Living With Kids: Sarah Sandidge, Revisited

By Gabrielle.

Remember Sarah? She showed us what life really looks like when you’re living with kids during a major home renovation. She also took my breath away with photos of their toddler daughter helping rewire the kitchen’s electrical (Not really! She was completely safe!), but Sarah just laughed at my worry (Really. She is completely cool like that.)

As she told us, “I’m planning to create a checklist to determine if you are emotionally and mentality capable of handling renovations with small children! I imagine most people are not. Here’s my advice: Be flexible and adaptable. If you are not that type of person, just don’t even think about it!” I hope she makes that list, don’t you? It would be hilarious to read.

But my favorite piece of wisdom from Sarah is this: “Even though the safety of our children is a high priority, our philosophy is to let the kids experience life…not protect them from it.” Pretty wonderful.

Would you like to see how Sarah’s home turned out? (First, make sure you take a peek at how it looked last February, and then hop back to  see it now.) Friends, let’s welcome back Sarah and the Sandidge family’s awesomely renovated home!

Q: Tell us all about your post-renovation life!

A: Life has been somewhat calm and peaceful. I’ve been reading a lot of books, which has been wonderful! Although we’ve been twiddling our thumbs a lot, too, and talking about moving to the outside of the home now that the inside is finished…or just moving to a new house!

Jay got a promotion soon after we finished the kitchen, which was the last major renovation. The end of renovations came at the perfect time because he has been consumed with his new position and has had little mental energy for any further home improvements.

It was very surreal when the kitchen was finally finished. The countertops were the final frontier. We lived with splintery unfinished plywood counters for over a year before we finally decided on butcher block counters from Lumber Liquidators (which we love!). It felt like we could all breathe again. Like we could walk through the house without looking here and there thinking “When will that be finished?” or “What are we going to do there?”

I don’t think there was ever an official celebration. Just more of a collective sigh of relief.

Q: If you could do it all over again, what would you do differently?

A: That’s a loaded question! There are SO many things I would do differently, and I’m sure my husband would have a completely different list of things he’d do differently! For example, I would have picked a different tile and grout for the master bath. It’s not that I don’t like what we’ve done, I just think there are things I would’ve liked better.

I know that sounds kind of bratty and spoiled, but it’s so hard to see the big picture when you’re trying to choose all the separate parts for a whole space. There are design elements we would change, and probably timing too. But that’s the great part about starting over in a new place. Hopefully you don’t make the same mistakes twice.

Don’t get me wrong, though. We LOVE our renovated home and are very pleased with the way it’s turned out. I think it’s perfectly lovely.

Q: Best piece of advice you could give to homeowners with toddlers going through a grueling renovation?

A: Be patient with the kids, with yourself, and with the renovations. Make a timeline, then throw it out the window! I think the most important advice I finally figured out for myself was to give yourself and your spouse a break. If your spouse is the main renovator (as my husband was), give him or her a break. If they don’t want to work on the house one weekend, just be okay with that.

It takes a huge amount of stress off of everyone when you can let the family’s needs be the guiding factor instead of your made-up timeline. It took me about a year to let go of my time expectations, and it made a huge difference for all of us.

Q: Tell us what’s next for you!

A: A new old house, of course! Can you believe we just purchased another home and are in the process of moving? We love renovating and redesigning old spaces. Our new home is in much better shape than the one we just finished. So we’ll almost be starting on the new home where we left off on the current home…if that makes sense!

I’m planning to keep much better track of our progress since I won’t be pregnant and miserable when we move this time! So stop on over at Lovely Chaos to keep up with our renos and crazy family!


Sarah, you’re a gem for taking us on this follow-up tour. It was such fun to see that everything turned out beautifully – and without injury! Ha! All our best to you and yours as you begin your next project. Show us how it goes, will you?

P.S. — Take a peek at all the homes in my Living With Kids series here. And if you’d like to share your own home with us, just send me a note! It’s a lot of fun…I promise! And if you’ve participated before, drop me a line and let me know if you’ve made any changes. I love changes!

11 thoughts on “Living With Kids: Sarah Sandidge, Revisited”

  1. It’s oh so lovely!! Do you really have to move, Sarah? Haha! I’m about to enter a major renovation at home an this post gives me hope of a better future. Thanks for sharing!

  2. This is amazing! I’m so glad people like Sarah and Jay exist and I can look at their pictures from my construction-free house. You guys are rad and inspiring without making me feel like I need a personality overhaul because I will never be like that. So excited to see the next one!

  3. I love getting to see the end result. What a wonderful re-visit to a great space and family. I love the mix of vintage and new. Perfect combo. Can’t wait to see what they come up with in the new house! I agree on the play kitchen – just wonderful and great use of play space.

  4. Sarah’s story gives me hope! I live in the middle of a home renovation/overhaul with my husband, 4 year old daughter, and toddler son. We currently have drywall going up in the basement, crusted-over painting trays in various parts of the house, a 4 foot trench in the front yard (which snakes itself into the back yard), exposed carpet tacking on my staircase, and a myriad of other ongoing projects. What a relief it will be when everything is complete. I hope our adventure has an outcome as wonderful as Sarah’s. Such a lovely home!

  5. We’re on the cusp of starting our renovation and I’ll have to keep Sarah’s words of wisdom in mind. I’m both excited and dreading it. I know my 3-year old will want to be involved, too — maybe he’ll paint? — and it seems he’s in good company!

    And great reno!

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