The Relieved Renovator

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Now that our editor-in-chief, Lauren Purcell, is finally done with her kitchen renovation, she's sharing her thoughts on what she would do differently next time.

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Did This

1. Took a Vacation

During the dustiest, loudest, most disruptive phase of the renovation--the demolition of the old kitchen--I was at the beach. Smart move.

2. Relied on Expert Advice

Luckily for me, my designer understood my insane schedule, and for most big design decisions, she presented me with a carefully curated array of options (five paint colors, not 25), so I could make choices quickly.

3. Listed My Major Must-Haves

For instance, I clearly articulated my ideal appliance layout (fridge and range on the same wall); cabinet configuration (floor to ceiling); and flooring (cork). That helped streamline the process.

Shoulda Done This, Too

1. Planned Another Getaway Six Weeks Later

That's around the time I really hit my limit on living in my bedroom on toaster-oven cuisine and takeout Thai. By the time I was able to emerge from my lady-cave, I was almost too cooped-up and cranky to appreciate the beautiful new space.

2. Picked a Few Details to Focus On

Making choices from a limited selection was definitely efficient. But as it turns out, the aspects I love most about my new kitchen are the ones I got more involved with--like the ceiling fixture, which I picked out after a long, enjoyable afternoon at the lighting showroom. In retrospect, I wish I had done the same with a few other items. I think I'd love my backsplash even more if the tile felt like my personal discovery.

3. Mentioned the Little Stuff

What I didn't communicate very well were some of the details that make a big difference in my day-to-day. All my lights are on dimmers (big request), but the switches themselves aren't the kind I prefer--too fiddly. of course, they're easily changed. But next time, I'll remember to bring up anything I'm opinionated about, not just the biggies. Wait! Did I just commit in writing to a next time?