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Get Your Remodel on Track

17 min read How do you get your remodel on track once it feels off? 

Do you have a sneaking suspicion that you need to get your remodel on track?

You’ve been daydreaming about your perfect mid-century remodel for months (years?), but somehow reality just hasn’t caught up to your Pinterest board.

Sometimes it can feel like your remodel planning has gone completely off the rails. Or at least dropped off your radar.

Fear not, my friend, because you are not behind in your home improvement plans. Your remodel is on track. I repeat, you are not behind. You are doing great! I’m going to prove it to you!

Unless you have a pressing issue that is pushing your remodel along a pace, you might just hope to complete everything by a date “in the future”. So, my advice is to your time in the planning phase and set yourself up right.

If you’re in a rush, like you’ve got your bags packed and a move-in date deadline, even a “D-minus” job on planning is better than no planning at all. I made episode 1409 and my Master Plan in a Month mini-course for you!

But this week we are focusing on maintaining the sanity and confidence of those of you who need to take your time to make your dream remodel happen. I’m going to help you get your remodel on track and keep it there.  

When you’re in the middle of a remodel, staying on task often means making split-second decisions. You just have to give an answer to keep the project moving. But here’s the twist: it doesn’t always mean you’re making the right call. Making the right call means knowing it’s the right call for you because you’ve taken the time to create a master plan. A master plan will keep you grounded…and staying grounded is more important than staying on task.

The dream phase is where you ground yourself in your ultimate vision for your home. You ask yourself how you want your space to feel and how it will change your life. This is actually the fun, easy part of the process and it’s the one that will really keep you on track.

Set aside focused periods to brainstorm, plan, and design.

In Today’s Episode You’ll Hear:

  • When the fluffy fun part of a process is also the most valuable. 
  • Why the secret to getting your remodel back on track is simple. 
  • How to stay calm in the face of rapid-fire decision making.

Listen Now On 

Apple | Google |  Spotify

Resources to help you get (and stay) on track

wrapped gift Mid Mod Holiday Round-up

  • Check out Mid Mod Midwest and Modern Christmas Trees talking modern holiday design and decor over on Instagram!
  • Our friends at Modern House Numbers have us covered for holiday shopping:
    • Use the code “MIDMODHOLIDAY” for 10% off all made-to-order products.
    • Valid Nov 1 through midnight MST on Dec 1 2023.
    • Excludes QuickShip products.
  • Want more great holiday gift and decor ideas? Pop over to our shopping guide

And you can always…

Read the Full Episode Transcript

Have you fallen behind in your home improvement goals, my friend? Or maybe you feel stuck in neutral, you haven’t even really gotten started. I want to give you some encouraging advice guaranteed to keep your remodel on track now in the planning phase, and your remodel on track once you start knocking actual projects off your list for everyone out there feeling like you thought you’d be closer to your goal of getting the house done by now, this one’s for you.

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 1410. Here is the truth, my friend, you are not behind on your plans. Of course, you’re not. Look at you, you’re listening to this podcast right now. You’re planning or you’re preplanning. You’re planning to plan. That also counts. You’re doing great.

Also, you’re not on a schedule. I know it feels like you need to get this done by x marker before the interest rates change before someone moves before someone starts school. But here’s the thing, remodeling never really happens on the schedule, you imagine. The actual work of construction will unfortunately take longer than you hope it will. So you might as well spend some time planning and get the job done right.

On the other hand, if you’re in a rush right now, then now is the perfect opportunity to do the bare minimum of what you need to get done. Do a d-minus job on planning. It’s better than not planning at all. Last week, I talked you through how to do exactly that, and put together a new resource for people exactly in your situation. What situation is that?

Well, I don’t know exactly, you tell me. But the situation I was thinking of was someone needs to get their construction project underway in a hurry. Perhaps you’re already under contract. Perhaps you’re closing on the house and you need to have a few bits of work done before you move in. Whatever is happening in your life, you need to move quickly. Well in that case, you want to make sure you follow the exact right steps to get through the process. I’ve put together the perfect simple system to do just that.

Check out our brand new mini course master plan in a month. It will walk you through what you need to do the very least in order to have a great plan and execute that plan smoothly however fast or slow your construction project will be. Before we dive in too much to today’s pep talk.

I also want to remind you that November is the month where we are inundated with Black Friday sales and online shopping opportunities. And instead of giving all of your resources to Amazon, I would love to encourage you to support a mid-century small business in your gift giving endeavors. Even if you’re only giving a gift to yourself, or perhaps your partner or your mid-century house, you can find a laundry list of some of my favorite mid-century businesses to check out at our holiday gift guide that’s at mid mod dash midwest.com/1007.

