Last week, I met a woman who had just lived through every homeowners worst nightmare- her home was gutted by a fire. This horrible tragedy destroyed all her family’s belongings as well as taking the life of the family dog.

As I listened to her story, I was struck by the details, but I was even more impacted by her attitude. The couple, nearing retirement, is viewing this tragedy as an opportunity, re-imagining their home to incorporate an open concept living space and making the three bedrooms into two.  “You realize that it’s just stuff,” she said as she recounted the things that were lost, a phrase most of us would find it difficult to say, never-mind believe.  For this homeowner, she had genuinely adopted an attitude that was open, honest and most astoundingly grateful.

“When life gives you lemons, make some lemonade.”

Fortunately for most of us, the lemons we are handed are not as sour as the one from the story above. However the story illustrates an incredible attitude that we can all embrace during the renovation process. Some of the main ingredients for lemonade, when it comes to home renovations, are openness, honesty and gratitude. Here’s how we see it played out.

You’re Not Meeting Deadlines

LEMON: It hard to remain positive when you always feel behind. It is inevitable that during your home renovation you will miss some deadlines.

LEMONADE: Be honest about your concerns and openly review your timeline with your contractor to see where he feels he can make up the time. Your contractor is feeling the pressure just as much as you are. Approach the conversation with gratitude instead of demands and you’ll often find that talking it through will be enough to provide encouragement and accountability to ensure that the project remains on track.

Budget? What budget?

LEMON: If you’re like most homeowners mid renovation, your budget may feel like it’s drifting into a distant memory.

LEMONADE: Be honest with yourself when it comes to your selections and purchases and check in to see if you’re always making the more expensive choice. Are you choosing the crystal chandelier each time, or are you grateful for the glass pendant? Find someone to keep you accountable and who will be open about what they see. Being grateful for the choices you’ve made, will go a long way in helping you see your budget in a new light.

Poor Workmanship

LEMON: It’s hard to keep your cool when you come to the job site and see something done incorrectly or not to your standard.

LEMONADE: Step one: Leave the job site and safely blow off some steam. Step two: Take this opportunity to have an open conversation with your contractor. You don’t have to settle for second rate, but you will always be better off  if you approach your contractor from a place of gratitude, being ready to listen to the explanation. Often the lemonade that comes from this conversation will be more trust, confidence and an open relationship that will serve you well for the remainder of your renovations.

Renovations are notorious for throwing you lemons. But before you throw it all out the window, take a moment to look for opportunities to have open and honest conversations with your contractor and approach your situation with gratitude. We can all find reasons to complain, but it takes strength to find ways to be grateful. From our experience it is those who approach the lemons of home renovations with this attitude that gain the most lemonade in the end.