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Talk to anyone who’s taken on a major remodeling project with a loved one, and you’ll hear about the stress and strain on their marriage.

It doesn’t have to be that way if you prepare to deal with potential problems before you start the job.

Make a Valentine’s Day resolution to get through your remodeling project with humor, lots of communication and a great optimism about how beautiful your home will be once the dust settles and you can cook on your stove again. Here are a few tips that might help:

  1. Get it done now. A lot of contractors are underemployed right now, so they’re ready to start your job. Because they’re not busy, they probably can finish up quicker, too. Quick means your home and routine will get back to normal sooner. 
  2. Know exactly what you want. Before you call a contractor, put your head together with your spouse’s and children’s and come up with a plan that takes everyone’s pet projects into account. Frankly discuss items, spaces and designs that you can’t live without. If someone’s must-haves get left out of the remodel, that person will resent it—and that will cause more stress during the project.
  3. Be flexible. Create an A list and a B list of products, so if a desired item isn’t available or turns out to be too expensive, you can quickly make an almost-as-good second choice. Same goes if your architect or contractor reveals that it’s not possible to do something you hoped for.
  4. Hire someone with remodeling experience to manage the project. A licensed remodeling company can provide the designer, plumber and electrician, get the necessary permits and keep track of when everyone needs to be at the house—so you don’t have to.
  5. Order a remodeling job that costs less than you can afford—but plan to pay 10 percent to 20 percent more than you expected. Money worries create the most stress during remodeling. Cost overruns are pretty common.
  6. Designate one family member as the point person for all of the contractors, and set a time each day for that person to share information with the rest of the family. The point person should keep a log and note every conversation with family or contractors about the remodel—so nothing gets forgotten.
  7. Ask the contractor for a timeline that estimates when the kitchen will be unavailable, the water will be shut off, crews will arrive in the morning and the job will be completed. Those times won’t be precise, but even estimates will help you plan dinners out and morning showers.
  8. Be nice. Keep smiling. And keep your sights set on the beautiful results. No need to add to the stress by losing your temper, making unrealistic demands or casting blame. 


  • Sanderson Ford

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