Plan your remodel like your last perfect vacation.

16 min read How is a remodel like a vacation? Well, if you’ve ever planned a vacation that was truly perfect for you, then you already know how to plan your remodel.

I’m often asked, “What does it cost to remodel a kitchen right now?”

Wow! That depends on so many factors. 

I might as well ask you, “What does it cost to go on vacation?”

Well, you might tell me that depends. Are you planning a sort of staycation to visit a few museums from an Airbnb in a nearby city? Or are you backpacking across South America? Or touring the luxe cities of the Mediterranean? Is it a package cruise or a DIY adventure? 

There are as many types of home remodels, as there are different ways to travel away from home!

But there are shortcuts and ways to simplify planning a remodel…just as there are ways to plan an easier vacation.

You can make it simple when you go in the right order. 

So, grab your Mai Thai and let’s break it down! 

In Today’s Episode You’ll Hear:

  • How understanding your why helps you plan for YOU – whether it’s a vacation or a remodel. 
  • Why you need to know just enough about where you’re going to make things easier for yourself. 
  • The right way to focus your planning for a realistic vacation…or remodel. 

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Resources to help you plan your remodel like a vacation

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Read the Full Episode Transcript

Summer is coming. You may be planning some travel; you may already have planned it and be looking ahead to your upcoming trip right now. I love to travel different trips with different purposes. And I rarely regret the way I’ve spent my time.

Now I don’t plan the right trip for anyone else necessarily, but I am good at planning the perfect vacation for myself. Can you say the same? If so, then I want to let you in on a little secret. You can use the same skill you have to plan a perfect vacation for yourself to plan your own perfect mid-century home update. Let’s talk about why.

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 1209.

What did it feel like when you had your last great vacation or travel experience? Look, the last few years have been crazy busy. So maybe you’re reaching back in your mind to something before this. But you’ve been off on a great adventure or a relaxing retreat, or you’ve already got one planned for later this summer. If you know how to make a perfect travel plan for yourself, then what I’m going to say to you today about travel and remodel is going to resonate. And congratulations, you get it.

If you found your last several trips away from home less than satisfying, you might get a twofer out of today’s episode because I’m going to talk to you about the principles of planning a trip away from home that’s tailor made to your preferences and your needs. Right at the moment that you take it and use the same principles talk about how to plan a remodel that’s perfectly suited to the life you want to lead the house you’ve got right now and your own style.

And if your question is, Della, this isn’t practical, I want to talk about timelines. I want to talk about budgets. What can I afford? And when can it happen? Then I’ll point out this, I could no more tell you that without knowing a little more about what your remodel should be, what’s included in it, etc. Then I could tell you what it will cost for you to go to Europe and what you should pack for that trip without knowing whether you’re trying to go on a backpacking adventure or a foodie cruise.

Those questions will be easily answered more accurately, more quickly and better as soon as we know a little more information. So let’s get into it. Today we’re going to talk about how you can think about your favorite travel experiences. Perhaps come up with some ways to make your next travel even better and perfect your master plan. Yes, I said master plan because we’re going to use the same steps to break this down both your house and your trip. Two quick things before we start.

This episode began as an aside an illustrating paragraph that I drafted for another episode to be delivered later about how to fast track your remodel by using the steps of the masterplan method even lightly to expedite decisions very rapidly. But I fell in love with a metaphor maybe I’m dreaming about travel for myself right now. But I know that you can use these decisions to very quickly and very cleanly make your remodel better. And eventually as I was thinking about this more and more, I just realized I had to do an entire episode on the topic vacation season is upon us.

And the other thing I wanted to let you know is to give you the heads up that the price for ready to remodel our masterplan self-guided program is going up on June 1. That’s because we’ve been adding a lot of new components to the program and extended support that lasts literally for years with ongoing monthly Office Hours calls and we needed to course correct to make sure the cost of the program matches what we’re putting into it. Before we raise the price of the program though this is your chance join right now to get all the new benefits but at the previous price so if you’ve been on the fence about whether ready to remodel is right for you, then I want you to reach out to me send me an Instagram DM anytime in the next couple of weeks.

I would love to talk to you about this program and how I believe it will make your masterplan planning process better smoother, faster, and you will love your home improvement more when you’re done. That makes this week the perfect time to go check out my free masterclass planning a mid-century remodel to fit your life and budget. I recorded this class for you the person listening to this podcast right now. It has everything you need to know to set you on the right path for a great remodel.

