It’s Time to Wake Up from the Remodel Nightmare

By: Rachael Boyer

Dec 4, 2022

It is amazing the amount of remodel horror stories people have to tell.


The tales of contractors bailing mid-project, unforeseen terrors hiding behind the walls, and the dreaded unexpected price hike at the end of the project abound - and it’s enough to turn away from remodeling altogether after listening to it all.

Even remodel entertainment capitalizes on the fears of remodeling - with HGTV shows using some major curveball as a pre-commercial cliff-hanger time and time again. “The flooring material is delayed for 6 months…what should we do??” “That beam that will allow the open floor plan concept the homeowners want is an extra $12,000…how will we break it to them??” “There are ghosts living in the attic and they won’t leave…dun dun dun” (okay, we are exaggerating on that last one :)) But in all honesty - the favored narrative of a remodel project is how awful it is. And we think that’s giving remodeling an unfairly bad reputation.

Because remodeling truly can be an incredible experience. Not just a beautiful grand reveal at the end, but an actual experience you can look back on with fond, positive memories. Let’s not aim to simply survive a remodel - let’s love it from start to finish!


As in life, there are certainly parts of a remodel project that can be challenging. But with the right tools and the right team behind you, those challenges can quickly be overcome and could turn into one of your favorite parts of the remodel! Proving to yourself you can adapt and thrive, or coming together as a family to do so, is an empowering feeling - and gives you a sense of ownership in the process even if you aren't physically doing the work.

Take one of our recent main floor remodel clients...

Their open concept living dreams had been labeled “impossible” by a myriad of contractors before they found us. With a wall boxing in the kitchen that was 100% structurally necessary to keeping their house intact, and no simple solution to run a support beam in the ceiling, it seemed impossible to open things up for this family’s floor plan. But our team doesn’t give up that easily. We worked with the homeowners to develop a kitchen island design that had two pillars anchoring either side - creating a look that feels intentional and a beautifully open flow from room to room.


At another client’s whole home remodel...

Our Coatings Authority team was refinishing the trim. And when they went to remove it, they discovered an ant infestation hiding inside the window boxes. Now that was a situation that really could have fit in to a horror movie plot! But rather than experience the nightmare of weeks of delays and ants roaming freely throughout the house, we called our trusted pest removal team to come assist right away. And sure enough, they arrived same-day to not only mitigate the very visible issue, but insure that the infestation was contained and remedied for the entire house. We didn’t lose any time on the project schedule, and a problem was solved quickly and efficiently.

The point we are trying to make in sharing these stories is a simple one. The right team = dream remodel. The wrong team = potential for nightmares. A great remodel team will guide you through each step of the process…not just design and scheduling, but preparing your family for the process. Assisting with financing questions and set-up. Providing fixed price estimates that allow you to see what exactly it is you are paying for. Having protocols in place for tackling unforeseen surprises and explaining that to you up front.

Because what’s the worst part of a nightmare? The unknowns! Never knowing what’s coming next is a terrible feeling both in dreamland and the real world. When it’s your home being torn apart and put back together, you want a sense of control. You want the security blanket of knowing the schedule, understanding costs, and meeting the team members who have a hand in your project. And we know that it is possible to create this dream remodel scenario - because we do it for each and every one of our clients.


It’s time to wake up from the remodel nightmare and rest assured that your home is in the right hands. While there are certainly examples out there regarding terrible remodel experiences - there are plenty of homeowners who have successfully remodeled their homes and had a wonderful experience doing so. Our goal is to reset the remodel narrative and prove to you that remodeling does not have to be something that keeps you up at night.

To set you up for your dream remodel, we created a Dream Remodel List with items that you'll need to avoid the stereotypical nightmare remodel. Equipped with this list, you can confidently navigate the planning and process of your remodel project and create an experience you and your family can fondly look back on while enjoying your beautifully transformed spaces.


A contractor who promises you the moon and doesn't deliver results in a nightmare. From illogical timeframes to impossible budget assurances - you want to make sure that the team you work with is honest with you up-front. And if a contractor guarantees you a smooth remodel process, treat this as a red flag! Because bumps can arise along the remodeling road and that's okay! What you want to look for is a contractor who acknowledges the fact that hiccups may arise, and presents a structure for how to handle those unexpected issues quickly and efficiently. A dream remodel can still have issues, it's how they are dealt with that tips the scales from dreamy to nightmarish.


The last thing you want is to be gaslit by a contractor. You don't need someone trying to trick you into believing your remodel will give you a positive return on investment when it won't. You don't want someone promising you a ridiculously fast time-frame with no process in place to actually make it happen. And you don't want to start your project believing one thing only to discover the exact opposite. When you are interviewing contractors for your project, don't just ask a lot of questions - pay very close attention to how those questions are answered. If you feel like you're being fed a one-size-fits all script, that is not the contractor for you! Because your home and the needs you have for it are wildly different from everybody else - so the approach to your remodel needs to be retrofitted to you and your unique spaces. Having crystal clear answers to your questions up front gives you reassurance that your questions throughout your project will be answered with the same level of detail and accountability.


When you set up a phone call or in person consult with a contractor, do they show up? Are they on time? Do they provide you with the information they said they would prior to your time together? You want to see a contractor meeting these basic pre-project benchmarks so you feel reassured that your project will be attended to with the same level of consistency. When you call or email, are the responses efficient? Are all of your questions answered? If you feel like the communication is hit-or-miss before your project even starts, can you imagine how overwhelmed you'll feel trying to get answers when your house is torn apart? Avoid that nightmare, and seek out a reliable partner in your project from day one.


Does the contractor you are looking to work with have a showroom? Or at least a sampling of their work you can actually interact with? Pictures can be deceiving - and what looks pretty via the magic of photo editing can in reality feel cheap or poorly constructed. You'll want the opportunity to have the contractor prove to you that the cabinets they install are solid and built properly. You'll want to see that the custom coatings are applied correctly and uniformly. And you'll want to see for yourself that the design team can curate incredible spaces in a wide variety of styles, so that your home ultimately feels like yours. Quality can be found in everything from the materials to the way your are treated by the team - and you deserve that quality at every step!

Are you ready to start dreaming and stop preparing for the nightmare? Let's create the best possible remodel scenario for you and your home - and ditch the negative preconceptions around remodeling. We've said it once, and we'll say it a million times more - want you to love not only the end result of your project, but the process as well. And that is absolutely possible when you choose the right team. 

Download our Dream Remodel List to use as a tool as you explore your remodel contractor options. And contact us with any and all questions regarding the dreams you have for your home!