Renovation Fatigue - Is There A Cure?

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Before and After - Sometimes the reality is different from what is expected. Did you know the art community has different thoughts about what Mona Lisa's true colors might be?

Designer Therapy Alert – When writing a blog post is better than having to schedule a session with a world-renowned psychologist:

A Few Unofficial Remodeling  Project Terms –

Fatigue: noun

1.        Extreme tiredness, typically resulting from mental or physical exertion or illness.

Renovate:  transitive verb

1.        To restore to a former better state (as by cleaning, repairing, or rebuilding)

2.        To restore to life, vigor, or activity.

A few, ~~years~~ months ago we began the process of renovating our kitchen.  I’ve shared a previous post, here, regarding the inspiration for the design.  I always caution my clients how challenging these kinds of projects can be, albeit so worth it in the end.  One never knows what may lurk beneath a floor, behind a wall, or between ceiling joists and in the attic.  Exploration can be done but there seems to be the little fellow named “Mr. Murphy” waiting to make his appearance.  Sometimes it’s just a short visit and other times, he decides he should hang out on the job site to keep us company.  Have a cup of coffee and a chat.  He never gets the hint he’s not welcome, either!

Coffee for the cure! Seriously, being able to savor my second cup in a clean space? Priceless! Oh, and the updated under cabinet lighting. Divine.

Coffee for the cure! Seriously, being able to savor my second cup in a clean space? Priceless! Oh, and the updated under cabinet lighting. Divine.

Planning helps us to handle those appearances with a “what if” approach.  Thinking of the worst-case scenarios and having an option for dealing with them.  No matter what, there is always a point where the malady of renovation or construction fatigue sets in and it’s at different points of the project for everyone.  Believe me; it also hits your contractor and interior designer as we strive to pull every piece of the puzzle, vendors, scheduling points, and service providers together towards the finish line.  The caveat is, we’re not going to sleep in those quarters nor are we waking up with greeting them - pre, during, and almost finished points of the “who-moved-my-cheese-where-did-I-put-that-fill-in-the-blank-item?”

Looks simple, right? This is a close-up of a kitchen island we designed and decided to go with a thicker top. Working in tandem, with all of the elements, meant we knew we'd have to adjust the drawers to be able to open under the drop-down of the counter face. The side element was impacted, too.

Looks simple, right? This is a close-up of a kitchen island we designed and decided to go with a thicker top. Working in tandem, with all of the elements, meant we knew we'd have to adjust the drawers to be able to open under the drop-down of the counter face. The side element was impacted, too.

Now, back to my own kitchen project . . . As I had shared, my cabinet maker has been heading towards retirement from larger projects, so mine was the last kitchen remodel he had committed to do.  (Cobbler’s Child Syndrome, right here.)  This knowledge was quickly shared and I hopped to it, making quick decisions on materials, got my design plans in order, and the demo ensued.  Yes, I had this “under control”.  No one can do it better than the pro that does this for clients, right?  Well, maybe except bringing in another pro to handle the job site meetings, overseeing the details, making sure someone read the work orders, etc., etc., etc. – and a daily cleaning crew.  Because I was in the midst of doing this for other clients, it made this process more challenging because I was living in it and through it, both professionally and personally. 

Mr. Murphy showed up in ways, not so over the top, but it was like the proverbial dripping of the water torture method wearing me down.  Toss in a few unexpected delays and flipping some important calendar dates where it altered business and family commitments; thus creating long working weekends and nights to catch up . . . I had to look for the utensils in the plastic storage container in order to proclaim, “Stick a fork in me, I’m done!”  (Tip:  A little sarcastic humor goes a long way in taking the edge off these situations.)  Is it 100% perfect?  Mmmm.  That’s a good question for someone who strives towards this being the goal.  Pondering the reality of it, what does that term mean in today’s world? 

A few years ago, we updated an awkward condo kitchen with a retro vibe and better storage. An easier reach for cupcakes, too! I remember it being a fun project and then also recall we had to go through a few cantankerous contractors to get to the prince we now have. Thankful that we're still working with this family, today!

A few years ago, we updated an awkward condo kitchen with a retro vibe and better storage. An easier reach for cupcakes, too! I remember it being a fun project and then also recall we had to go through a few cantankerous contractors to get to the prince we now have. Thankful that we're still working with this family, today!

 Lest it appears I’m not into the optimistic Rainbows and Unicorns way of thinking, it WILL be worth it in the end.  I’m already seeing that as we’ve cleaned up from the week of big pushes towards the finishing line. The under cabinet, LED tape lighting is in.  Yay!  No more old-school stuff.  The crown and base trim has been installed and most of the perimeter cabinetry is complete, sans a few glass doors.  My painter waved his magic brush and the botched walls and ceilings are crisp and clean again.  (Woe be it to anyone who even breathes on them!)  The island base should be delivered, next week and the tweaking of everything should be completed by the third week in June.  Being “worked in”, it turns out, doesn’t work so we’re on a get-it-finished deadline.  Flexibility shouldn’t mean stretching to the point of snapping.

It's a totally different experience working in new construction interiors. These clients were able to move into a full reveal. In a perfect world, I would suggest moving out during major renovations. The real world doesn't always afford that option. Meditating is now a daily ritual, along with power walking and arms swinging.

It's a totally different experience working in new construction interiors. These clients were able to move into a full reveal. In a perfect world, I would suggest moving out during major renovations. The real world doesn't always afford that option. Meditating is now a daily ritual, along with power walking and arms swinging.

I am truly grateful for this experience.  Not only for the fact I am fortunate to be able to enjoy a fresh, new kitchen and eating area but for the continued lessons it has presented to me.  They will benefit my clients, as we endeavor to bring the best of services.  These lessons will benefit the vendors with whom I work because we will continue to work on separating them from the rest in how they deliver in the smallest of experiences, which can actually make the biggest impact.  (Bring your own broom and duster to every job, right?)  I am in the process of updating our team as we move through some necessary changes.  Confidence comes from discomfort. 

Some pretty astute words of wisdom for any worthwhile kind of interior remodeling or renovation task, n'est–ce pas?

Some pretty astute words of wisdom for any worthwhile kind of interior remodeling or renovation task, n'est–ce pas?

Finally, as I continue to follow the definition of renovation in the form of restoring to a better, former state, it means I’ll be ever vigilant to keep some of my own needs on the front burner.  I’d rather not have to find that darned fork!  

I’ll share my take-a-ways on the cure in my next post.  Self-care is definitely near the top of the list.

ALL MY BEST! ~ WANDA

 
Melanie Marzon