Skip Remodel Overwhelm … Like this!

11 min read Want to know the fastest way to remodel overwhelm … trying to do it all at once!

Baby steps, my friend.  Take your remodel one step at a time. Just skip right past the classic remodel overwhelm – that moment when it all becomes too much.  Planning a whole remodel at once – deciding on every detail  – is crazy difficult.  But if you focus your planning on one step at a time, you can cut the crazy in half.  

Avoid Remodeling Overwhelm with a plan: get Help at this weekend's mid-century master plan master class!

Does planning your remodel have you feeling totally overwhelmed? We’ve all been there. Every detail and choice in a remodel project stacked up on top of each other would make any adult want to sit down and cry.  

Or quit.

Or hand the reins of the project over to the first authoritative seeming contractor to come by and say “Sure. I do kitchens, I’ll give you the HGTV special.  You’ll love” it.”  (THis happens way too often, and it really breaks my heart.)  I don’t want this for you!

Let me Reiterate:  Planning a remodel will overwhelm you if you feel like you have to do all the things, all at the same time. Here’s the thing:  You don’t have to.  There’s a better way.  

Before you start to problem solve your remodel and pick out new kitchen tile … you need to get clear on WHY you’re remodeling in the first place, WHAT you’re dealing with in your house and HOW you’re going to pull it all together.  That’s why the first three steps of the Mid-Century Master Plan Method are to…

Dream up the home you want to have!

Without this crucial phase, you’ll be planning like a boat without a rudder and be easily swayed by each new option and consultant.  When you have your Dream phase locked in, you can plan out an update you’ll love without remodel overwhelm.

Discover the house you’ve got

If you skip over this step you’re just asking for unpleasant budget-busting surprises down the line.  But once you you know what you’re dealing with, you can confidently make the right choices for your home.  

and then …

Distill the style of your future home

When you don’t have a clear style guide; you end up with an end result that looks messy and incoherent AND you make each choice of faucet, tile or stain color SO MUCH HARDER on the way.  This is a recipe for remodel overwhelm.  With a clear style guide in hand every choice becomes easier.

In Today’s Episode You’ll Hear:

  • That you’re not alone – nearly all homeowners experience remodel overwhelm at some point but the Master Plan Method is designed to cut down on that chaos
  • How planning “in the wrong order” can really turn up the volume on your stress
  • Why I know that Dream, Discover, Distill is the right order for your home update plan and why all three of those phases come before you can start to Draft solutions to your home improvement challenges. 
  • That THIS WEEKEND is the free “Plan an MCM Remodel to Fit your Life(and budget)” Masterclass.  I hope you’ll be there!!

Listen Now On 

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Resources to Avoid Remodel Overwhelm

Avoid Remodeling Overwhelm with a plan: get Help at this weekend's mid-century master plan master class!

Read the Full Episode Transcript

Taking your remodel out of order, starting with the details first instead of the bigger picture, can not only create chaos in your life and stress you out faster than anything else; oh, and also your partner, but can actually cause you to plan the wrong remodel for yourself. Let’s talk about how this works in a live broadcast I did on Monday to talk about why there is a proper order for planning your remodel and exactly what the steps are.

Hey there, you’re listening to Mid Mod Remodel. This is the podcast about updating your mid-century home. I’m your host, Della Hansmann architect and mid-century ranch enthusiast. You’re listening to season eight, episode six.

I really got into some things I’ve never shared before. How I created the master plan method and why it is important to follow the steps one at a time. That’s also the easiest place to sign up for the masterclass. It’s happening in just a few days really, so I really hope I’m going to see you there. Looking forward to it my friend, here we go.

Want to know the fastest way to overwhelm yourself with your remodel plans, try doing them all at once. Planning your remodel is always gonna be a lot. And if you try to plan the whole thing at once when you’re thinking about who’s gonna do the contracting work, what you even want to get done this year and pick the kitchen tile right now, you’re gonna break your brain.

But here’s the thing, you don’t have to do it that way.

I created the master plan method largely to cut down on this sense of homeowner remodel overwhelm. I see this so constantly so consistently with people that I work with and that I talk to in the mid-century remodeling community. When you plan your remodel in the right order, you can cut down on that sense of remodel overwhelm. Focus yourself in until you get to the right result for you and for your home. Today I want to talk a little bit about how I created that specific order. And why it is the right way for you to plan a remodel.

