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Renovating my House

How to Interview Trades for Your Renovation

By 11/21/2022November 27th, 202210 Comments

Hiring the right trades for your renovation project can make all the difference in your timeframe, cost and sanity! My project manager has been doing this kind of work for more than 40 years and she’s got some excellent tips for interviewing trades for your renovation.

My renovation is speeding along at an alarmingly fast pace (lucky me).

The main floor has already been sanded (the middle photo below is the bare wood–engineered white oak) and re-stained. See what the stain looks like in the attached post.

The credit for how well my renovation is progressing goes to my Bestie Jan Romanuk who has been managing them for 45 years.

And we’ve started a little Instagram series about managing renovations. Keep reading for more about our helpful conversations…

The hallway into the primary bedroom – love this so much!

My white engineered oak hardwood floors are currently being re-stained on the main floor and the painting is progressing nicely, as well as the finishing.  

Did you know that engineered floors can usually only be refinished once? That’s something to consider if you want real wood floors but can’t afford a solid wood product. 

My wood floors are being stained Provincial. And because removing the staircase to sand and restain it will compromise the integrity, we are painting the edges the trim colour and installing a runner instead.

This is my bestie Jan Romanuk (below). She is the project manager (general contractor) for the renovation and she’s been doing it for 45 years.

How to interview trades for your renovation project

Jan conducted three interviews before she hired the two finishing carpenters who are installing the moulding.

I wasn’t there on the day they started, but Jan said it was like watching a Cellist and a Violinist playing together. Each one knew exactly what the other was doing and they installed an insane amount of moulding the first day.

And part of creating this “orchestra” of trades, is making sure you ask the right questions to hire the right trades for the right project. 

So, when Jan told me this, it prompted the obvious inquiry: “Jan, what interview questions did you ask them?” 

And because I’m always learning, I thought you might be interested in this advice as well. So we decided to record our conversation on Instagram which is broken into 3 parts due to length. Each one is about 10 minutes and we even answer some questions from the audience.  

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

Because of Jan’s experience managing renovations, she knows how long each task should take. If she’s not on the site all day, she leaves a list with each trade so they know what needs to be accomplished by the end of the day. That’s what an experience project manager can do for you.

And because she is on the site most of the time, everything gets done correctly the first time so there’s no re-work. And that’s why I credit her for such a smooth renovation project so far!

What questions do you have about renovation projects?

We will be doing 3 more Instagram Live events every Thursday morning at 11am PST (2pm EST). You don’t want to miss these conversations if you have a renovation project planned for 2023. These videos can help save you from costly mistakes.

We’ve posted them in youtube:

How to Interview Trades

Lessons Learned in Decades of Tile Installations


Please post a comment below on which piece of managing a renovation you’d like to learn more about! I’ll add the topics here when we have them.

PS. My Black Friday sale starts tomorrow! Make sure you are on my list so you don’t miss out! Subscribe here.

PPS. My colour wheel is still not here 🙁 the ones we had left were pre-packaged with the boards so if you really need the wheel, you can still get it free with the colour boards that go on sale tomorrow.

And truly, it’s best to have the neutrals with the colour wheel anyway because in order to accurately choose neutrals you MUST be able to compare since the difference between the right neutral and the wrong one is so subtle but it only seems that way BEFORE it goes up. After it goes up if it’s the wrong undertone you’ll notice it then. Here’s a video about how to use them to compare and work backwards to create the freshest look.

Related posts:

The Single Worst Mistake to Make During your Bathroom Renovation

Rectangular or Oval Sink? Yay or Nay

Just Blink Twice and it’ll be Black

12 pins


  • Lynn Wilhelm says:

    I’m loving the first video, but Instagram seems to be a horrible set up for videos–no way to rewind or see how long the video is. Is there any way you can put them on YouTube?
    Thanks a million! Your project is so exciting.

  • june says:


    Would love a WHITE color wheel. I have such a hard time with white undertones.

    Thanks so much for the interviewing contractor/trades info.

  • Bette says:

    Love the concept, but hate having to watch videos on IG. Please consider posting them on your webiste or even YouTube.

    PS. I want a female general contractor. Not sure other women would be as good as your GC, but in my opinion, our gender is best suited to this type of attention to detail and perfectionism.

  • Kelly K says:

    I agree with the others on posting these to YouTube or some other site and not just Instagram. I hate their interface and tracking things on YouTube is much easier. This is great information to have and many of us do not use or like Instagram.

    Glad the remodel is going well and fast! If only Jan lived in Texas… 🙂

  • Maria Killam says:

    Okay good point everyone, I will post it on Youtube and then add the link to this post! Thanks for the great suggestion! Maria

  • JT says:

    I wanted to suggest YouTube shorts rather than IG for videos.
    I see I’m not the only one with that suggestion.
    Thanks for listening.

  • Lorri says:

    I love the new floor color.

    Well, don’t feel bad about the rejection of Instagram for videos. I know of someone who films house tours and started it on Instagram until the viewers cried out for horizontal filming for YouTube. 😉

  • Tina says:

    I’m glad to see that your home project is well underway and, thanks to Jan Romanuk, seems going along beautifully.

    I would love to see the three interviews, but cannot, as I am not on Instagram, so I agree with the other ladies that it will be great to see them on YouTube.

    Many thanks Maria, and wish you good luck with the Reno.

  • Lorri says:

    You can sand Mannington engineered hardwood at least twice.

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