6 relationship-saving reno tips

By Chantelle Shervill

Photo by Photodisc/Thinkstock

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We all have our reasons for renovating, but the goals are generally the same: to revamp a room, inspire pride of ownership or increase the value of your home—or all of the above. Although there will definitely be trials and tribulations throughout the process, the result makes it all worthwhile.

Being married to CHW contributor Ryan Shervill, I live in a seemingly endless state of renovation chaos. To keep things moving smoothly, I’ve come up with a list of what I like to call “wife-saver tips” to help keep my sanity (and marriage!) in one piece when the sawdust starts flying. So, if you are brave (or crazy) enough to live in your house while you undertake that next major renovation, here is my list of simple tips to help you—and the rest of your family—get through it:

1. Involve the whole family: Plan your reno as a family, so everyone knows what’s about to happen. Renovations affect each family member, so handling opinions and resistance to change before things start happening makes the process go more smoothly.

2. Prepare your kids: You need to prepare your children emotionally for the inevitable upheaval. Little changes, such as reorganizing a child’s room or rearranging the furniture, can have an impact on their lives. Children need to see the value of the reno. Explain the benefits to them in very simple terms. Even if meltdowns occur, they can be defused with a gentle reminder of the exciting things they’ll love about the new space.

3. Be supportive: As the significant other of someone constantly in project mode, I can tell you that delays and unexpected issues can really wear on your handyperson. Be there to lend a hand wherever and whenever you can because, ultimately, completing a project together is that much more rewarding.

4. Let it be messy: Dust, dirt and grime are all part of the process. Just remember that (eventually) your house will be clean again. If you cannot handle the mess, take some time at the end of each project stage to clean up and start fresh.

5. Keep it together: Stay organized by storing all project-related materials in one location. File your plans, product sheets, manuals, trade contact information and paint chips in a binder to keep everything together.

6. Expect delays: There will always be delays: back-ordered materials, inclement weather and scheduling conflicts all affect timelines. I have come up with the following rule of thumb when it comes to completion targets: take the amount of time you expect the project to take, divide it by two, add this figure to your anticipated end date. If, by some miracle, the project is in fact finished on time, it’s a bonus.

When the dust is cleaned up and the tools are finally quiet and put away, step back and celebrate your accomplishment as a family. Who knows, you may even be inspired enough to start planning that next renovation!


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