How to Remodel Like an Engineer


Here’s one of my favorite kitchens, built by Corona homeowner Rick Taylor for $7,500 during a three-week vacation.

But here’s the best part: Rick’s wife Stephanie did not want her household with two small children disrupted by the remodel.

6a00d8341c630a53ef00e54f124a058833-800wiTo address her concerns, Rick produced a spreadsheet showing her precisely how he could get it done in a short amount of time. And he pulled it off.

Has that ever happened in the history of the universe, where the husband was pushing the wife to do a remodel? I don’t think so.

If you want to execute a similarly well-planned remodel, here’s some advice:

1. Be an engineer (like Rick) or think like one. You must be annoyingly organized to complete a DIY project on a tight timeframe. This is not for artistic, go-with-the-flow types.
2. Get as much training as possible on installing cabinets, setting tile, etc., via workshops at home improvement stores, from TV shows, and with books and magazines.
3. Be willing to compromise. While Stephanie was fed up to here with dingy tile grout lines and wanted a solid surface counter, Rick determined that would blow the budget. As an alternative he offered her larger tiles with dark grout. She agreed.
4. Be flexible. When Rick discovered that the shade of laminate flooring he wanted was out of stock, he settled for another color.
5. Purchase and store all materials in advance, perhaps in your garage, so there are no delays during construction.
6. Don’t expect perfection. This is a problem for engineer types, who want and need perfection. Only professional craftspeople who do cabinet installation or tile setting all day every day will be experts. Know this, understand this, accept this.