But before I get to that, if you’re here listening right now, then you should be at the planning a mid-century remodel to fit your life and budget masterclass this Saturday. It’s a free one hour class where I’m gonna lay out this entire method in detail with exactly what you should be doing to avoid the mistakes that regular homeowners make and to cut down on chaos and avoid remodel overwhelm your process and going in deep detail into each of the five steps of the master plan method. I really hope I’m gonna see you there.

And if you’d like to be there, if you’re watching this on Instagram, go to the link in my Instagram bio. If you’re watching this on Facebook, it’s in the link before below the video. And if you’re listening to this later in the week on the podcast, just go to midmod-midwest.com/signup to sign up for the free masterclass. It’s really something you should be doing.

Alright, so I want to scroll or announce. Today I want to share how I came to this idea that this is the proper order for a remodel because it matters more and less, depending on how successful you want your model to be. You can already do yourself a huge favor. If you just say, instead of doing everything all at once, I’m going to pre design before I design. The pre-designed phase includes the first three steps of the master plan method: Dream, Discover, and Distill. Then draft and develop. Those are what happens after you’ve identified the challenges you want to fix in your house, the problems you want to solve, you can brainstorm successfully and cleanly in that time after you’ve done your predesigned homework. But those first three phases, they could theoretically happen in any order as long as they happen before you start designing.

Here’s the thing though, human psychology leads us, and in the social media era, leads us to take things and cut at the wrong order even in that predesign work.

The very easiest thing there is to do when you start dreaming about a remodel is to, you know, if you’re already following on Instagram, you’re following other mid-century accounts on Instagram. If you’re in my Facebook group, you’re in other mid-century Facebook groups. You’re seeing all this beautiful content you start pinning like crazy on Pinterest. And you’re thinking about this dream house and that dream house and this house you saw in atomic ranch. But if you just gather everything you’ve ever liked into one or a million incoherent boards, it starts to become really disconnected from reality, from your budget, from your home, and even from what you want in your day to day life, not just what you think is beautiful when you see a picture of it, but what really works for you.

So I don’t think that that’s the right place to start. It is so commonly the place that people go first, but I have it as the third step in my predesigned three step process. Because once you know the other two pieces of information, what you want and what you have in your house, then as you start to look for inspiration, examples, details, materials, everything becomes a little bit more common sense, logical and even more fun, I think. Okay.

So that’s why we don’t start with the distill phase. You could start by discovering your house. And in a certain extent you will, you live in your house every day, you always are thinking about, you know, you can imagine the layout of your floor plan of your house right now, as you’re listening to me, you can tell me, is your house made of brick or does it have wood siding?

These are parts of the discovery process, important things you need to keep in the back of your head that you already know. But again, if you focus on what you’ve got, if you focus on the house, you have too much too early, I can become discouraging. And since part of that house discovery process often involves seeking out expert advice, seeking out, you know, if you have elderly plumbing and it’s starting to cause problems, you’re probably gonna want to talk to a couple of plumbers or at least one, before you even get into remodeling before you’re seeking bids, you want to seek opinions and you might find that in that process you pay someone for their time to come visit your house and just give you a consultation. This is a brilliant thing to do in the discovery phase, by the way.

But if you begin there before you think about what you want to get out of your remodel, you’re a little too, wishy-washy, it’s too easy at that point to think about the to-do list and not think about the why. And that’s why we start with dream.

We start with dreaming about what you want your house to really be. And within both my one to one design service work, and with my Ready to Remodel students, I use a series of design thinking exercises which include just sort of creating a narrative story, writing a paragraph about what your dream life in your dream house feels like. What the sun, you know, is it bright or is it dim? Is it loud and interconnected and chaotic and fun? Or is it quiet and calm and perfect. Do you like to see all of your objects laid out around you in collections? Or do you want to live in a house where everything has a place and when it’s in that place, you can’t see it. These are aren’t right or wrong answers. They’re personal answers for you.

During this phase we also think about how is your house working for you well? Is it serving your daily routines? Can it make your morning, get out the house ritual easier or better? Is it making it hard to wind down at night? Are there ways that the house could change the light levels, the layout, the flow, the connection in between spaces or lack thereof, could these things help make your life, your family’s life work better?

We also think about inspiration, not visual, but emotional. Are there places in your past other homes you’ve lived in your grandparents’ house, your family childhood vacation, home, somewhere you went on a trip before COVID are there places you want to draw from feelings you want to create a sense of a peaceful morning wake up space, or a really cozy coffee spot? Where can you go to get that sense of, ah, can that be made in your house?

