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Collective Q+A: How Do You Stay Positive Through a Renovation?

The Two Flat during demolition

Are you in the middle of a renovation? Maybe you’ve just started, maybe you’re thinking of starting, or better yet – maybe you’re in the home stretch! No matter which stage you’re in, there’s no way around it: Renovations are hard. Between the endless micro-decisions, physical mess, money and that elusive timeline (what timeline?!), simply put, it can be tough to stay positive. But! When you’re on the other side, it’s pure magic. We’ve been through the thick of it – scratch that, we’re in the thick of it! – and so we thought, why not ask our friends how they keep their chins up?

This is our first Collective Q+A, a blog series focused on sharing voices other than our own to promote new ideas and encourage outside-of-the-box thinking. Today we’re asking, What is your best tip for staying positive through a renovation? 

We take a pause and head out for a beer or dinner. You don’t even need to get cleaned up first…just go.The Grit and Polish

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Cathy and Garrett, The Grit and Polish | Whenever renovation fatigue sets in and we’re questioning why we decided to renovate in the first place, we take a pause and head out for a beer or dinner. You don’t even need to get cleaned up first…just go. Get your eyes and mind off of the project for a few hours and hopefully you’ll be ready to start fresh in the morning. When that fails, we plan a party. There’s nothing quite like the threat of imminent guests to light a fire under you and their ohhhs and ahhhs over your progress will surely get you excited about the project again.

Find Cathy and Garrett on their blog, The Grit and Polish, and on Instagram @thegritandpolish.


When you get frustrated, envision the memories you’ll be able to make in your newly renovated space when it’s finished. Renovations are tough, but temporary. Beginning In the Middle

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Catherine and Bryan, Beginning In the Middle | Keep the end in sight, always. Renovations are inherently stressful, mistakes will happen, design plans will pivot, and the middle part – where you feel like you’ve made so much progress but still have so much to go – can feel like an eternity.  When you get frustrated, envision the memories you’ll be able to make in your newly renovated space when it’s finished. Picture yourself taking a bath in your new tub or sitting at your dust-free kitchen island or hanging out under the stars in your upgraded backyard.  Renovations are tough, but temporary.  When you’re finished, you’ll be able to enjoy the fruits of your labor for years to come and it will be amazing.  You’ve got this!

Find Catherine and Bryan on their blog, Beginning In the Middle, and on Instagram @beginninginthemiddle.


Having kitchen comforts is maintaining my well-being when everything feels torn apart and upside down.The Gold Hive

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Ashley, The Gold Hive | We’re currently living through a gut-job kitchen renovation (and during a pandemic, I might add!) so we’ve had to adapt during challenging times. I’ve managed to maintain a sense of normalcy by setting up a temporary kitchen in the dining room. It’s really functional and comes complete with a fridge, cooktop, toaster oven, pantry storage, and reusable dishware. It truly has everything but the kitchen sink! Sure, it isn’t perfect and the renovation is tiring, dusty, stressful, and messy. But having kitchen comforts is maintaining my well-being when everything feels torn apart and upside down.

Find Ashley on her blog, The Gold Hive, and on Instagram @thegoldhive.


Problem-solving becomes fun when you’ve accepted that things won’t be straightforward even when you think they will, and you’ll feel more accomplished for working your way through the challenge.Daniel Kanter

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Daniel Kanter | It took me a really long time to learn how to stay positive during renovations—truthfully it all felt like a slog, and the joy was only reserved for when things were finished (which, naturally, gets diminished because is anything REALLY ever finished? Newsflash: perfection doesn’t exist!). But this meant that I was neglecting to appreciate the process, and what I WAS doing instead of all the things I wasn’t getting done. So i think the first step to staying positive is accepting that things will move slowly, unexpected challenges will come up, costs will hit you where you don’t see them coming, plans will change, and mistakes will be made. Even though all of these things are unknown by nature, knowing they’ll almost certainly emerge during a project helps you avoid disappointment when they do!

