Home Remodeling: A True Test of Patience and Love

Home remodeling is not for the faint of heart. Having worked two years on a residential remodeling magazine a little more than a decade ago, I knew I needed to mentally prepare myself for my own kitchen addition and remodeling project, which also included digging a basement under the addition, refinishing original hardwood floors throughout the open-concept living area of our home, and building a new deck and patio.

Thanks to my work on that residential remodeling publication, I knew my project would take longer—and cost more—than anticipated.

BEFORE: retrofit home‘s Editor Christina Koch just experienced her own kitchen remodel.

Because of the busy-ness of my chosen contractors and COVID-19, my kitchen remodel took longer to get started than my husband Bart and I expected. We signed on the dotted line in February 2020, and the basement was dug for the kitchen addition in September 2020. That gave me seven additional months to mentally prepare myself. I went into my kitchen remodel in full Zen mode. Nothing was going to fluster me!

However, I made one fatal error: I neglected to mentally prepare Bart.

After all, Bart remodeled two houses he lived in before we met, and he is usually pretty laid back about all things related to my designs (aka he has no opinion on my choice of colors or finishes; how lucky am I?). We finished our basement, which included building a bathroom in raw space, and re-sided our house together. These projects were easy-peasy. I had no reason to expect our kitchen project would be different.

Our existing kitchen was demolished on Nov. 19, 2020. Yes, I remember the date clearly because I would not have a functioning kitchen again (no sink, no range, no dishwasher) until March 22, 2021. I remember that date clearly, too.

By January 2021, Bart was no longer helping to handwash dishes in a basin in the bathtub. And we were getting into arguments about stupid, little things that I will blame on the stress of living through what only can be described as a filthy, disgusting mess of our former home. I can’t even recall how many times Bart said there had been nothing wrong with our kitchen before: Why did I need this remodel?

Seriously, there should be a support group for married people going through kitchen remodels.

Ladies and gentlemen, I’m happy to report we ultimately made it through all the arguments and the stress and the dirt. March 19 was the date our countertops were installed. It was a Friday, so we waited patiently through the weekend for the silicone to set so our plumbers could install our sink and dishwasher. Even though the kitchen remodel still was nowhere near complete on March 22, I again had a functioning kitchen and my marriage was saved. What a relief!

AFTER: Despite the stress of the remodeling process, Koch and her husband are thrilled with their completed kitchen. Read about the project on retrofit‘s blog.

I talked so much about my kitchen remodel with John Riester, retrofit’s publisher, that he encouraged me to blog about it on retrofit’s website. There have been 15 posts so far, about everything we’ve done to our home. Not only do these posts give you an inside look into the materials I handpicked for my own home, but the blog posts also kickoff this magazine. From unusual building types turned into living spaces to total revamps of traditional houses, retrofit home will inspire you with unique ideas and materials for your next project.

Although my home remodeling project continues as of this writing, I have learned so much along the way that will benefit future issues of retrofit home. (You can probably expect some advice from the homeowners’ perspective about how to keep your clients in full Zen mode throughout the remodeling process!)

Enjoy the inaugural issue of retrofit home!

Take a Peek Inside Our Editor’s House

Like millions of Americans stuck at home during COVID-19, Editorial Director Christina Koch and her husband were motivated to improve their home. Read about their kitchen remodel, which began in November 2020 and hopefully—by the time this issue reaches you—is complete.

Read the blog series.

About the Author

Christina A. Koch
Christina A. Koch is editorial director and associate publisher of retrofit.

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