Reno Notebook / By Jennifer Malise / July 30, 2018
Should I Stay or Go During a Renovation?
Six Sweeten homeowners weigh in
When you’re planning a renovation, one of the main points to consider is how you’re going to minimize the disruption of daily life. If you’re renovating a kitchen or bathroom, there might come a time in which access to the room and its facilities is limited or nonexistent. Some things we simply can’t live without (running water, electricity, wi-fi), so moving out before work begins is probably your best option. Not only will it make things easier for you, it may also speed up your project since your general contractor won’t need to worry about scheduling around your life. But if the work being done won’t affect your needs in a major way, then you might be able to stay and live through it. Rather than take it from us, read on for the stories of six homeowners who moved out—or stuck it out—during their renovation.
Sophie and Michael’s new apartment layout
Living in an open-plan apartment became an issue when Sophie and Michael needed to create personal space for their 2-year-old son, Zacharia, and a baby girl soon to arrive, so they planned on building walls to create two bedrooms. Because of the lack of privacy, the couple decided to move out during the renovation. They were able to find an Airbnb nearby and stayed there for two weeks while construction was underway. Although it was a short window, their contractor managed to stick to the timeline despite minor delays, getting the home move-in ready just in time.
Zoe and Arvid’s apartment combination
Combining their apartment with the unit next door eliminated the option of living at home when work began. Since the scope of work extended beyond demolishing walls and the two existing kitchens to build a new one, Zoe and Arvid moved into a short-term sublet. When the lease ended before the work was done, the couple embarked on an Airbnb-hopping adventure before living on-site for the second half of the project.
Lindsay and Roger’s updated kitchen
Renovating the kitchen while 9 months pregnant made getting around the apartment a challenge for Lindsay. “You think you can live through it for a week or two, and then realize how long a week or two really is. It would have been a nice break to go somewhere where there wasn’t dust and tools and boxes everywhere,” she said. To make it work, she moved everything from the kitchen and living room into the nursery. For future renovators, she recommends going away for a weekend during heavy construction.
Ed and Alicia’s remodeled duplex
Moving in while the renovation of their kitchen and downstairs bath was still ongoing had its share of pros and cons for homeowners Ed and Alicia. One of the positives of living in the space during the process was the realization that the master bath needed attention as well. On the flip side, trying to keep their dog, Roxy, out of trouble during the four weeks they spent on-site was challenging at times.
Olivia and Greg’s remodeled co-op
Dealing with pressure to stay on schedule while remodeling their home, Olivia and Greg chose to move out. “We had tools and dust littering the baby’s nursery just two weeks before Olivia’s due date, which definitely made us all nervous,” Greg said. The decision to leave during the renovation helped speed things up. Work finished in time for the couple to enjoy their Christmas together before giving birth to their new baby, Max.
Nikki and Chris’ apartment renovation
Choosing to live at home during the remodel meant that Nikki and Chris had to get creative to manage the challenges of being in the space mid-construction. “Through this experience, we showered at our friends’ homes, brushed our teeth at local coffee shops, and ordered from Seamless four times a week,” Nikki said. But it was all worth it to see the daily progress and watch the couple’s vision come to life. The routine became so natural that the couple’s pug started waiting at the door each morning to greet the contractor’s team when they arrived.
Still not sure what to do? We’ve outlined the pros and cons of sticking it out vs. moving out during your renovation.
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