Problem-solving becomes fun when you’ve accepted that things won’t be straightforward even when you think they will, and you’ll feel more accomplished for working your way through the challenge. While my to-do lists are always more ambitious than my progress, I don’t stress so much anymore about getting it all done in the time I think it’ll take. Bearing in mind that every step forward is progress toward the final product keeps the focus on all those small victories along the way—and getting anything done at all is a small victory! Take a minute at the end of the day to appreciate those little steps forward and eventually you’ll be appreciating the big victory of a job well done!

Find Daniel on his blog and on Instagram @danielkanter.

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  • Susan8.26.20 - 7:19 AM

    In the middle of doing a complete cosmetic redo of a house that hadn’t been updated in 30 years. Its across the street from me so the commute is short, and its for my aging parents who need a LOT of hand holding. TODAY is the last day I have to finish as .any final details as I can before the moving truck comes Thursday morning. There isn’t a single surface in this house that I haven’t worked on, and I’ve only had 3 weeks to get it all done. Right now I’m running on fumes and it’s been hard to stay positive. I just keep focusing on the fact that once they are settled, walking across the street to help them will be SO MUCH BETTER than where they are now. Thank goodness the house is only 1000sq ft or I’d be dead by now. Great post!ReplyCancel

    • Kim8.26.20 - 7:52 AM

      Wow, how incredible that you’ll be so close to them now! And all that hard work will have been sooo worth it.ReplyCancel

  • Michelle8.26.20 - 7:26 AM

    I’m totally with Daniel! I’ll walk by the pantry and remember what I had thought it was going to be and am even more please at what I made it once I overcame the challenges. Home renovations, especially OLD home renovations are all about problem solving and being flexible because things will rarely turn out to be what you thought, but it’s part of the fun. Now could you get someone over here to paint my double-height winder stairway???  My current problem… ;-)ReplyCancel

  • Dakwerken8.26.20 - 8:12 AM

    These stories are an inspiration for people struggling with their home’s renovations. Thanks for sharing!ReplyCancel

  • Adela8.26.20 - 8:47 AM

    You guys keep us motivated! We like that you share great ideas to make projects easier and love your positive vibe.  
    Thank YouReplyCancel

  • Joanna L8.26.20 - 11:04 AM

    During our 4 week bathrooms Reno a few years ago, we only had access to the laundry tub in the house to wash ourselves! That was definitely poor planning on our part, and banking on the fact we’d both take showers at work. On week three we broke down and booked a massage at a local spa, mostly to use their showers/steam baths circuit pre-massage. It was glorious.ReplyCancel

    • Kim8.26.20 - 11:45 AM

      That sounds WONDERFUL. How I’d love that right about now!ReplyCancel

  • Julia8.26.20 - 2:39 PM

    What incredible advice from all of these people that I look up to so much! I took away a few great reminders. Daniel’s advice about plans changing made me tear up. Can you tell we’re in the middle of it!? Hahaha Chris and I do a couple things–looking back at photos, giving ourselves 60 second vent sessions, and then also buying something PRETTY for the space that’s not even done yet. Sometimes it’s just the motivation we need to push through. ReplyCancel

    • Kim8.26.20 - 5:18 PM

      I love the 60 second vent sessions! Scott gives me 5 minutes (haha) and it feels SO GOOD to get it out and then MOVE ON.ReplyCancel

  • Julie Rossman8.27.20 - 12:10 PM

    I work professionally in construction, so my livelihood is the duration of the construction. I love it the problem solving and decision making and all the parts and pieces. Having a professional on your team can help with all the renovation fatigue and give you faith and hope and trust in a wonderfully completed project. It’s all part of the process, and the outcome is beautiful!ReplyCancel

  • Anna8.27.20 - 4:50 PM

    I’m not going through a renovation but I am unemployed due to COVID and in the job hunt stage. Daniel’s words made me tear up because I need to keep applying. Small progress is better than no progress. Thank you for sharing how to stay optimistic during these tough times. I needed this.ReplyCancel

  • […] here are some great tips about how to stay positive during a home renovation (we’ve definitely leaned heavily on tip […]ReplyCancel

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