Seven Ways to Survive a Remodel (And Save Your Marriage) Tips from Pisa Design, Inc

Remodels are tough on everyone. The house is out of order, the refrigerator is out of pudding, and the family wiener dog is out of sorts as he searches for his food dish. To help ease the stress of a remodel, we suggest you follow the list of tips below.

1. Invest in "his" and "hers" robes. During a remodel, your house in no longer your own. Everyone from Pete the plumber to Earl the electrician walks through your home at all hours with little regard for privacy. If you'd rather they concentrate on the work in front of them instead of you walking by them, we suggest you invest in some robes-preferable terry cloth for their comfort and thickness.

2. Stuff your speed dial with take-out. Even if the kitchen isn't part of your remodeling project, it's a good idea to create a robust file of take-out and delivery menus from local restaurants. Place settings and candles on a cardboard box where your dining room table used to be aren't motivation for anyone to prepare five-course meals. And you never know when you may find yourself without electricity, natural gas or water. Plus, delivery guys need the tips.

3. Get to know that guy with his name stitched to his shirt. Prior to starting your project, kindle a relationship with your local gas station attendant. Buying bottled water, dairy products and using the facilities will be a much more pleasant experience when you know the person behind the name. You may even get a smile every now and then.

4. Know when to drop everything and run. Just as you would for a double date with the couple across the street, devise a plan of escape. Even the best-run projects can try your patience and linger on with no end in sight. Tack the phone number and picture of a close friend or favorite hotel to your refrigerator (if you still have one). Knowing that there's an alternate site to the natural disaster that was once your orderly home may be all the therapy you need until the project is completed.

5. Hold off on conversations that start with "How was your day, honey?" Conducting heart-to-heart conversations around the dinner table during a remodeling process is like carpeting your bathroom-not a good idea. Even if you delay such discussions until later in the evening, you may find it difficult to concentrate as you gaze at the rec room through a hole in the floor.

6. Get-togethers are great-but not at your house. Family and friends, they mean well. But under no circumstances should you invite anyone over before the project is complete. Wait for the paint to dry before you break out the fondue set. Even if she wants to view the work in progress, you know full well Aunt Mabel is bound to say something about the entry tile that will send you into orbit and drop you back on Earth feeling sick to your stomach.

7. Do not open until X-Mas. You may be tempted to plan a party or host a family holiday shortly after the anticipated project completion date. Don't. If you thought picking out a faucet for the master bath made you sweat, try cutting up jicama for your party and then noticing a blotch of ceiling paint on the backsplash. Even under the perfect conditions, remodeling always takes longer than anticipated. There's plenty of touch-up work required up to a month after the tradesmen call it a wrap. And it's not like the perfect accessories are just waiting to be snapped up at your neighbor's garage sale. Our best advice to you is that you plan your first party six months after the estimated project completion date.

We hope these survival tips come in handy as you plan for your next remodeling project. If you're tired of survival tips and are looking for someone who will offer you a wonderful remodeling experience, hire top-notch professional interior designers or architects who come highly recommended by friends, family or associates.

Lisa Peck and Kristen Mengelkoch are partners and principal interior designers at Pisa Design, Inc. in Minneapolis, Minnesota. They are experts in both remodel and new construction residential projects.

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