just right life. What makes a remodel the people keep telling horror stories about the regrettable kind of remodel is when you let a series of repeated disappointments add up that you aren’t able to easily pivot from and then you continue to proceed in that direction based on the sunk cost fallacy that you ultimately will look back on with regret.

When you know two months in that you can’t get along with your contractor. It might be time to reevaluate and rehire. When you realize that your plans are out of alignment with you actually want hit pause, jettison something. When you figure out that you cannot live in a house under construction with your partner and kids. Adjust your plans, find a new living situation. What I really want for you is the ability to make a detailed plan for your remodel that can also go with the flow so that when things go wrong, you can handle them calmly.

Some of that calmness comes from your surroundings comes from surrounding yourself with people who make you feel calm. That goes times 10 for your contractor and their team, not just because the right contractor and the right team will do a competent job and also be good communicators during the process which lowers your stress. But because you’ll enjoy their company while you hang out with them for longer than you probably hoped you would. Because they will like you in return and your genuine honest human relationship that goes both ways. We’ll both help them keep you up to date and help them push their own boundaries a bit to get you through the process.

My happiest to design clients who loved their whole remodel processes tell me stories about how their contractor made friends with their kids in the house or made a personal pet out of their cat and brought them treats or just generally became a good friend of the family, someone who still comes by for a beer or a barbecue. Beyond that, it’s also really important to have people around you that you can commiserate or blow off steam with that are not involved directly in your remodel but are familiar with the remodel process. People who have either recently completed one and understand where you’re coming from, or who are actually going through the same steps that you are.

It’s less great to complain to your friends who finished a remodel ages ago, or who’ve never planned one and don’t really want to people who don’t really know what you’re talking about people who might feel envious because you had the gumption to pull a budget together and get started and they still haven’t all those folks are not going to be your best sounding board for the inevitable frustrations of this process.

Do you know who is your remod squad? If you don’t know what a mid-mod ReMod Squad is? check out episode 1105. The short short version is a group of people who all like mid-century as much as you who are actively in the process or actively interested in the process of planning to enjoy your remodel, and who you can go through your steps with. Ask for suggestions. Share your experience so you can feel like an expert on days when you’re not one and generally just boost up your level of enthusiasm and encouragement to make good choices for your mid-century home.

If you don’t know how to start finding a remodel squad do check out episode 1105. But also think about just joining us inside of ready to remodel which is a ready-made mid moto Mod Squad and in fact, we just kicked off another cohort of weekly calls starting last Monday, the Monday of this week, and if you missed it, you have not missed out on the experience, you can join ready to remodel at any time and we would love to have you join this series of the next four weekly calls, and then stick with us through the rest of this year and the rest of your process to keep your sanity engaged while you plan and carry out your remodel.

However you come about the process of making a master plan, you need to take a master plan approach to your planning before you start Remodeling in order to actually enjoy the remodel while it’s going on. You’ll need to plan a remodel that suits your actual life stage and mental state. One that’s going to be broken up into the right number of phases or knocked off in one fell swoop one epic summer of chaos, so you can move on to other things in your life and get on with things. I want you to plan to enjoy a remodel that has enough elements of pleasure to surprise and delight you. Things you can point out as your favorite features proudly and smile about every morning over coffee, but one that doesn’t put you in debt for years to come.

And all of these are levers that you can pull with a master plan approach. The Secrets to a stress proof model are things that I teach inside of ready to remodel their master plan design program. And in each of our design workshops, I’ll walk you through the steps of planning and prioritizing so that you can address your own most important elements. I’ll show you how to weigh the pros and cons and develop a master plan that works continuously for you.

And I’ll teach you my budgeting secrets share my project tracking spreadsheet that you can use to fill in and know and control your dollars from start to finish. I’ll be on hand for a monthly mid-century Office Hours calls or right now weekly where I can give you my best advice on solving layout challenge communicating with a contractor or working around a supply chain issue.

You’ll be surrounded by a cadre of other mid-century homeowners all working through the same steps tackling the same projects and feeling the same feelings you’re feeling as you lead as you are in the middle of a mid-century remodel. 

So let’s recap. 

You want to think about the remodeler, serenity prayer, what you can change and what you can’t about a remodel. 

My friend, you want to set your own expectations for what you want and what matters most and then focus on making those parts of the process happen.

You want to make sure those expectations match your budget and your desired lifestyle during the remodel or if not desired then what you can actually tolerate. Plan a master plan that will allow you to be flexible and as you executed keep playful attitude see if you can make fun of even the hardest days and situations. 

And in the end be prepared to pivot and have people around you who are also prepared to encourage you to make the right choices. 

The right Master Plan process will lead to you being able to enjoy your remodel from start to finish.

Now remember, if you need help preparing that well prioritize beautifully flexible and pivotable masterplan. Well, there are two ways you can work with madman request. The first is you can take advantage of our program to support DIY master planning, join the ready to remodel program or just check out one of our super affordable bite sized weekend topic design clinics spend two hours this weekend watching a recording of one of our master classes where you can dig deeply into planning a mid-century kitchen upgrade and owner suite improvement or an exterior update.

Or if you would rather have us do your homework for you. The second way we can help is to do a master plan on your behalf. We will work with you to create a custom design for your project filled with all the information that you need from a new layout to the perfect mid mind material choices that will help you enjoy your remodel to follow. You can find out how to work with us or find the transcript for this episode at midmod-midwest.com/ 1401.

Tune in next week to learn why a can be an extra challenge to plan and leader remodel as a woman and how to make that process go better. I will be referencing the Barbie movie if you’re curious. And spoiler alert. All of that advice is universally applicable. So see you then. Have a great week mid mod remodelers.