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What It’s like Renovating (or Redecorating!) during the COVID Era

Updated: Apr 13, 2023

Thinking of remodeling or improving your home? Join the club!


Home remodeling and renovation has boomed since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. Everyone is jumping headfirst into making their homes the perfect oasis to be locked down in. The good news is we now all know how important our home environments really are, we appreciate them, and we want to make them functional as well as beautiful. Which is great; however, the surge in remodeling during the pandemic quickly brought shortages in supplies, like lumber, as well as shortages in reliable trade workers (ask your friendly Contractor, he will tell you!). High demand, shipping issues, and lockdowns of factories have created backorders, delays, and surcharges like we’ve never seen.

Remodeling or even furnishing your home right now is tricky business. It can be done, with a little professional help, but it is tricky.


I am even experiencing it myself! Read on to learn the reasons for these issues, and also to hear about my own remodeling issues if you need a good laugh!


Delays, Backorders, and Surcharge Increases … Oh My!

“Delayed,” “Backordered”, and “Surcharge” — those 3 little words we all hate to hear. Including (maybe ESPECIALLY) designers! There are several reasons behind those 3 hated words.


First, the obvious. People got COVID-19. And when one person in a factory or a shipping facility got COVID, the whole factory/facility had to shut down for 2 weeks. Over and over this happened. Furniture could not be built, fabric could not be milled (or shipped), laborers to get jobs done got sick, etc. Can anyone say “backorders”?

Second, with everyone quarantined at home staring at their 4 walls every single day, they had time to notice the issues with their homes, and they had the time and focus to do something about those issues. And because money could not be spent on travel or vacations, folks had money to spend on renovations they may have been putting off (uh, including me!). Can anyone say “high demand for products?”

Third, what about this lumber increase? According to Forbes, it’s because of the two aforementioned reasons.

The Forbes article explains … “Lumber and plywood prices are so high now because of the short-run dynamics of demand and supply.


Wood demand shot up in the summer of the pandemic. Many homeowners were stuck at home, unable to vacation. With time and money on their hands, they headed to the local building supplies dealer for the materials to build decks, playhouses, she-sheds and even additional rooms.


Then in the autumn of 2020, homebuilders cranked up their construction. By December, single family housing starts (seasonally adjusted) hit their highest level since 2006. This activity was driven by cheap mortgages.


On top of that, mills are usually located in rural communities that have been losing population. Finally, the stimulus checks and unemployment insurance bonus payments have sapped some people’s interest in taking jobs.


… Truck drivers are in short supply across the economy. Glue shortages, caused by the storm-related shutdown of petrochemical plants in Texas, also lowered plywood production, but that’s a temporary problem.


These constraints mean that increased supply won’t bring prices down any time soon. It also explains why prices rose so sharply in the past year. “


So yeah, Forbes and I agree, it’s a hot mess out there right now.



This leads me to my fourth reason. Unfortunately, what Forbes said is true: because of COVID relief, some workers did not need to work to make their normal income — and today many construction types of labor jobs are still struggling to be filled (painters, flooring installers, truck drivers, etc), and the contractors and companies that are still working are charging more to make up the difference and attract quality workers. Don’t get me wrong, I am thankful workers received COVID relief, it was truly needed by many! It just added to the problem of high construction demand coupled with fewer resources.
And finally, shipping issues because of COVID. I personally receive at least one email a week from a vendor, who is imposing a surcharge on shipping, because they too have been hit hard with shipping price increases. I usually order custom sofas and chairs from a company out of Dallas, TX. Before COVID, their turn-around time from order to delivery was fantastic — never more than 4 weeks. But during COVID, I ordered a sectional for my client, and the lead time was 7 months! We ordered in March, and she won’t get it until early October! I have other clients who ordered patio furniture and it won’t be here until September. This is the norm these days. Often times, even when the website says “in-stock”, that’s not necessarily true. Read more about Covid shipping issues at Hellenic Shipping News, but who can forget this little goodie, and apparently there’s another one stuck now.


You Are Not Alone in this Pandemic Renovation Challenge, I’m in it WITH You


I am experiencing the pains of this COVID-era renovating and redecorating saga in my own home projects, not just in my clients’ projects.


My husband and I live in a 1970s-built colonial style home. There is a lovely 1970s-style Jack-and-Jill bathroom upstairs that we have done nothing to over the years except to remove carpet from the bathroom (ew, yes, we did that right away). Luckily, the tile is wonderfully neutral white squares that looks classic, is non-offensive, and goes with everything. However, it is time — no actually, it is LOOOONG past time — to update this little section of our world.


