Don’t we all wish we had a time machine so we could go back and straighten out our younger selves? Or at least be able to tell him or her the things we learned the hard way:
1. That ceiling joists, rafters and other framing can be found simply by designing a lighting plan
Okay, so I might have my tongue firmly in my cheek here, but it’s unfortunately true. It’s a challenge to determine framing in an older home with rafters and blown-in insulation, especially when you’re not the one going up into the attic. Double that if it’s a second-floor. However, expect to adjust the positioning of any recessed can lights and warn the clients in advance. Is it really our fault that the electrician now delights in providing me with up-to-the-minute joist-finding percentages? Stud-finders, phttt. Who needs them?
2. That the items I fuss over go in smoothly, but the ones I think are no trouble turn out to be trouble
Sometimes, Murphy hates us and likes whacking its stupid Law over our smug little heads. This will apply to every order double- and quadruple-checked, the handle count, the carpet layout, the baseboard, and that darling little design that no longer seems so darling.
3. Don’t be so proactive to correct a mistake
Mid-way through the project, you’ll be short of a) molding b) a door panel c) 2 pieces of tile. This is not because you made a mistake in ordering; things happen on a project. (Or, yes, you made a big fat glaring error. You’ll make a few of those. You’ll always be able to fix them. Don’t stress so much.) Maybe the stick of molding got crushed in shipment or has a big, dark knot in the center, or the door panel was a last minute addition or the way the tile setter set the tile was to compensate for some ugly pieces.
Here’s what will happen: the cabinet installer will phone you on Monday to say he’s short one piece of toe kick. On Wednesday, he calls to say the door to the right of the dishwasher is damaged. On Thursday, he can’t find the back paneling. On Friday, he found the back paneling. Okay, I’ve laid this pretty thick, because this is rare, but the point is, don’t get all super-efficient at ordering as soon as something’s missing. You’ll spend a ton of money on unnecessary shipping, everything will come in separate packages that could go astray, and you’ll spend 4 times as long on something that could be done all at once.
4. This also applies to answering emails
Wait, grasshopper…otherwise the speed-of-light messages whipping back and forth will give you whiplash. If there are 4 people on the email, give them a chance to answer. Also, don’t answer before you have all the facts. And make sure you’re clear. It’s hard to interpret nuance but it’s easy to get upset at something that wasn’t intended.
5. That there will be a point in the remodel when we all need a martini…
In the biggest glass we can get. The project may be going along swimmingly, but about 3/4 of the way through, we all get tired of the dust, noise, and mess. Breathe. You will get through it. It’s the darkest before the dawn and all that. Did I mention a drink?
Although I doubt my younger self will listen. She knew everything then. I should probably tell her that the older she gets, the less she’ll know, but eh… She’ll figure that out herself. One day.