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The Challenge of a Remodel

Remodeling is exciting. It’s fun to make design choices. It’s creative and absorbing. It’s rewarding to make a dream a reality, but it’s also chaotic, messy, and challenging.

Canada & Klein never lets a homeowner operate under the illusion that a remodeling project is a “walk in the park.”

“It’s a major disruption in my clients’ lives,” Jeff Cohen said. “Strangers are going to be in their home for weeks or months at a time. That’s why we take precautions to minimize our clients’ stress.”

On the remodeler’s side, cleaning up every single day makes a enormous impact.

“All our jobs stop well before the day is done to allow for enough time to clean the site,” Jeff said.

Communication between the homeowner and the remodeler is also critical to a smooth, less stressful experience. Canada & Klein uses a number of communication methods including an onsite communication board that allows for immediate daily correspondence between the lead carpenter and the homeowner.

Home remodeling taxes homeowners’ emotions. Here are a few of Jeff's favorite tips for reducing the stress level:

1. During a remodel, your home, your nest, is disturbed. Gone is the refuge at the end of a long day. Instead, you have disorder. It’s stressful to go for long periods of time without a respite of peace and quiet. Jim suggests “getting away” for a bit. Go for a hike, go to the gym, take a class. Go on long weekend or a vacation during a remodel.

2. Schedules can break down during a remodeling project. The cabinets you fell in love with are back-ordered due to a strike in South Carolina. The plumber’s wife just gave birth to triplets and he took the afternoon off to be with her, setting back the hook-up of kitchen sink and garbage disposal. The snowstorm in Minnesota delayed the delivery of the countertops... It can go on and on sometimes. So the feeling that you’ve lost control sneaks up on you. Intellectually, you understand. (After all, if you were in the hospital with triplets, your husband had better show up!) But emotionally, it’s tough to stay calm.

What to do? Canada & Klein's way is to take positive, decisive actions. At the start of the project, communicate your needs openly and honestly with our team. You have the right to question or challenge any decision made. Establish a two-way method of communication that is reliable such as email, faxes, handwritten notes at an established place in the home. Don’t rely merely on voice messages at either end as they can be forgotten, or erased from systems, etc.

3. Dreams versus reality is a great stress inducer. Don’t romanticize the project. It’s not a fantasy. The more you expect a certain outcome, the more you may be disappointed. Maybe there isn’t room for a trash compactor; French doors cost more than you anticipated; your budget can’t be stretched to cover the 8-person hot tub. Try to set realistic expectations within your budget. Be sure you are extremely candid with your contractor about spending limits so that the first set of designs doesn’t have to be scaled back after you’ve fallen in love with those French doors.

Remodeling doesn’t have to be an emotional rollercoaster. With a good contractor who’s sensitive to your expectations and needs, and is adept at communicating before and during the process, remodeling can be exciting, fun and rewarding.

©2006 Biz-comm, Inc. Reprinted with permission.