Your Survival Guide To Living Through A Home Reno

Designer Amber Lewis give us the honest scoop.

Your Survival Guide To Living Through A Home Reno
Photographed by Tessa Neustadt for Amber Interiors.

Oh home renos. While they look amazing when they're over, there really is nothing easy about the process. You could go into it dreaming that all orders will come in on time and you'll be fine balancing your life without a working kitchen, but that's most likely not going to be reality. Renovating your home involves having to be flexible, spending more money than you might like to, and plenty of patience.

Yet, there is a way to get through them somewhat smoothly. Amber Lewis is one creative lady who knows how to play that game. As the designer behind Amber Interiors, she has orchestrated plenty of renos for clients and is even going through one now in her own home. So obviously she is the perfect person to ask for guidance. Whether you're considering a new project in your home or are currently working on one now, read ahead for your guide to keeping it cool.

Lonny: What is your number one piece of advice for any homeowner going through a home reno?
Amber Lewis: It’s hard to pick just one piece of advice, but I’d say the most important thing is to go into the process knowing that it’s going to be the long game and you have to be patient. You are about to get working on a huge project, that will most likely take a while, so mentally prepare.

There will be so many things that don’t work out the first time around — timelines get pushed and deliveries get delayed. My point is, things happen and it’s really going to test your patience. Stay calm and schedule a botox appointment immediately.

What lifestyle changes should we expect?
AL: So many things! It will obviously differ if you’re living in your home during the renovation or renting, but it will definitely take some time to adjust to your new daily routine for a minute there. Everything from your commute to dinner decisions — it’s all going to change for a minute, but it will be 100% worth it in the long run.

Your Survival Guide To Living Through A Home Reno
Photographed by Tessa Neustadt for Amber Interiors.

Are there any questions regarding schedule/logistics that people should ask their contractors/designers before things go underway?
AL: Always ask about schedules, ask them to be upfront you with, and follow up with them if you want updates. Be understanding that schedules shift and deliveries are many times out of their control, but check in with them regularly!

What are some unexpected costs that come with renovations folks should be prepared for?
AL: This can truly come in anywhere. You could change your mind about a material after it’s installed, the manual labor can end up taking more time than expected… the list goes on. Factor in a bit of wiggle room to your budget if possible.

Your Survival Guide To Living Through A Home Reno
Photographed by Tessa Neustadt for Amber Interiors.

If someone is still living in their home during a kitchen reno, are there any fast fixes you would recommend while waiting for appliances to be installed?
AL: Honestly, take out and eating out. A mini fridge is totally an option too, especially if you have little ones and need to keep a few things handy around the house. I’m a huge fan of the no-cooking life during my own renovation, because one, I hate my rental kitchen, and two, I’m crazy busy these days, and three, it’s all about Sakara Life for me and my fam. It’s so delicious and healthy.

Do you have any personal anecdotes from your own home reno you would like to share?
AL: Oh, I am in the process of a full renovation of my own house right now. Let me just say, it is not easy to design for yourself. I am literally debating options with the client ALL the time (yes, I am literally debating with myself every day). We are in a rental for now, eating Sakara Life every day, and I am freaking praying that the home will be completed before the end of the year so we can really feel settled. Oh, and that reference to the Botox appointment up there? Next appointment already scheduled, so you will never know I’m stressed.

I am Lonny's Senior Associate Editor. You can find me writing about interior tips, scouting out the coolest new spots, and rallying behind amazing female entrepreneurs. You can reach me at shelby.wax@livingly.com or on Instagram @shelbywax.
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