We ordered new floor tile and new custom-built vanities in February. We got the tile right away, pulled everything out, and installed the new tile. Then … we waited. With no vanity, no sink, we had a floor only. We got the vanities … last week. June 4th to be exact. 2 months after they were promised. 4 months after ordering.


And yes, it has been like this for weeks. Fun times. You just gotta’ do whatcha gotta’ do, am I right?


We Really Are In this Together — Hurdling Obstacles During Covid


We definitely aren’t the only ones affected by shipping fiascos and supply shortages. Companies all over the world are facing multiple hurdles. Items like lumber, foam, furniture, and even physical workers are in short supply. Is it getting done? Yes! And word on the street is that lumber prices will be slowly returning to normal.

Luckily I have found some very reliable contractors, painters and other trade workers to employ during this time (not the company I ordered my bathroom vanity cabinets from, they are off the Home by Hattan list for now, rest assured). But there are still good guys out there, and we are making it happen, in lieu of delays, backorders, and shipping issues.


In fact, just today, one of my clients wrote this about me:

“Karen has an excellent ability to trouble shoot when issues arise. When one door closes another one is opened quickly with a solution. And her adherence to a project schedule with the understanding that ‘life happens’. That is sort of the name of the game these days! We’re going to make it work, and the end result will be BEAUTIFUL and so worth it!”


Turn to Home by Hattan for Renovations During Covid-19


So, if you find yourself wanting to undertake some home renovations or you want to redecorate your living room or other area of your home, remember we’re all in this together. It is totally doable, even in this tricky time. We just gotta’ keep calm, look for solutions, and call Home by Hattan when you need help. I take a highly tailored approach with each of my clients, and specialize in creating beautiful, uplifting homes for the whole family to enjoy.


Let’s connect for home remodeling services in Nashville and the surrounding areas! Call me at 615-202-2721 to schedule a consultation for your home beautification project!

And stay tuned … I have some beautiful renovation projects to share with you soon, including my own! Here’s a sneak peek cell phone picture of a recently completed bathroom renovation for a client in the Bellevue area:




Delays, backorders, shipping issues, oh yes.

Meanwhile, my son is home from college for the summer break, and he has no countertop or sink to use. We had to rig something up so we can at least have running water upstairs while we wait on countertops to be installed.

We literally have a sink that was torn out of one of my current client’s remodeling project – it is a pedestal sink which was going to be discarded. For storage, we have an old wood bookshelf to put toothpaste and personal use items on. No towel hooks. It is a mess. Take a look:


And yes, it has been like this for weeks. Fun times. You just gotta’ do whatcha gotta’ do, am I right?


We Really Are In this Together — Hurdling Obstacles During Covid


We definitely aren’t the only ones affected by shipping fiascos and supply shortages. Companies all over the world are facing multiple hurdles. Items like lumber, foam, furniture, and even physical workers are in short supply. Is it getting done? Yes! And word on the street is that lumber prices will be slowly returning to normal.

Luckily I have found some very reliable contractors, painters and other trade workers to employ during this time (not the company I ordered my bathroom vanity cabinets from, they are off the Home by Hattan list for now, rest assured). But there are still good guys out there, and we are making it happen, in lieu of delays, backorders, and shipping issues.


In fact, just today, one of my clients wrote this about me:

 

“Karen has an excellent ability to trouble shoot when issues arise. When one door closes another one is opened quickly with a solution. And her adherence to a project schedule with the understanding that ‘life happens’. That is sort of the name of the game these days! We’re going to make it work, and the end result will be BEAUTIFUL and so worth it!”


 

Turn to Home by Hattan for Renovations During Covid-19


So, if you find yourself wanting to undertake some home renovations or you want to redecorate your living room or other area of your home, remember we’re all in this together. It is totally doable, even in this tricky time. We just gotta’ keep calm, look for solutions, and call Home by Hattan when you need help. I take a highly tailored approach with each of my clients, and specialize in creating beautiful, uplifting homes for the whole family to enjoy.


Let’s connect for home remodeling services in Nashville and the surrounding areas! Call me at 615-202-2721 to schedule a consultation for your home beautification project!

And stay tuned … I have some beautiful renovation projects to share with you soon, including my own! Here’s a sneak peek cell phone picture of a recently completed bathroom renovation for a client in the Bellevue area:





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