Monday, June 5, 2017

Advice for Home Remodeling by Melinda Curtis

I know some of you have accomplished home remodels before (I've seen your posts). And I know some of you have been following my home remodel on Facebook. As we come down the home stretch, I thought I'd share some words of wisdom.

Move Out Logistically
When we began our remodel (3 months ago - argh!), we moved most of our possessions into our garage. I planned what went where, so that we could access our bureaus and clothes. This was one thing I did right. I was gone when Mr. Curtis moved everything out of the kitchen for the cabinet refinishers. He put things in boxes willy-nilly. Since the refinishers went three days over (7 days instead of 4) and over a weekend, I didn't cook because I couldn't find a frying pan.

Be Prepared to Babysit
The subcontractors we chose weren't supposed to work on-site unless we were there (liability issues). This wasn't a problem for me since I work from home. What I didn't count on was the chatter. Construction workers gab more than moms gathering at Starbucks. I could tell you who was having affairs, who had the least chance of getting a date, who had the best singing voice, what their political views were, and if they were well liked among their crew. I had guys ask me what I was working on, what breed of dogs we had, what our remodeling plans were, how many kids we had. And trust me, they weren't fascinated in me. They were more interested in having someone to chat with to pass the time.

The Satisfaction Guarantee
I grew up on a ranch and I married a man who grew up in construction. I know how to get things done around the house and I know how construction is supposed to look. But invariably, all the subcontractors wanted me to rate them on the spot the moment they finished. Usually, this was an online survey that they had me take on their tablet before they left. Since Mr. Curtis was at work and I was generally working while the remodel work was being done, I didn't have time to inspect their work (only one sub walked me through the house to show me what he'd done). One contractor told me his guys would get an additional 25 cents an hour if I filled out the survey before he turned in his paperwork at the office. I learned to walk the house in intervals after the flooring contractor shorted our boards in a few places. That way, I was more likely to spot problems and less likely to blue tape something. You generally have two weeks to call a contractor back for rework. We called one contractor back (because our energy efficient slider didn't lock). They've yet to return my call.

Don't Be Shy About Asking for Changes On the Spot
I love to paint stuff (walls, furniture, exteriors), but I was too busy this spring to paint things myself. The painter I hired didn't buy the paint I chose from Home Depot. He went elsewhere. He was surprised when I told him the kitchen cabinets were the wrong color (pea green, see blow and cringe with me). He was also surprised when I told him the wall color was too light. I'm not shy about pointing out my expectations aren't being met.

Hope my experiences help you if you ever decide to remodel. I'm happy to report we're almost finished! All I've got to do is putty nail holes in door trim and baseboard, touch that up with paint...and paint 11 doors! Piece of cake!

Melinda Curtis is an award-winning USA Today Bestseller. She writes sweet romance for Harlequin Heartwarming, sweet romantic comedy novellas and sexy traditional contemporary romances. You can download two free reads by signing up for her mailing list here. Her latest releases are:
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18 comments:

  1. Mel, the stuff you learned listening to the crew gab cracked me up. Glad your reno is almost done!

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  2. I hate everything to do with remodeling, but the only thing I know for sure is that would rather deal with contractors that with Duane & I doing things outselves. I'm shuddering right now with the memories. :-)

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    1. If you can survive a remodel together, you have a strong relationship. This might actually be our 4th...

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  3. Mel, this is so funny! Especially the construction guys' chatter and your husband packing up the kitchen. I might have extended that "lost" frying pan time for more than 7 days. Although eating sandwiches and take out does get old. I have been following your posts on FB. We are gearing up to do a bit of home improvement here. This is all great advice. Thank you!

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  4. Well, Melinda, you sure didn't exaggerate when you spelled out your advice! We did a major remodel of our cabin a few years back, and yours truly acted as general contractor (drawing the blueprints, hiring the builder and sub-contractors, ordering materials, overseeing every stage of the work--a challenge because the cabin is 2 hours from home--and if I had to guess, I probably said "What was I thinking!" at least a dozen times. Now that it's finished, though, we love the place even more than before, and it was worth every moment of angst. Almost. Wishing you a wonderful week! Loree

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    1. Loree - it sounds lovely and I agree it makes it more personal when you do it yourself.

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  5. What a lot of work and attention! I'm not sure I'm up for it--except for the takeout part. That could make it worth it. Good luck with your class.

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  6. I'd find it very difficult to work around all that construction-crew chatter. (Now, dog "chatter" I find enjoyable!) I bet it will all look fantastic when it's done!

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  7. Good lord you were able to work with all that gabbing going on? I vote you Superwoman!
    I had one painter and thought I'd go crazy. Now I'm convinced. I'm sticking with my very dated looks. I'll just get new towels for the kitchen!

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  8. wow we went thru this in 2006 for the kitchen only and man is it bad - the dust alone is awful!!

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  9. Considering how much "in common" stuff we have with our houses, I feel like I'm living through you, LOL. NOw I see how things could look without my tile...on the floor or the countertops, LOL. I wish I could remodel. Living in 1986 is getting old!

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  10. You didn't really give a horror story, so that was a good job. I never had one ask for a survey on the spot. I love doing things myself, which is why one of my bathrooms still needs paint.

    I hired a contractor to do the bathrooms, but I fired him when I saw what he was doing in the first one. Like you, I know something about construction and how things should look and his work was bad. Fired him on the spot.

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  11. That "immediate response" is something to watch out for. It takes a while to notice things. Good luck with the class!

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  12. "Construction workers gab more than moms gathering at Starbucks." LOL! Perhaps some good fodder for a future story? Thanks for sharing your tips. No doubt when all is said and done, it will look fabulous.

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  13. You're a stronger woman than I. I wasn't working when I survived an addition several years ago. If I'd been trying to write while all that was going on, I'm sure I'd have gone insane. The renovation is looking great, and inspiring me to get to work on our kitchen, which I've been putting off for years.

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