Designers Secrets to Surviving New Home Construction

Last year my husband and I began construction on our new home! While I’ve been helping clients navigate their new construction process for years, personally going through this experience, with my new husband, has given me more insights, empathy, and stories of both hilarity and anguish.

Throughout the next two Home and Garden sections I will dive into some of the most important aspects of building a new home. I’ll share some of the things people don’t always tell you – the good, bad, and of course, the unpleasant.

My husband has always encouraged to me to have more patience. I knew it was something I needed to work on but didn’t realize how much of it I needed for us to build our  home. In the construction “world” it is VERY important to have patience. It’s a challenge to be organized and communicate clearly in this field of work. In construction, each step in the process hinges on something else getting done. When something is back ordered, or it rains so hard that your dirt is now soup, the rest of the scheduled work is on hold. It is an absolute domino effect.

Embrace (some) Pessimism: One of the ways I managed to survive, was not getting my hopes up. This winter was a great test of patience. The amount of snow was something no one could have anticipated; it derailed the schedule and put us two-three months behind. It was hard for things to get done on our new home when no one could get into our driveway! 🙁 To combat the unknowns – back orders, the weather, etc., being mildly pessimistic leaves one pleasantly surprised when items come through on time!

Memory Making: When I was struggling to find patience, I tried to remember…. Someday I can tell my future kids that we built our home in the worst winter in 20 years and it won’t even be an exaggeration! One evening we were so tired of shoveling snow, we decided to take a break and make a sledding run on our property. Our sled run zigzagged down an embankment, over a large pile of snow and into a creek bed with trees. This adventure happened in the dark with our headlamps! (see picture below)

Cushion Your Timeline: Expect, and plan on, everything taking longer than you anticipate. Yes, the contractors are doing everything they can do to get your project moving along. But More often than not, unforeseen things come up that will affect the timeline and schedule. For example, if a electrician says it the wiring will take one week, pad the electrical  schedule by inserting a couple days prior and three days after the “one week”.

Apply these four tips for surviving new construction to better prepare for any home project, not only new construction. Next month’s topic: Compromise. It’s a “biggie” and one of the most important aspects of new construction and home renovation (especially for newlyweds)!


Your Local Interior Designer of the Gorge

Ashley Hinkle

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