Laughing all the way – 10 things I learned about house remodeling (and lived to share)

August 5, 2011

By Pat Detmer

1 If you are not actually changing the footprint of your kitchen, then according to my status-conscious friends, it’s not really a “remodel.” But you know what? No matter what you call it, it’s still a big, giant pain in the butt.

2 If you can’t find your favorite 15-year-old cutting board a month after moving all of your stuff from the kitchen cabinets to the garage and back, then just face it, honey — it’s gone.

3 If the brand new refrigerator has an irritating whine when it runs, your significant other will claim that he can’t hear it at all, which I find very hard to believe.

4 If you’ve had knobs on your drawers for years, consider adding them to your new cabinetry or risk fingernail loss from trying to pry the cabinets open.

5 If you are on good enough terms with your ex-son-in-law to have him act as your contractor, then be prepared to have your hair curled by tales about your young adult and single grandsons, things that you never ever hear from your daughter and never see on Facebook because you long ago adopted the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” grandson philosophy, which includes never visiting their Facebook pages unless someone is dying or being hospitalized and they’re not answering their mobile phones.


6 Any change after 20 years can be difficult, even if the change is a good one (says the woman who is still second-guessing her choice of cabinets.)


7 If you’ve lived with construction-grade hollow-core doors for several decades and then replace them with substantial capital D “Doors,” and if you and your partner both work out of home offices, then be prepared when opening and closing them during the course of a normal day to hear your partner yell out things like, “What the are you doing down there, anyway?” whereas previously, you could operate in complete silence and anonymity. Which means no more sneaking chocolate from the pantry.


8 In any quote on interior remodeling, there should be a line item for EBCD, or Excessive Butt-Crack Display, with a sliding scale of cost adjustments based on viewings. Either that or a promissory note.


9 If you have not started to make changes in a house that’s a couple of decades old, consider not doing it at all, because here’s what will happen: the new kitchen reminds you that the carpet is showing its age, the new doors make the original windows look like crap, the improved pantry makes you say “Hmmm” when you look at your upstairs closets, the fresh kitchen furniture makes you wonder about those living room chairs that you bought just after you got married … and on and on and on. You get my drift. It’s like dominoes.


10 It might just be easier to move.

You can reach Pat Detmer or The Sainted One — who honestly believes that the cutting board will show up one day — at

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One Response to “Laughing all the way – 10 things I learned about house remodeling (and lived to share)”

  1. C Marshall on August 15th, 2011 10:52 am

    Very funny list, Pat!
    Number 10 is a great option!

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