How to survive a big renovation—and stay sane. 

By Melanie Mannarino
October 04, 2017

I’ve been dreaming of a kitchen expansion since I moved into a house with a tiny galley kitchen more than 10 years ago. The reno would be epic. My vision: I’d blow out the back wall, expand the current space, add a first floor bathroom (a must for visiting parents with aging knees and a sure-fire improvement that ups resale value!), and make sure the entire room is lefty-friendly for me (without being overtly so... again, resale value).

And now that I’m in the middle of my dream expansion? Here’s what I never dreamed of: Living without a kitchen for weeks on end and creating makeshift meals for my family using only a microwave, toaster oven, and the one steak knife I didn’t pack away (in a location that has now completely slipped my mind and may, in fact, be the Upside Down). I am actually tired of restaurant meals and takeout. I’m itching to bake. This project feels epically long.

But I’ve learned a few things along the way. Things I’d like to share with anyone contemplating a kitchen redo, whether making over your existing space or building a new one. (I’m also writing this down in case I decide to do it all again in 10-15 years. I suspect the pain and suffering of a renovation might be akin to childbirth: Once it’s all over and your world is improved immeasurably, you forget all about the hard parts.) Here, a few pointers: 

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