And the answer is, yes, it probably can. We don’t necessarily need to recreate the exact spot. We’re not gonna make your house a beach place in Fiji, but we can’t think about like what was the spot? The feeling of sitting in a sunny window, looking out at a Vista. Can we create that with your house, with your backyard? If we add a window, if we reconfigure something. So, and then there’s a whole bunch of other fun, smaller and larger design pieces that we put in.

Something I’m gonna talk about next week on the podcast is actually how to set your intention. Your why of the remodel at the very beginning of the process, not only to kickstart yourself, but to return to over and over again, as motivation and even as a decision making rubric. Later, when you’re comparing two design layout options or in the discovery or the distill phase, when you’re looking at what the house has to offer you or what you want your style to be, you can answer some of those questions based on the work you do first in Dream.

So even though I can almost create like a ven diagram, all of these parts, all of these predesigned processes will be happening more or less in the same timeframe. It really makes sense. Do yourself a favor and start with the dream phase, not a wishy washy cloud in the sky. I dream, I lived in a castle. I dreamed my house in Wisconsin was glass walls and looked like an Eichler house in California. But what is, what are the qualities that you want to have?

Do you want an open plan house, like an Eichler house from California? That can be accomplished. You might not be able to have quite as much glass, or you might have to pay a higher heating bill to get that, but is that really important to you? And when you, with the dream phase, when you start with what you want to have happen in your remodel, that’s when you really get to have everything that comes after set up for success.

Then when you re-approach house discovery, when you start to look into your house, when you take stock, what you’ve got you measure, you photograph, you talk to the experts you need to talk to, you can already tell them what kind of a remodel you have in mind, what you’re starting to think about. And then they can give you more useful advice. And you can take their point of view with a grain of salt. Knowing if they’re suggesting something to you, that’s totally counter to what you’ve identified in your dream phase. Then they’re either not the expert for you, or you can simply take their expertise but not their opinion about their design.

And then finally, when you come back to the Pinterest fun, when you start saving things on Instagram and really, or tearing things out of magazines, really building up your vision for the house, it’s not just a purely aesthetic thing. It’s not just what it looks like. It’s also what it feels like.

Are these surfaces not just made out of a silver colored metal or a warm colored metal? Are they all gonna be easy to clean? That might be honestly easy to clean, might be one of the number one driving forces behind your remodel. And if so, I hear you, that sounds like a great thing. Or you might not care about that. You might say, to me curating a beautiful house is more important than having one that doesn’t, you know, that can avoid dusting for weeks at a time. So what I want to do is have a gorgeous house that maybe is a little bit more high maintenance.

Finding out where you fall on these spectrums on all of these questions. Again, there’s never a right or a wrong answer. There’s not even really a more mid-century or a less mid-century answer. There’s the answer that works for you.

Through dozens of one to one design master plan clients, through hundreds of people that I’ve consulted with and helped out through the podcast, through Instagram, through my Facebook group, all of these mid-century homeowners are served by taking their remodel in the right order and so will you be.

This is how you avoid remodel overwhelm.

So again, if you want to know more about the master plan method. To learn how you can use it for your home. To plan a mid-century remodel to fit you life and budget … come to the master class. It’s gonna be on Saturday at 11:00 AM central. I’m sharing everything I believe about how to plan a mid-century update that will last without remodel overwhelm. One that will stand the test of time. And that you will love and that you can manage and afford right now.

So are you going to be there? Get your name on the signup list right now. I’m so excited to talk about all of that with you and for now get dreaming. I would love for you to comment with what you dream of for your home.

What is your sort of bottom line vision for a house that sets your heart beating faster? Is it a house that’s really open and welcoming to everyone in the neighborhood? Do you want your house to basically flow out into the front yard? Or is it a refuge where you come back after doing what you need to do in the world and only you are held inside that space? It’s just for you and your family. Or somewhere in the middle? Which is it gonna be for you? I would love to hear about that. So let me know, and I’ll see you on Saturday.

That pretty much says it all. If you’d like to see a diagram of the step to the master plan method; and how those first three steps theoretically go together, but still there is this logical order that I recommend. You can do that at the show notes page, go to midmod-midwest.com/806. Beyond that I just really want to see what the masterclass. If you or anyone, you know, is planning to kick off some mid-century remodel per projects. This year. I only teach this content for free in the totality of the one hour masterclass a few times a year. Now is the moment.