And in the program, I dive deeply into the steps of the master plan that we’re touching on today. In this episode, I will share the mistakes during that class that way too many other homeowners are making when they update and exactly how you can avoid them and plan a regret proof remodel.

By the way, if you’ve already watched the masterclass This is the perfect time to follow up shoot me an email or Instagram DM asked me your questions about the program. If you watch it this week and have questions, I’d still love to chat about it with you. Okay, enough about that. As always, you’ll find the show notes with links to the references I’m making or to watch the free masterclass at midmod-midwest.com/1209. You’ll also find a transcript of what I’m going to say here.

It’s great to think about the beautiful places you’ve been and try to incorporate those into the home you want to live in every day. But today we’re talking about the way to plan, and remodel is similar to the way to plan a vacation because a lot of people instinctively try to plan to remodel in the wrong order.

And they do this because they haven’t done a lot of remodel planning before. They might not see the fundamental logic of trying to lock in decisions like pick your kitchen tile before you know how much of an overhaul of your entire house you’re planning to take on. Or even people will ask, what will the budget of the remodel? The question I’m often asked is, What does it cost to remodel a kitchen right now? And my answer is, wow, that depends on so many factors.

And I might as well ask you, what does it cost to go on vacation? You would tell me that depends. Am I planning a staycation? Or to going visit a few museums from an Airbnb in a nearby city? Or am I backpacking across South America or touring the Lux cities of the Mediterranean? Is it a package cruise or a DIY adventure?

There are as many types of home remodels as there are different ways to travel away from home. But there are shortcuts and ways to simplify planning a remodel, just as there are ways to make planning a vacation easier. You can make it simple when you go in the right order.

So here’s another question you can’t answer. Look at it this way. If I asked you to sit down and come up with a packing list for your trip, you would start thinking of everything you could possibly need to be comfortable outside your home. Before you could set a packing list, you’d have a lot of questions. Things like isn’t an adult only trip or a family vacation? Where are you going? What region of the world? What season of the year in that place? Are you aiming for high end comfort where everything will be provided or an exciting adventure where you need to travel light.

Now, maybe you don’t plan your vacations this way. But perhaps you could. And honestly, if you don’t want to, that’s fine. It’s not a problem. If you want to plan a vacation in a long, winding way, that might be part of your fun. But there are a couple of key pieces of information about a vacation you’re dreaming of that you need to know before you can finalize things like ticket prices and packing lists. It doesn’t matter if you plan your vacation in exactly this pathway. That’s not my point.

But I think you’ll find that if you knew something about each of the following steps about your last great vacation, you would know that that vacation was going to go better. And if you’re sitting here thinking, I’ve never planned a vacation this way, by asking what I wanted to feel at the end of it, then you’re welcome. You’re about to have a better time on your next vacation than you ever had before. Whether it’s a Mediterranean island hop or an overnight trip to Milwaukee.

So let’s break it down. What do you need to know before you go on a truly satisfying vacation? And before you say Della, I went on a vacation to visit the in-laws recently and it wasn’t at all my ideal vacation. Pause. This metaphor doesn’t work for that. Please rollback my previous statement to plan a truly satisfying vacation. And as much as I love to visit my family visiting them is not necessarily the same thing as a vacation.

A truly great vacation begins with the first step in the master plan method. It begins with a dream. It needs you to set your own priorities. If you’re really going to love a vacation, you’re not going to roll the dice and hope you get the kind of trip you’re looking for.

You need to establish for yourself. What’s the mood you want to experience? Is this about adventure or relaxation? Is it an adult only escape or a time for your family to come together and make memories they’ll remember forever? Establishing your why is essential for success. And it’s the first step.

And remember, this doesn’t have to be hard. It doesn’t have to take weeks of soul searching. You know this answer in your bones. Probably it’s not something you have to struggle to establish. And neither is setting up the dream phase of your remodel plan. These aren’t tricky questions, it’s just a chance for you to say out loud what matters most to you. And to check that what matters most to you is at least in partial alignment with what matters most of the other decision makers in your remodel, or your vacation.

Let’s stick to the analogy. To understand how this works. I’ve had a long standing policy when I get together with my best friend of 20 years. Many years ago, when we were young and strapped for cash, we planned to get together. Our whole plan was basically a plane ticket, I would simply arrive at her place. And we would do together whatever was going on in the other person’s life at that time. 

