What to Expect

Preparing for a remodel project consists of more than planning, design, budgeting, construction drawing, engineering, and permitting.  In addition to all of the above, one should plan to take care of themselves during the construction phases.  Following is a perspective with tips on how to Avoid Remodeling Stress Syndrome and Prevent Remodeling Fever.


Avoiding Remodeling Stress Syndrome

Now entertain conjecture of a time midway through your remodeling project.  Perhaps you have chosen to experience a kitchen remodel.  Dust partitions separate the work area from the rest of the house, yet you found construction dust in the far reaches of your home where no work is going on.  Microwave dinners no longer have the appeal they once did.  Washing dishes in the bathtub or basement sink is a hassle.  The project has been delayed because moisture ant infestation causing structural damage was recently discovered.  You are late for a very important business meeting at work.  You cannot find your shoes and your car won't start.  All of a sudden you have reached your limit and you lash out upon your spouse, "You wanted to do this remodel, I wanted to take a vacation instead."


You are now suffering from a common ailment called RSS Remodeling Stress Syndrome.


The fact of the matter is that you have lost sight of the romantic image of what will be your new kitchen, which you willingly elected to purchase.  It is not fun anymore and you cannot wait until it is all over and the racket and daily occupation of your sanctuary by trades people has passed and you can get back to normal.  You question, "What is normal?"


To avoid RSS, the best advise I can give a client/owner prior to and during this process is first recognize that what you are experiencing is self inflicted.  And second, but most important, is to take care of yourself.  Exercise, take your vitamins, pursue your hobbies, go dancing, or get a massage.  Make a list prior to remodeling of weekend field trips to parks or other recreation areas and events that you will attend during construction.  You can always invite yourself over to a friend or relative's home for dinner just to get away.


Remember you have chosen to do this.  While remodeling is an elective process, it can become very stressful if you allow it.  You will get through it, and hopefully the value of your enhanced lifestyle will wash away the self inflicted sting of any stress you experienced.


Preventing Remodeling Fever


The train station atmosphere of a remodeling project can lead to remodeling fever.  The main symptom of this temporary affliction is feeling a loss of control that results from disrupted routines and the impact on your personal space.  The best way to prevent this fever is to prepare well, remember that "this too shall pass," and focus on the progress being made.  A few other suggestions from remodeling pros:


  • Prepare for inconvenience.  A remodeling project can turn your home and – on some days – your life upside down.  A kitchen remodel will, of course, affect meal planning.  But a little ingenuity and some culinary shortcuts can lessen the impact.  Set up a temporary cooking quarters by moving the refrigerator, toaster oven, and microwave to another room.  Arrange a dishwashing station in your laundry room.  If the weather is warm, fire up the grill and dine alfresco. 
  • Designate a safe haven in your home where you can escape from the chaos and commotion.
  • Guard against dust.  During a remodeling project, dust has the unfortunate tendency to appear everywhere from lampshades to plates stacked inside your kitchen cabinets.  To keep out as much dust as possible: 1) Seal off doorways and stairs; 2) Turn off central air or heat when workers are sanding and stock up on extra filters so that you can change them often; 3) Have deliveries made through a designated entrance; 4) Use doormats and temporary floor coverings where appropriate; 5) Remove anything that might get damaged by the dust or at least cover it with plastic drop cloths that are taped shut.
  •  Maintain a sense of humor, remember that certain things are out of your control and it's best to laugh rather than upset yourself about things like the weather or delayed delivery of materials. 
  • See the remodeling process as an adventure.  Tell the kids that you are "camping in" and transform inconvenience into fun.  Along the way, celebrate as different stages of the project are completed.  The day the drywall is completed, for instance, could be marked by a nice dinner out!

Preventing Remodeling Fever was used with permission from National Association of Home Builders website.