Knocking down walls, relationships that survive renovations

Risk-taker, well you must be if your planning a renovation or start a construction project with your spouse! Your only two security blankets, relationships and your home, there to protect you from the crazy outside world and you’re about to expose both at the same time, really?

relationship survival tips when tearing down walls and building a solid foundation!

Know your limits

DIYer’s typically struggle at managing money and time. Think about your last project, you started by destroying and then rebuilt as time and money were available.

Professionals on the other hand are good at managing time and money, so take time to approach the renovation project like a professional understanding every detail before the first hammer is swung.

Know your personal skills, be honest with yourself. Decorating your house is quite different than a renovation or building project that requires multiple sub-trades and may involve months of attention. There is often engineering or building code requirements that are far above the average DIYer’s pay grade.

As a partner understand your partner’s strengths and support them. If your partner is really good at making a mess, your help as a cleaner is invaluable. Understand what your partner’s skill limitations, don’t be afraid to drag them back into their safe zone, they will appreciate it!

DIYer making a big mess in home renovation

As an individual- if noise, dust and stress are a challenge for you personally then set up a safe zone. This is a room or place that you can go and hide, where it is clean, quiet and private. People who can’t handle a work site are unproductive and distracting.

If your going for a big remodel and you are unsure of your skill level or time-constraints, then hire a professional contractor and work with them. You and your partner may consider doing the demolition, after all there is nothing more therapeutic than ripping down walls. A home improvement project is great for couples with nothing to talk about, the creative process alone tends to start conversations that improve a relationship. 

Understand the warning signs for couples that simply can’t work together, recognize your relationship limitations early on by;

  1. Start and finish a small project, like painting furniture then move onto hanging wall paper together, see how that goes!
  2. Bring your individual ideas together, each register for a account and see if your design ideas are compatible.
  3. List each of your skills, some are organizers, buyers, negotiators and others are wreckers, rippers and builders, work to your individual strengths.
  4. If cooperation is simply not going to happen then invest in a contractor, interior decorator or therapist to be your referee. The cost of these mediators is far cheaper than the alternative.

The metaphors between construction and relationships is never ending, we would love to hear your comments!

Be organizeD

Even the most cooperative couples are exposed to stress, if they are not organized. keeps your remodel on track by creatively walking your project through intuitive stages to ensure completion on time and on budget. When the project is over and you want to show friends, recall warranty information or locate services behind the wall, quinju archives all details, it’s like your home wiki.


couple compromise over renovation

Similar to the best designs, relationships are a blend of personalities brought about by compromise. Starting a battle over something that is not critically important is counter productive. Know and list your individual strengths before starting any renovation. If picking out colour, or carpentry are not your strength then exercise your opinion with caution, stick to what you know.

Don’t forget that although the focus may be the renovation, the rest of your busy life does not just sit by and wait. Bills need to be paid, parental taxi service needs to keep operating and someone needs to feed the workers. There are times where your talents are required outside the noise, dust and chaos of construction and that is beneficial to all.

Build the Right Team

Starting a renovation is fun and exhilarating, the first few days, then it is a “I can’t wait to be back-to-normal” conversations.

Having open communication about timelines and the budget are critical, let’s face it a golf game on a Saturday morning is normal, except when there is no running water! Few things are more important to saving your relationship than getting done the home improvement, prioritize!

Having upfront agreements about time expectations, budgets and conflict resolutions will could be your most valuable offence.


Treat this renovation as an adventure, take pictures, update your account, welcome visitors to your crazy life. 

couple enjoying company during renovation or remodel

Eating on paper plates while sitting on paint cans is romantic!

Construction lights on new drywall makes a great shadow theatre for the little contractors.

Encouraging kids to write their names in hidden spots for future generations to discover is mystical and keeps them entertained.

Be Prepared

Taking the time to imagine all the possibilities that could sideline your plan will let you react strategically.

  • The dust- Yes dust everywhere and it will likely last long after the renovation.
bathroom during renovation. what a mess
  • The noise- Saws cutting, hammers banging, workers swearing…find your happy place!
  • Strange people in your house- Construction staff using your facilities, unless you would rather have them doing their business behind the tree where the neighbours can see them. Your private world will be open for all to see!
  • The mess- A dumpster sitting where you use to park your car, construction debris on your yard or worse yet debris blown onto your neighbor’s yard.
  • Disappointment- supplies arrive wrong, contractors don’t show up, over budget, beyond time.
  • Life- someone gets sick or injured, work has you travelling, unexpected visitors.

Don't let this scare you into doing nothing, work within your limits and be prepared!

After all of these tips and you’re still willing to say “I do”… want to renovate? All homes like all relationships are imperfect and that is what makes each unique and personal, accept that and your likely further ahead than you thought.

Wake up every day, put your boots on and get working. The pain and frustration of the moment will soon be forgotten and replaced by the pride of accomplishment both in what you built and what you learned about being a couple!

Always move forward, never back!


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