And I wanted to remind you that right now our friends at modern house numbers are getting a discount to all listeners to the podcast that use the code, mid mod holiday all one word. So get a 10% gift off Modern House members for your house or for the house of your sister in law that really needs a tune up. Just a suggestion.

Okay, as always, you’ll find the transcript of this episode show notes and the links to the references we make. Another easy way to get the holiday gift guide or go right to the master plan in a month mini course at midmod-midwest.com/ 1410.

All right, here’s what I want you to know about not feeling behind. How to keep your remodel on track at any stage. The most important thing I want you to remember is that it’s important to keep your mindset on track. And to do that, I’m going to tip back to some recent excellent advice by Kendra Adichie on her lazy genius podcast.

I know I talk about Kendra a lot and the lazy genius podcast because I find her strategies and philosophies of life to be so helpful to people who are remodeling. In a recent episode, she several times stress the phrase staying grounded is more important than staying on task. Now, this is excellent personal mental health advice. Which as you go into a remodel, you should hang on to some mental health focusing tools for sure. But it’s also essential advice to a successful outcome in a remodel. And here’s what I mean.

Being on task in a remodel simply means making some decision any decision in a rapid-fire way or at least before that decision needs to be acted upon. So as you go through the actual process of the remodel working with a contractor to execute your vision for your home improvement project, particularly if you haven’t planned ahead as thoroughly as you could have. staying on task might just mean answering the contractors most recent question as quickly as possible so they don’t have to slow down their work.

Staying on task does not equal giving the right answer or the best answer or the most personally tailored to your life answer. It merely means giving an answer to a contractor. Pick an answer any answer. That does not mean you’ll be happy with the outcome in the long run, it just means you didn’t slow down in the moment. So that being a task, that’s not really keeping a remodel on track.

It makes me think of productive busy work. You can spend a day doing all sorts of things that are urgent all day and still have put off the most important task, the task that was going to free you up to do what you needed to do to free someone else up to do their task or the task, it’s going to niggle in the back of your mind at night right before you fall asleep, the one that worries you when your mind goes blank.

So here’s the point, just answering questions about your remodel only gets you to a remodel that exists. One that’s done, it does not get you to remodel you like it does not get you to the most affordable remodel, it does not get you to a remodel that’s well suited to your home. And it does not get you to a remodel that is timeless and will avoid the trend trap so that it can last for decades rather just a year or to say that advice. Staying grounded is more important. Staying on task is the same thing as looking for ways to keep your remodel on track. It means staying calm, but also staying connected to the ultimate reasoning behind your choice to remodel.

And if you can’t see where I’m going yet. I haven’t been obvious enough. I felt like I was though. It’s incredibly connected to me to the dream phase, the first step of the master plan method. Your dream phase is the time when you ground yourself, you begin being grounded here by asking yourself what’s important in your home improvement. This grounding in the dream phase needs to stay with you.

And when you kick off the process, you pick up the phone and call a contractor. You tell your spouse Yes, let’s go do it. It’s so easy without grounding to lose sight of what’s important to you, you can become a person who wants to remodel just to remodel just to get hung up on one particular tile over another to get stuck on trying to match a particular magazine photo quality of prettiness to work towards what looks done rather than what will help you love your house when it’s done. So if you do nothing else to pre plan your remodel, I want you to do that.

If you don’t have 30 days to plan, a remodel, I want you to take an evening and ask yourself, what is the feeling of your dream home? How will your life change when your remodel is concluded? What are you doing? And these exercises that I share with my ready to remodel students and that are absolutely included in the short course the mini master plan and a month mini course are essential to also what I asked my clients when I work with Master Plan clients one to one. When we come up with beautiful options draw pretty pictures as an architecture firm, adjust the floor plan the layout of the house is to our client’s needs, the question we constantly come back to is why. We want our design to be grounded in the desires and needs of the family it’s designed for.

And you can do the same thing for yourself. So remember, the most important thing you can do for yourself as you plan is to stay grounded. Keep yourself focused on what’s truly important to yourself and your family about the feeling of home. And a side benefit, like I was talking about last week is that nothing will slow you down faster than indecision. But nothing will help eliminate indecision and effectively return you to the right answer than checking in with your big picture why. The dream phase is so often overlooked or dismissed as fluffy as inessential. To be honest, part of that might be because it’s easy to do this phase and things that come easily to us sometimes don’t feel very valuable.

But this relatively easy thing to do. Ask yourself, why is everything this is the reason you decided to make a change in the first place. So please don’t look past this. ground yourself in your why. And remember that you don’t need to feel like you’re comparing yourself to wherever you could have been in your master plan process in your home update planning process and having done and completed any of the home improvement projects you’ve got on. I want to give you a little bit of encouragement that I give my ongoing ready to remodel students, that is just as appropriate for you.

