Renovation Solutions: Survival tips for living while remodeling

Published: Friday, Dec. 20 2013 6:50 p.m. MST

“That way, I didn't have to worry about all three meals for all the kids,” she said. “Breakfast is easy — toast, cereal or oatmeal in the microwave. For lunch, the older kids would be in school so I would only have the younger kids to worry about. They were so young, they won't even remember how bad it was.”

Make as many decisions as you can upfront: Smith says it took a year to get all the plans and specifications done. She worked with the architect and an interior designer to finalize all the specifications. "I made 95 percent of all the decisions before we even dug the hole," she said.

"I didn't want to make any last-minute decisions. I knew with my family responsibilities I wasn't going to have the luxury of going out and pricing items that the contractor needed the next day."

At the same time, because she was living in the house, she was accessible for the contractor when there was a question. “Being on-site made it easy to meet with my contractor," she said. "I didn't have to pack up the kids to go talk to the contractor for 15 minutes."

Think safety

When you are living in your home during a remodel, safety comes first.

"Safety definitely was a concern," Smith said. "You have to make sure the job is cleaned up every day and that there are no nails lying around. We had a really great contractor who was always good about keeping his job site clean.” The family has a responsibility to stay out of the construction zone for the duration of the remodel no matter how much they may need that space.

Overall, living in your home during a remodel is not easy. It will take patience and a good attitude. “Sometimes we just needed to pack up and go to the park," Smith said.

"My attitude was, 'Just grin and bear it.' I knew it was going to be worth it in the end, and it was. It was all worth it.”

Ann Robinson and Annie V. Schwemmer are the principal architects and co-founders of a residential architectural firm focused on life-changing remodeling designs at RenovationDesignGroup.com. Send comments or questions to ask@RenovationDesignGroup.com

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