my kitchen renovation
When my husband and I decided to update our small galley kitchen, friends and family warned us that living inside the remodeling process can be stressful. We optimistically thought we'd be different. I grew up in a constantly-remodeled old house, and couldn't remember it being much of a problem. Besides, I've written about so many renovation projects that surely I would be able to avoid common pitfalls like miscommunication and indecision. What could go wrong?
Quite a bit, as it turned out. Don't get me wrong-- the contractor was great. (We aren't DIY types, sadly.) We're very happy with the way the project turned out. But living in a one-bedroom apartment when the kitchen is unavailable turned out to be somewhat inconvenient. The contents of our kitchen sat stacked in our living room for three weeks, taking up valuable space and providing lots of obstacles to trip over. We grew tired of spending money on take-out food and restaurant meals. And though we were pleased with the contractor, his crew, and their work, when you don't have an upstairs or spare room to retreat to, having people in your home all the time can start to wear on you.
Of course, none of this is news to anyone who has ever lived through a renovation. But I guess it's just something you have to experience yourself to truly understand. I'm sure that any architect or builder who has done his/her own residence or office can relate. Now that I know what it's like to be a client, I have a much deeper understanding of the complex and personal relationship between homeowners and those who are helping them to get their homes the way they want them. And while the project (and its attendant stress) is over, I hope my new perspective remains.--m.d.