Most of us would love a newly renovated home, but surviving the dust, clutter and all-around chaos that comes with such home renovations can take a toll on even the tightest of couples. If anyone knows this it’s Bryan and Sarah Baeumler, or Scott and Sabrina McGillivray. Both couples have plenty of experience surviving a renovation together — on camera nonetheless — thanks to their respective shows Bryan Inc and Moving the McGillivrays. We’ve accumulated plenty of pointers on how to survive a reno just by watching these dynamic duos. By Amber Dowling
Watch Moving the McGillivrays and Bryan Inc. on Sundays, starting at 9pm e/p!
Know When to Go Head-To-Head
There’s a time to stand your ground and there’s a time to back off. Before you even begin the renovation process know what’s important to you and what’s not. According to Scott McGillivray, it’s always important to “pick your battles and don’t sweat the small stuff.” Trust us, there will be plenty of other stuff to sweat over in the coming weeks.
Be Realistic About Your Timeline
If your renovation is supposed to take four weeks, plan on six-to-eight weeks. That way if you’re actually on time it’s like winning the lottery. And if things are set back a little bit, well you’ll have a contingency plan in place. Discussing this with your significant other before the fact will make both of your lives easier in the long run.
Keep The Lines of Communication Open
Communicating with your spouse is by far the most important element of a successful renovation,” says McGillivray. “Making decisions without consulting your partner can result in some pretty big scuffles (or so I’ve heard…).” Before you even start any type of reno, sit down with your partner and agree on finishing touches, paint colours and any other design elements at the outset. That way you’re both still excited and clear-headed by the time you go to actually implement these things.
Listen To Each Other
Most of us listen to answer, but we don’t listen to learn. When it comes to your partner’s feelings, needs and wishes, keep an open ear. Even if you don’t agree with their point of view you’ll get further acknowledging their feelings and making an educated counterpoint than you would by talking at each other until you’re blue in the face.
Have a Game Plan
This goes hand-in-hand with communication, but it begins before that first lick of paint is even talked about. Consider everything that you want from your renovation, everything that could go wrong, what things will cost and what kind of a budget you can set aside for the unexpected setbacks. Having all of this in place ahead of time will ensure that both of you can handle the unexpected with grace and composure.
Make Time For Each Other
Remember your partner? You know, that person you love to pieces and want to spend your life with in your newly renovated space? Be sure to make some time for them throughout this whole process. Surprise each other with small tokens or kind acts. It’s always amazing how far a little massage to relive the tension can go.
Make Time For the Kids Too
If you’re also trying to handle kids throughout your reno, you’re definitely going to want to take time out for them. Kids don’t understand the stress, time and money commitments that come with renovations. To them they just know that things are off. Reassure them by taking time out to do some of their usual activities.
Involve the Whole Family
Or, include the kids in the reno plans. Hey — they’re never too young to learn a new life skill. Depending on their age have them help mix paint, cut wood or pick out hardware. It will be your family home, after all. The kids will be proud they had a hand in making it as beautiful as it is.
Teach Each Other Something New
If one of you happens to be an expert at renos but the other is a little green, now is the perfect time to help each other learn a new skill. Hey, there’s a reason for the saying “two hands are better than one.” Plus when both members of a duo feel as though they’re making a valuable contribution things tend to run a little smoother in the long run.
Be Willing to Compromise
When it comes to major elements like how many bathrooms to include, or what style of staircase to use (*ahem*), talk it out and make sure you’re in total agreement,” says McGillivray. “But for smaller things like hardware finishes and paint colors, be willing to compromise.” In order to get through this step, make sure your partner knows what’s really important to you, and that you know what’s really important to your partner.
Remember to Have Fun
If you can laugh at some of life’s stressful moments then you know you’re going to make it through to the other side. Hair moustaches might not be everyone’s jam, but look for the humour in whatever situation you find yourself in and things will go a lot easier for everyone.
Take a Break When You Need It
That means doing something for yourselves away from the reno site. This becomes increasingly important the longer the reno goes on. If you’re staying with family, check yourselves into a hotel for a day or two and get pampered. Head to an amusement park. Jam out to some karaoke and sip on some beers. Whatever it is you enjoy, make sure to do it. “Big renovations can be all consuming, so commit to not discussing the renovation for the night and get back into it the next day,” McGillivray adds. “It’s amazing what just a few hours can do.”
Remember There’s a Light At the End of the Tunnel
And that light is not a train. Eventually you guys will get through this and the dust will settle. When it does, you’ll hopefully have a beautiful home that really reflects your unique personalities, and reminds you why you’re such a rock solid couple to begin with.