Do as we say, not always as we do

I've been suggesting ways homeowners can keep their sanity during home renovation projects for years, and boy have my words come back to haunt me. We expanded the Angie's List campus earlier this year to include a long-vacant building. About 30 colleagues and I moved offices there, and like many a home remodel, our new digs weren't finished before we moved in.

Not only were we competing with loud power tools, we didn't have a working bathroom, water cooler or coffee machine for more than a week! I had to ask the crew to stop drilling so I could do an interview with a radio station about - what else - home remodeling; how many people are doing it; and how they should prepare for it. Another time, I was in the middle of an interview about radon when another crew member started pounding away on a cabinet fixture behind me.

None of the construction chaos was our contractor's fault. It's just what happens when you take on a big project, as many of you will find out this year. According to our annual survey, you'll spend an average of $11,250 on home projects this year; 75 percent of which will be on renovations, rather than repairs. And most will involve the kitchen or bath.

Go to and click on the tips tab for suggestions (if we'd only followed all of them!) on how to make life livable during renovation. If this is your first big project, check out tips on how to hire the most reliable help possible.

Happy remodeling!

by Angie Hicks, THE Angie of Angie's List.

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