Susan Fernandez, a mother of two in Rye Brook, did a kitchen renovation in 2005. At the time, she had a one year old and was pregnant with her second child.
"The contractors that we were using were very careful in putting up plastic so the kitchen we were renovating was well sealed off from the rest of the house," Fernandez recalls.
Zaccaria agrees that the dust from a renovation is always a challenge. "Dust is a huge factor for people, for children and adults. It's actually one of the biggest stress factors," he says. "We always put up plastic to protect against dust, and in some cases we have even erected partition walls for additional protection."
For Fernandez, organization was the key to staying sane during the two and a half month renovation. "I would tell people about to do a kitchen renovation to be more organized because you won't have access to appliances and you'll have to plan your meals better," she advises. She recalls that she stacked her canned goods in milk crates and put the least used items on the bottom, and made the everyday items more accessible.
For Rothman of Larchmont, managing her children and construction also took a lot of planning and organizing before the contractor actually started work. As the contractors were working on the second floor to create the new bedroom and bath, the family lived in two of the three existing bedrooms and used the youngest child's room for storage while the fourth bedroom was built. The lack of space resulted in her needing to pack up her family's clothes and toys well before the renovation started.
As the Rothman family did their renovation during the colder months, they had some challenges that a family doing construction during the summer would not face. "If you can, do a renovation when it's warm, so the kids can go outside," she advises. During the winter, she adds, "You have to be flexible and creative, as there are just some days when you can't stay in the house."
From the perspective of her three boys, having contractors in the house was a thrill. "My middle son would follow them around and ask questions," she says. "He wanted to help them."
According to Zaccaria, having contractors in the home can be a benefit. "Most little kids are fascinated by the process," he says. "People in letters of recommendation sometimes discuss the familiarity that their children had with members of the team."
Rothman agrees. As the contractors were there every day, she says her family developed a nice rapport with them. "You see them all the time and they become like members of your family," she says.