I recently went on a ski vacation. At Reagan National Airport, before taking off, I performed my typical earnest search for the perfect magazine to entertain me while en route.
Because I love my work and am passionate about kitchen remodeling and kitchen design, I never succeed in keeping my vows to take a break from my profession while I am on vacation. That’s why I selected the magazine “This Old House” to read on my flight.
Turning the pages, I stumbled upon an article titled: Survive the Marital Stress of a Remodel. Ah, additional confirmation that I am not imagining the tension I sense among couples during the kitchen remodeling process!
Fast forward to my return from vacation: I met with my extremely nice clients who are remodeling a true-to-form Tudor home in North Arlington. The meeting’s purpose was to review and discuss the basic kitchen design I had prepared and presented to them before I left. Several telephone conversations later, the other half of the couple asked me, out of the blue: “Do you ever see people get separated or divorced during a kitchen remodel?”
I about fell over, as the article had been forefront on my mind and to hear my client utter these words seemed to be beyond coincidence.
Fortunately, my client confided that they were not on the brink of separating, but he was concerned about the health of their relationship because they were experiencing:
- major stress over trying to make so many kitchen remodeling decisions harmoniously,
- strong emotions regarding the power struggle over who should be “leading” or “following”, and
- different approaches in establishing a budget they both could agree on.
Thankfully, this couple possesses a high degree of emotional intelligence — which is a definite asset to bring to any relationship during a kitchen remodel.
So what are the lessons to be learned from this cautionary tale?
- When embarking on a kitchen remodeling project, stay focused and calm.
- When the tension rises — as it inevitably will — take a break, visit or revisit another topic, and come back to the more difficult topics later.
- Stay away from the “blame game”.
- Trust your kitchen designer. He or she wants you to be delighted with the outcome, so if you find yourselves really “stuck”, ask your professional kitchen designer for their opinion. He or she will steer you in the right direction.
Sandra Brannock, owner of Expert Kitchen Designs, has been happily married to Guy Brannock for seven years. Together, they have endured and survived their own trials and tribulations during their own home renovations. Sandra provides expert kitchen design services to discerning homeowners throughout Northern Virginia, Maryland and metropolitan Washington DC.