On one of those visits, I went to visit her and two other friends. We were staying in their crowded apartment, and we helped them move from one place to another. It wasn’t even the purpose of the trip. We didn’t come to help them move. I just happened to have free time in my academic schedule. And they did too. So we planned a trip around a move. My friends really worried that they were asking too much of us and no one was going to have a good time on our short, hurried minimally budgeted trip.

I remember clearly, we were sitting in the booth of a restaurant talking through the logistics of what needed to happen to make their move happen and they were so stressed out because they worried we might be stressed. I wasn’t feeling stressed at all. I was delighted to be there. It was so much fun to see them in person (this was pre-Zoom), see their faces, not just hear their voices. I was going to help them transition in their lives. And I was going to do a little work, a change from studying.

I don’t remember who said it out loud the first time, but we realized we had a mantra for that trip. Agenda Item number one was being together. Everything else was secondary. So it didn’t really matter that we were not lying on a beach, we were sorting knickknacks into budget boxes, we were going to have a good time because Agenda Item number one. This has been the recurring theme that I’ve used to enjoy countless vacations with my friends since then.

No, it doesn’t mean that those trips with my friends are super thoroughly planned in advance. In fact, it often means the opposite. And itinerary isn’t the point for that kind of a visit. But sometimes it’s exactly what I need for a vacation for my life. What I want to get out of a trip is just to be with the people I love most.

Other times what I want to get out of a vacation is more complicated than that. Sometimes it’s harder to lock down what I really need and why I’m willing to take time out of my regular life and pay the travel cost to go somewhere else. But in every case, thinking about the why is never time misspent. Done right, it can establish the value of everything you’re doing and speed up and essential process of all the decisions.

So that’s why it’s the very first step in the master plan method. Dream. If you already know your why, the answer might be incredibly clear to you. The value of this stuff is simply to get it out of the open and check it with the other people involved. If you don’t, I have an easy series of brainstorming exercises inside of ready to remodel that I’ve created over the years to help pass clients and students walk through the process of figuring out what might be most important in their new home, what kind of life they want to live, why they’re planning to spend the cash for a remodel instead of living in the house the way it is.

It’s okay if this dream step is both the most important and one of the easiest. It is the most skipped part though of planning any remodel and I’m afraid it’s too often the most skip part of planning a vacation. But the thing is, you won’t be happy unless you are getting the kind of trip the kind of remodel you’re looking for. And you also want to check as early as possible in your planning process that you are envisioning your dream lines up with a dream of the other people traveling along with you.

Now the next thing you need to know before you can budget and packing list and plan everything out to the detail is a little more about the place you’re going. This is the Discover phase of trip planning and remodel planning. It takes more or less depending on your preference and the type of trip. But it all comes back to the one size does not fit all nature of travel and remodels. You will want to do perhaps a little research into the weather travel safety recommended Specialty Equipment how you get around.

Look, I’m obsessed with this analogy of using a vacation plan to plan a remodel, planning a home, the discovery phase might be for you. This might be all about documentation. Compare taking a tape measure to every part of your house to making a table of all the various boat and train and bus connections in your destination city. Or perhaps if you’re more interested personally. In background, you might do research into the history of your house or research into the history of the area before a great trip.

The point is, you don’t need to become an expert in every aspect of the remodel or the place you’re going. You’re not trying to become either a professional contractor or a local in the place you visit. But doing no prior research to your destination will result in a less good trip. Even if you live for surprises, you’re unlikely to want to be surprised by having brought completely the wrong items for your intended experience. So make sure you take a little time for discovery as you plan your trip or your home update.

Now the next thing you’ll need to know is style. We call this phase distill in the master plan method. And when you know how you want to feel when you get home from your trip, and you know a little more about the place you’re headed. It’s time to tune the experience. What’s the feeling going to be while you’re there? What’s your travel vibe? Are you looking for in the chic comfort, or anonymous, placeless luxury? What will make this trip work for you?

Two very different people can visit the same place and have completely different experiences there. If you plan to take a nightlife or museum life, rough it with a day pack or roll in with enough suitcases to necessitate a luggage cart. You’re not going to have fun on the wrong kind of trip. But again, this is not hard to answer. The core of this question is simple. So all you need to do is ask it of yourself and not try to read your own mind. Or ask your partners in planning your trip or your remodel to read your mind for you.

Once you’ve got those things established, now you get to have a little creativity in the draft phase of a master plan in the draft phase of planning a trip you’re attending to consider your options. You want to do research about more than you will actually have time to do because you wouldn’t want to think about you’ve got to five day trip, you’ll pick the first five items on TripAdvisor and just do those things, that’s not necessarily going to be the best result for you. It’s also not the time to be too strictly adherent to your hypothetical budget.

