Mike Otto

Recently, I was discussing a kitchen remodel project in home in the Kenwood area in Minneapolis. I had walked into the house and was warmly greeted by both the husband and wife. I was even offered a cup of coffee.

As we sat down at the dining room table to talk about why they wanted to remodel the kitchen, the tone of the conversation changed.  As we started talking, I learned that they had lived in the house for 9 years but had bought the house with the intention of having the kitchen redone the first year.

Several job changes and two children later…well, the timeline didn’t happen they way they had hoped.

The kitchen was one of those old kitchens that had a horrible layout. Absolutely terrible. There were four doorways that led to the kitchen and every time someone wanted to go from one part of the house to another, they ended up walking through the kitchen.

The husband worked in the financial services industry and was worried about spending money on a kitchen remodel and recouping his investment.


The wife was fed up with trying to work in the cramped kitchen. Her children were starting to have friends over. And that meant even more people were walking through the kitchen.  Kids being kids – that also meant more dishes.

As we were talking about the situation, I could tell there was a lot of tension between them on this subject.

The trouble here was that both of them were right and had legitimate concerns. What do you do when there is a perfectly good reason not to remodel and a perfectly good reason to remodel?

How do you bridge the differences and get on the same page when it comes to remodeling your house?

Bridging the differences usually means finding some common ground.

For example, is moving out of your house an option?

If you sold your house, would you be able to find a nicer house with a kitchen you like? Usually this question is best answered by an experienced Realtor.  When you are talking with the Realtor, don’t forget to ask how the current problem in your house might impact the amount of time it will take you to sell your home. Also, don’t forget to factor in the costs that it might take to fix up the house enough to put it on the market.

Many times moving can be the answer.

It’s also a good idea to find out what you really would need to do to make your kitchen work for you and how much that would really cost. This question can usually be addressed by an experienced contractor. Make sure to find a contractor who will really listen to what you need, not someone who just wants to sell you a kitchen.  Many times after talking with an experienced contractor, the result is that it may be better to move. However sometimes, if everyone is communicating well, the cost to fix the problem may not be as bad as originally thought.

When that happens, it is a win-win situation for both spouses and tensions almost immediately start to fall away.

Have you been in this situation?

Tell Us What You Think?


Mike Otto, Fair and Square Remodeling