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Hammering, dust and paint fumes, oh my!

As an interior designer, I LOOOOVE a home renovation project, but as a homeowner I know it can be an endless nightmare to live through… especially with kids and pets running around. I always joke that I am part designer, part psychologist, so I thought I’d put this list of tips to keep you sane during the process.

I’m an “expect the worst, hope for the best and you’ll never feel disappointed” mentality when it comes to home renovation project in my own home. Even though I only use contractors that I trust, I know things can come up and there can be delays and situations that are out of their control.

Prepare your home for the dust storm.

Have the contractors drape and isolate whichever area they are working on to contain the dust as much as possible.

Have them make walkways in and out of your home with paper so footprints, tool marks and dirt coming in and out of the house don’t get into your carpet fibers and damage your hard floors.

Change the AC filters before the project gets started and right after to make sure dust docent accumulate in your AC system and spread dust to the rest of the home. If your local climate permits, you can even shut off your system to avoid ANY dust to get in and just tape up the vents.

Set your budget and always add a 10% cushion

It can be soul crushing when you have saved $10,000 to renovate a special area of your home and a problem arrises where you have to throw more money at it to make it work. I always advise my clients to keep %10 of their total budget for any additional materials, equipment rentals, hotel stays or anything else that might happen during a renovation. If nothing happens, you have a little more cash in your pocket, which is never a bad thing!

Always add 3-5 days of cushion for delays

Pre-covid this was always a rule of mine, but now in covid times especially. We are seeing so many delays on materials, furniture and even manual labor that we have to expect delays. I recently had a home that delayed 10 days, and it was because the previous wood flooring that was being removed was glued on there SO tight, that it took them additional days and equipment to remove the flooring, prepare the concrete underneath and replace damages to the baseboards that were also glued and nailed on unexpectedly. You never know what you’re dealing with when you start demo.

Set up a safe zone where you can find solace and peace

I am having renovations done to my kitchen and cannot even access my refrigerator to get water. I have set up pour guest bedroom as storage, a coffee bar and our mini fridge with drinks and snacks. I also kept our bedroom free of anything so that if I need to escape the chaos, I can go in there and forget my house it turned upside down.

Consider a staycation to avoid fumes, dust and “no-go" areas

There are some moments where you say, “enough is enough… I need out!”. My kids LOVE a hotel stay and I know most do. Choosing a hotel close by so you can go back and forth to check on the house and pick up additional clothes would be a good option. I always suggest getting one with a nice indoor or outdoor pool you can enjoy so you don’t feel confined to the room. There are also plenty of pet friendly hotels that will even accept your furry family member to join in on the adventure. Sleeping in a clean, plush hotel bed and ordering room service for breakfast sure beats waking up to fumes and dust from a renovation. It also allows the crews to stay later in your home and finish the job quicker.

Keep your eye on the prize!

You WILL get through it! When you feel consumed by the renovation chaos, just picture your beautiful design that will come to life and picture how you and your family will be enjoying your new space for years to come and dust free!


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