However long it has been since you started to think about updating your home, if you tune into this podcast or take a quick stroll on social media, you’ll be snowed in with examples of people who have already kicked off and in many cases already completed their home improvement plans. And it’s so easy to look at those people’s lives from the outside and think they’ve remodeled before they knew everything they needed to going into this must have been easy for them or their houses so beautiful. My modest ranch can never compete.

But if you’re listening into this episode, weeks or months or years after you started dreaming of a home improvement project you might be feeling that you have fallen behind. That you don’t have your remodel on track. Nonsense. Now look, I get it. I’m not saying your feelings are nonsense. I do the same thing when I’m starting to think about a new project, I set ambitious goals for myself about how I can go and the minute I fall behind that imaginary timeline and start to panic. But you can’t fall behind on a master plan.

You can use the thinking that we share in this podcast every week at any time to supercharge whatever project you’ve got first on your plate. Take it slow and steady, which is my favorite way to do it. Or just take a deep dive and get started on your big picture vision so that you can get started on those first things you need to do in your house before move in day before the HELOC loan runs out. Whatever you need to do.

Wherever you are in your process, though you are doing great. I want you to just remember that the best way to keep your remodel on track is to fight back against overly high expectations. And reset yourself when you need to remember that the urgency we create for our remodels is based on what’s going on in the world. But it can also be a counter to actually getting things done. The first couple of missed deadlines in your planning process, or your contractor can start to sap your feeling of this is a finite amount of time and it will end you can get into a fuzzy middle ground phase where things seem to last forever.

And there’s no schedule, there’s no timeline, there’s no obviously better, there’s no obviously satisfying, you just want to wrap things up. But wherever you are in your process, you’re doing better than the people who haven’t even started. So start thinking about your remodel as a work in progress as a passion project as fun again and use the mid-century masterplan framework to hang your ideas on to for my own perspective, as a designer, when I’m working on my clients designs, there is often a real benefit to letting things steep. So if a project has stalled, if your project has stalled for a moment for you, you have already done some work that’s now been percolating in the back of your brain.

In the meantime, now you can’t take off forever on a process. And I certainly can’t people hire me to have a conversation, set internal deadlines and return to them a master plan. But letting ideas steep for a while can be beneficial. When I’m trying to move forward. I reground myself in the clients why. And I tried to give myself a two day sequential process to think about design when I’m getting into the really deep dive of how could we possibly manipulate spaces for the best in this house.

After I’ve had a meeting with a client, I let that project sit ideally for a week. And I have talked to them reviewed all their photos looked at the model we’ve made thought about their floorplan and considerable problems, then I like to sit down on one day and begin to notice what’s challenging, and what’s problematic in the house and start to come up with cool ideas that I can throw out a bunch of things that might work or might be cool or kind of work, and then sleep on it. I try not to take work home with me. Well, I work from home. But I do think about it over dinner at the dog park while I eat breakfast. It’s a little bit in my head. But sleeping on it also just really helps because ideas need to sit for a moment.

So if you’ve fallen behind your ideal process, perhaps you’ve just been organically letting some of your ideas sit. For me the next day, I always feel so much more in flow more creative, more clear sighted, there’s such a benefit to letting ideas simmer in your back brain and then taking a chunk of time to work on them. So if you feel like you have lost traction on your remodel, here’s how to get your remodel back on track. Let’s put a mental spin on it. One thing I’ve learned about myself in 15 years a designer is that you can’t just sit down at a table, pull a fresh piece of paper to yourself and start designing cold. I mean, sure, sometimes I get asked to design question and simply shoot from the hip. But that comes from 15 years of past design experience.

What I advise you to do to think about this, if you want to jump yourself back in is to start by blocking time, when I really want to get creative with a project and make out I make sure to block out to sequential days to think about design. I can’t remember everything that a client has told me about their hopes and plans for the house, refresh my memory on the structure and the layout challenges and fix my mind that type of mid-century home that they have. And then also come up with great ideas all in one day.

So I like to have a two day period to think it through. Now for you, you’re more deeply familiar with what’s going on in your home. So a chunk of time might just mean more than 15 minutes between one small kid task and another. It might just mean setting aside one hour or two in an evening or ideally two sequential evenings to think it through. When I’m working through that two day design process, I work on the project for a few hours and then I stop. I don’t spend all night or all morning thinking about that project.

When I come back to it the next day, I find that some subconscious processes has loosened me up. Suddenly, it’s easier to focus, the ideas come faster and more clearly. And I’m able to make more decisive action. From the suggestions that I had thrown out for myself the day before. Sometimes the best way to return yourself to creativity and get your remodel on track, is to just sit in the space. This can be what happens when you just walk through with fresh eyes. When you reintroduce yourself to the house, you can perhaps even go through a psychological exercise of stepping out the front door with your shoes on and then coming back in and trying to introduce yourself to the house as a brand new person.

