4 tips on living in your home while it’s under construction.

A lot of people think about the possibilities of renovating their living space.  

To some, it’s extremely daunting.  You know who you are. You’re the one who sees mail all over the counter and dishes in the sink and you freak out. Yep, I am also one of those people.

Some are just the opposite, the mess doesn’t really bother them.  Everyday there is mail all over the counter and dishes sitting in the sink, big deal, right?  Life goes on.  Yep, you know who you are.

So, for those of you who can’t stand a mess for longer than an hour, listen up.  I have some tips for you.  

Complete your kitchen renovation in phases.  

Before we started any work, Bryn and I sat down and drafted a plan of action.  This consisted of what we were going to do, the cost, the items needed, and the time frame of completion.  We could have torn the whole thing apart and then built it back up again, but the thought of having a non-working kitchen for months made me cringe.

So, for the most part we have had working appliances the whole time.  They might not have been the cleanest or looked the prettiest, but they worked, and Bryn was still able to cook us a delicious meal every night.

Here are our kitchen phases:

Remove old backsplash, trim, desk and unwanted cabinets Paint walls white and shiplap the walls Paint and stain the shiplap Refinish all cabinet bases Build cabinet doors Finish cabinet doors Drywall giant hole in the wall and prepare for the backsplash Demo floor, install new flooring Order appliances and install appliancesBuild two new cabinets, finish cabinets and install Remove existing countertop, build and install new Tile the backsplash Install the range hoodInstall hardware and shelving Install trim, crown molding and new doors Install electrical outlets / light switches Install curtains or blinds


We are about half way there.  All of the appliances are installed and working, except for the microwave.  That will be installed at a later time.  The cabinet doors are currently being built.  Next up is deciding which countertop to build and building some new cabinets to fill a few empty spaces.

Once we complete our kitchen, I will be able to tell you more about our expectations, mistakes, cost, and discoveries. But for now, having phases has worked for us - maybe I will have a different opinion once we finish!

Clean up each night.  

I will admit it, I am a clean freak.  Well, sort of.  I don’t enjoy deep cleaning. I do scrub my floors and showers when I need to, but for the most part, I am more of a ‘put everything in its place’ type of person. I love baskets. I love boxes. I love plastic tubs.  A clean house is a happy house, and my house is usually picked up.

I know what you’re thinking - just wait until you have a few little ones running around. I know, I know.

So, cleaning up each night. When things are a mess and are bound to get messier, it seems counterintuitive to clean, right?  Well yes, but no.  I found it extremely helpful. Each night after we were done for the day, I cleaned the floor, organized our tools, wiped off the counters, put away dishes, and picked up as much as possible.  Two reasons. First, I needed that peace of mind.  Second, it helped keep the overall mess under control. You will feel better about the overall mess, I promise.

Ask for help.

While you may not want to, trust me, it’s awesome.  We, Bryn, was more than willing to tackle the flooring project.  Oh my gosh, I am so glad we didn’t.  It was way more work than I expected it to be.  It probably would have taken Bryn and I weeks or months to finish the flooring, yet it took Traditional Floors 3 days.  With my patience already slipping, this really helped keep our project under control and allowed us to put the house back together in less than a week. Living in your bedroom isn’t as glorious as it sounds.

Also, we were originally going to purchase new cabinet doors online. I wanted them done and fast.  Well, after a little research, this didn’t seem to be the best way to go.  What if they were the wrong size?  What if I didn’t like them?  What if they took 2 months to be delivered?  Long story short, we decided to build our own doors.  While Bryn (and I) have built furniture for our home, kitchen cabinet doors were a new concept for us.  One of our neighbors does amazing woodworking.  He gave Bryn a quick tutorial and a wonderful tool and we were off the the races.

So, without the help of others, I would be going crazy and the project would probably have a finish date of Summer 2017. Instead, I was able to put my house back together (and my workspace) in time for Christmas. Well, except for the trim and outlet covers.  That may be Summer 2017.


Find ways to laugh and love.

Stress levels can be high when living in a messy environment. Although Bryn and I are both working extremely hard to finish our respective projects, sometimes it feels as if progress is not being made.  Sometimes things do not work or turn out the way you expect them to.  Sometimes you need to walk away or take a break. All of this is not fun. At all.

Alas, we often found ways to help each other along the way.  To laugh. And to love.  

Here are some of our ideas:

Paint messages on the wall Bring home flowers to brighten up the one room that isn't under construction Take the pups for a walk together Schedule a date night Work on the same project together Sing and dance in the messy kitchen (that always makes things better) Enjoy delicious meals each day (while eating on the floor, couch, bed, over the stove, whatever works) Spend time with the pups (after all, they are calming animals) Complete projects one at a time (having multiple large projects going on at once gets a bit too hectic)


So, the mess continues. We are making progress. And soon enough, we will have a beautiful home that we can sit an admire.  That is, until we decide to tackle something else.

Until then, do you have any more suggestions for living in a home that is under construction?