Like a remodel, if you think about a trip only in terms of what you can afford, if you for example, set how much you want to spend on the entire trip, and therefore an average daily budget. And then you don’t plan any activities that exceed that average daily budget, you might miss out on something amazing, you will never have a chance to do again, this is where you might want to find those splurge worthy items. And then think about later how you can budget in some areas and spend more in other areas in order to balance out the trip you’re really looking forward to.

It’s always a good idea to well, when I’m remodeling, I like to plan three times as many things as I might do the Goldilocks, small, medium and large options for each area. And when I’m planning a trip, I do sometimes think about three times as much in the realm of where I could go, what I could do with those places, and how it all fits together.

Once you pull these things together, you will start to develop that’s the final stage of the master plan process. Pull all your plans together and nail them down. When you’re traveling, this is where you secure your tickets, your lodgings and your local travel. This is where you make your packing list. This is where you weigh one option against another to see how it fits into your budget.

Now, this is where the metaphor might break down for you a little because depending on how you like to experience travel, you might be a little more freewheeling in a travel experience than you are in a remodel, it’s not really a great idea to know all of the items you could buy at Home Depot and then roll up to a big box store in the morning and figure out what you plan to do for the day. As a remodel plan. That is not a successful strategy. But you might have a list of all the potential places you might visit in a certain city and wake up in the morning and decide because it’s sunny, you want to go to the park today and a museum tomorrow. That’s the sort of freedom you have in a travel experience that I don’t recommend in a remodeling experience. But I love to do just that. For me. When I’m going somewhere. I am going to beat the streets I am going to walk I am going to see architecture.

I typically walk between 10 and 20 miles around cities, neighborhoods or museums on any given day have a destination travel experience. I’ll want to hop on public transit and dash from one place to another. I can remember one day of my amazing trip to southern Japan with my little sister when we woke up on a hostel on Kyushu that’s the southernmost island. hopped on a train spent the middle of the day turning him over Hiroshima in the noonday sun hiking all the way out to a long industrial piers and tour the NACA waste treatment plant which was designed by architect Yoshio Taniguchi. Super beautiful, the most beautiful garbage facility you can possibly imagine if that’s not too hard to imagine. It was lovely. Then we walked back to the station, got on another train went up to the crash wiki historic district just before it closed down for the evening.

And then back on another train – yay rail passes – out to our hostel for the night on Takamatsu on Shikoku Island, so three islands one day, three cities don’t regret it a moment. Now to plan for that day, I had a list of perhaps 30 Different places with their addresses transit times public transit operations, we had a number of different trains we could get to get from one city to another listed prescheduled for ourselves. And then during the day, we just rolled with the punches and what more we felt like it and caught up on our snacking and our resting while we rode in splendor on Japan Rail.

What I had was not a plan, I had a wish list. And this is the sort of thing where you might want to plan every detail of your trip fully in advance the way you plan a remodel, choosing everything that you’ll do at the beginning of the master plan before you start in the actual work. Or you might even find that when you know everything you might do on your house, and you know which things you must do the most important project areas you start with those is phase one. And then you see how you feel How tired are you at the end of your vacation day? How tired you at the midpoint of your model? Do you want to keep going? Or do you want to call it and go back to the hotel?

All right. Here’s the point in case well, I don’t think you missed it, you won’t easily plan your dream vacation if you start off by fixating on tiny details instead of the big picture. If you neglect to research the pros and cons of the place you’re going if you don’t ask yourself whether your goal is to come home rested, or to feel like you gave your trip everything you’ve got. The same is true for your remodel. I want you to know that you made the best choices for yourself and for your home.

And the way to make that happen is to follow the step by step process of the master plan method. So dream discover distill draft and develop your way to a perfect mid-century home update or a perfect vacation this summer. And while you’re thinking about that, make sure you’ve checked out the free masterclass planning a mid-century remodel to fit your

Life and budget. I made it just for you. And I want you to know all about ready to remodel and how it can help you before the price goes up on June 1. All right, check out the transcript for this episode or the link to the free masterclass at midmod-midwest.com/1209. Or just hop over to my Instagram account and send me a DM to let me know if you found this to be a useful metaphor. And how much you enjoyed your last trip that you already know how to plan a dream vacation, or has this episode got you inspired to plan a little differently in the future.

Catch you next week, mid mod remodelers!