Another way to think about prepping yourself back up and supercharging yourself into a remodel plan on track is to give yourself some accountability. What about plan in 30 days, sometimes you need a container a boundary to limit fuzzy thinking. This is a place where I always think about Parkinson’s Law that work expands to fill the time allotted to it. So if you give yourself the next year, to plan your remodel, you will be planning for the next year and maybe more. But you won’t be using all of that time in the best possible way.

So limit the time that you have even artificially, even if you don’t have a particular deadline by which you need to finish a process. I’d love for you to think about putting a container around your masterplan thinking, remember, you can actually always come back to a previous step in the master plan method. So you can think about your dream phase for a day, a week or a month depending on your scale, and then move forward. And you can always return and ask yourself why go more deeply have new insight at another time.

The last thing I want to suggest is take a breath. If you’ve been holding yourself to a very rigid planning schedule or planning remodel, then take a deep breath and ease up. Give yourself a little more time. One way to be helpful to yourself is to batch your design thinking and planning into blocks. Rather than trying to make an appointment with yourself just once a week, try to set two days in a row or two weeks in a row. Or even just return to the thing that you felt stuck on a couple of weeks ago and see if the intervening time has loosened you up a little bit.

I think you’ll find that a great way to solve some of your own mental blockage around great ideas for your home is to put to planning sessions as close together as possible, but to break it up into two pieces. Sometimes though, remember that great design does take time. The big picture of all of this is you are not behind; you can keep your remodel on track. And you’re doing so much better than if you had not ever started this journey if you didn’t listen to this podcast on a weekly basis, and just keep in touch with your hopes and dreams for your remodel.

So one more way to think about staying grounded is more important than staying on task. Staying connected to what really matters to you and your remodel is more important than getting the process underway as quickly as possible. Whatever happens, I hope that you won’t let the pressure of time prevent you from thinking about what’s most important to you or her you through the process of prioritizing and considering a few possibilities before you decide what path you’ll choose.

Once you finish a remodel, it is forever, at least hypothetically. But until it’s finished you control to a certain extent the pace the level of chaos by having a clearly fleshed out plan and you control the ultimate outcome by having chosen to put your attention devote your resources to the parts of changing your home that matter the most to you. So I’m gonna leave you with a contradiction.

I don’t want you to rush yourself through the process of prioritizing what matters to you in your home update. I want you to take as much time as you can, however much or little that is to consider all the possibilities. But I also want you to motivate yourself to take action. Because far too often what we call planning for remodel is more like an endless loop of considering anything that is possible or flipping through magazines or Doom scrolling Pinterest and Instagram. So set yourself a limit. Give yourself a certain amount of time to research a particular thing before you not necessarily commit forever but move on to the next step.

Remember, when you use a master plan method, dreaming about what was possible discovering what’s going on in your house, setting your personal style, all lean towards the draft phase where you consider all the things from the sky’s the limit to minimalist tweaks and weigh a bunch of possibilities against each other. At the end of that process. You develop your actual master plan; you narrow down the possibilities and commit to one outcome to share with a contractor and then carry out. So I’m not saying set yourself a 20 minute timer and decide which kitchen layout you’ll have. But do place limits on how much time you spend researching and then start taking action.

Start sketching out possibilities put something on paper and then say To decide to try something different. Motivate yourself to take action by setting realistic for your life. Time limits on the amount of time you’re going to spend in the planning phases. And remember, you can always set a limit to conclude that phase of planning for now, and then come back to it later when you’ve had more time to mull it over, or when you know more about your process. Hopefully, if you feel like you want to keep your remodel on track, and it has perhaps fallen by the wayside, you can jump back in.

You can get beyond that feeling of I fallen behind and therefore I’m behind forever and make some realistic progress for yourself on how you want to transform your home by jumping into action right now. And if you feel overwhelmed by the prospect of reaching out to work with Mid Mod Midwest, or even by taking on the larger steps of the ready to remodel program, but I want to point you towards our new resource master plan in a month, which is a mini course that’s going to walk you through just the most necessary essential elements of a master plan so that you can get on track and stay on track with your remodel.

As always, you’ll find the links to the show notes. The transcript of this episode and the other things I’ve referenced at our website at midmod-midwest.com/1410.

And next week on the podcast, I’ve got a really special treat. I am chatting with the mind behind Make It Mid-Century. If you’re not already familiar with her great work you are about to be in for a treat. And if you have seen her spreading her beauty across the internet with Sparkle Lam counters and fun mid-century door update kits, well then you are in for a treat to learn a little bit more about the mind behind the mid-century madness. We had such a fun chat a few weeks ago that I’m so excited to share with you next week on the podcast. So bye for now and I will catch you next week.