We just finished the bulk of our kitchen and bathroom remodel project. There are a couple of things that remain. We need to install the shower curtain rod in the bathroom, the permanent countertops in the kitchen are getting installed at the end of the month, and we still have some trim work (window trim, crown moulding) that needs to be addressed in both rooms. But both rooms are functional. Both rooms are massively transformed. Both rooms make me immensely proud.

This remodel was a huge amount of work. Way more than I had anticipated.

Things that I didn't know when we started this project:

  1. Permits and inspectors are necessary and stressful parts of the process. I didn't know that they needed to check in at every stage in the project. Electrical - check, Framing - check, Insulation - check, and so on. Having to get each phase ready and then call for inspection slowed things down considerably.
  2. When you are doing the work yourself the "So, we need to talk to you about a problem we found" moments are not like the ones on TV. When TV renovators find out about a problem with the home, the contractor presents options and then resolves it with their 16 crew members, never to be spoken of again. When you are doing this on your own, and you find a problem, you are the only one (and maybe a helpful family member) that needs to muscle through the unanticipated problem. Often this problem is muscled through in a less than ideal way. Also, that problem doesn't just get "fixed" but sort of haunts you for the rest of the project.
  3. I greatly dislike getting onto ladders and lifting heavy items over my head, such as a 3' x 4' sheet of OSB or a 14' LVL beam.
  4. I simultaneously love and hate that I know what the electrical, plumbing and framing is like behind the walls in my home.
  5. My family members are more kind and generous than I had ever anticipated. We would have never finished this project or kept the level of sanity that we did (which was borderline at times) without them.

On some TV renovation shows, when the remodel is all over they ask the home owner if they would do it again. If you asked me 2 months ago when we were hanging and sanding drywall and the house seemed a million miles from ever being a comfortable home I would have said "Hell no". Now that we are out of the weeds and starting to enjoy the fruits of our labor, I can understand now how people would answer yes to that question.

Would I do it again? Absolutely. But I'd like to enjoy the house of my dreams for a couple months first.

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