I was eight months pregnant when my husband and I began a mad-dash renovation of our new-to-us home. The former owners had three tween kids and two large dogs, and there wasn’t a piece of millwork in the place that didn’t show signs of, say, indoor hockey games. With a baby on the way and a three-year-old who was already in the midst of a major transition, we were motivated (read: frenzied) to get the work done. Over the course of three weeks, my husband and a team of professionals refinished our hardwood floors, installed carpet in the bedrooms, replaced every inch of trim, and painted the interiors—all before baby number two arrived.

It’s not an experience I’d like to repeat, but it makes for a good story—and I’m in good company. Swapping renovation tales is a kind of design lover’s pastime. Anyone who has updated a home has anecdotes to tell, complete with hard-won wisdom they’re generally happy to share. (Here’s a bit of mine: Super-dark hardwood floors look sleek but show every speck of dust and crumbs. Go with a slightly lighter hue to help hide debris between cleanings, especially if you have a graham-cracker-munching toddler in your house.)

And while trading harrowing stories is fun, maybe you’re hoping to get through a reno unscathed. Good news: This issue of 5280 Home gathers tips, tricks, and products that will save you time, money, and hassles—and help bring your design dreams to life. If you’re facing down a kitchen overhaul, check out “Clean Slate,” in which local designer Megan Moore shares her secrets for transforming a dim kitchen into a gorgeous, functional space. Find the best countertop material for your lifestyle in “Counter Culture,” and get ideas for boosting your home’s energy efficiency in “Power Down.” And don’t miss our feature stories; each one is full of inspiration.

So take a break from agonizing over paint colors (confession: I’m currently eyeing Benjamin Moore’s Gulf Stream 670, pictured above, for my kids’ bathroom) and new light fixtures and sit back with this issue. I hope you find just what you’re looking for—and manage to pull off a reno with a very happy ending.

This article was originally published in 5280 Home Spring 2016.
Hilary Masell Oswald
Hilary Masell Oswald
As the former editor for two of 5280’s ancillary publications, Hilary Masell Oswald split her time between the vibrant design-and-architecture scene in the metro area for 5280 Home and the always-changing field of health for the annual 5280 Health.