So many people ask us how we know we’re going in “the right direction” in the middle of a project. We try to describe our method as one big study in trial and error, with course correcting and tweaking along the way, but we also haven’t talked much about how we try to at least come up with a general plan in the beginning of a project, and then we try to stick to it loosely as we go, since it gives us a “path” to follow. Why? Because (sing it with me): the middle makes no sense.
It’s a phrase that John and I toss around a lot as we go and we realized it might be helpful for you guys at home in the middle of something who are pulling out your hair and worrying that something is “off track” or “might suck when you’re done” (which are both things that we fear throughout most of our room makeovers). The truth is, even if you’ve been doing this for years, sometimes when you’re halfway through a room upgrade it looks crazy. Obviously this is clear in a situation like a kitchen reno, which always gets waaaay uglier before it gets better…
… but sometimes it’s a little harder to realize (at least it was for us) that normal room makeovers that don’t involve tearing things down or rebuilding major things can also completely throw you off in the middle. So we’ve generally learned to just try our best to be confident that “it’ll all work out in the end” because in the beginning we allow ourselves to tweak and change things a lot, as well as in the end, but the middle… well, it never makes any sense anyway.
So we’ve learned never to rush to judgement when we’re dealing with only half of the changes being implemented, major components that are missing, half of a color scheme going on, etc. In the middle (which is a good long time in many cases) we may silently question something (and our readers might not so silently question something, haha) but we try to remain calm and keep going. If we end up hating something in the end, we can usually course correct (repaint it, sand and stain it, rearrange it, move it to another room, craigslist it, etc) so most home related choices aren’t irreversible at all, which is really comforting when you stop and think about it.
Oddly enough, even though the middle never makes sense, in most cases we end up loving something in the end, simply because we try to make choices in the beginning (after putting lots of thought into things) that seem like they’ll “click” at the end of the tunnel. So I guess the lesson is that if you’re frozen with indecision forever you’ll never get somewhere, but if you rush into things or are constantly changing/second guessing things before a room comes together- it might never come together at all. Which is why we like to take some time thinking about the end product right at the beginning and then just follow through on enough things to get past that weird middle phase and into an end phase where it’s easier to judge/evaluate things when the room is more complete. Of course you don’t need a totally fleshed out vision of the room the first day you get started (we never have that!) but you definitely should try to consider some main ideas before diving in, like: what color scheme am I considering, what layout would be the most functional, what do I want to get from this space, what vibe am I going for, etc.
One good example of this concept would be the opening that we added between the kitchen and the dining room. Again you might say “of course a wall with a gaping hole in it makes no sense” but this is more about a concept/shape choice than the finishing. When planning the opening between the dining room and the kitchen, we worried that a half-wall was a really weird choice. But we reasoned the whole thing out and drew floor plans, and used Google Sketchup to picture it, and decided it was our favorite option by far. So then we committed to it. Wholeheartedly. And even though the middle looked downright crazy (and definitely made us sweat when it looked like this)…
… we vowed to press on and keep the faith. There was a reason it was the plan we loved most after thinking things through a lot in the beginning, and it definitely looked crazy until we polished things off by fixing drywall, adding trim, and then bringing in furniture/cabinets/counters along with lighting and other finishing touches in both areas so all of the focus wasn’t just on a gaping hole.
Sure enough, the half wall was the best choice for us, and it wasn’t until the end that it all finally came together. But if it hadn’t, we could have rejiggered things then (ex: drywalled the area above the counter to create a more traditional doorway). But had we jumped the gun and changed courses in the middle, we never would have made it to the end and realized that we love it as-is, and it was the right choice for us after all.
But what about decorating a room in a less hardcore manner (no wall-removal or kitchen renovating)? We find that it’s exactly the same concept. Finished rooms have balance and a variety of finishes/colors/textures and things like scale/balance often don’t come together until the end. So when you look at a room that’s half done… it usually doesn’t make any sense. Most definitely not to people on the outside, but even to the people with the “vision” (excuse me while I titter at the idea that John and I have a “vision”). What I mean is that even if we know exactly where we want a room to end up (or at least have a pretty good idea when it comes to the color scheme, layout, which specific items of furniture we’ll be using, what function and vibe we are going for, etc) sometimes when we’re halfway there it still looks crazy – and we used to not know if we should bail, keep going, cry, start over, or what. But over the years we have learned to just take it one step at a time, continue on, and constantly repeat “the middle makes no sense.” In short: keep calm and DIY on.
For example, when we took our chipped black secondhand office chairs (scored for $35 each at a thrift store)…
… and painted and reupholstered them in a bright green tone with patterned fabric, they looked crazy bright compared to what our eyes were previously used to.
More than a few people even commented to say they were too loud and that they competed with the stenciled wall, and we agreed that they might look unbalanced and a bit too loud for the rest of the room at that point, but we still had other things to add (aka: the middle makes no sense). In the words of $herdog: we had plans, yo.
We totally could have been wrong (goodness knows we’ve made a ton of mistakes and course corrections over the years) but we just kept putting the room together, with the hope that some bright cheerful art and other happy pops of color would balance things out, make sense of the green chairs, and help the room come together as we continued to let it evolve over time. The middle = a judgement free zone for us. Sure enough, once we added some art, brought in a green artichoke planter to tie in the chair color, and painted the area under the chair rail a darker gray tone to ground the room, it all started to make a lot more sense to us. So we’re definitely happy that we went for it with the chairs, and then added the art and accessories to balance things out, or the room never would have evolved from this less “happy” look…
… to the personalized cheerful spot where we spend most of our waking hours.
Yet one more example of this concept might be the mirror that we hung over the window in our bedroom. It looked like this when we moved in (creaky old bifold doors, a medicine cabinet at a right angle to the sink which made shaving rough for John, etc).
We removed the medicine cabinet and I demoed out the thick stone backsplash to make it look more like a granite topped piece of furniture and less like a sink on the side of our bedroom – and we shared this picture of the mirror when it was its original color: black. We mentioned we might paint it white but just wanted to live with it for a hot second to be sure.
Secondary hint: take your time in the middle – it’s nothing to rush though but also not usually a good place to make total plan deviations or do anything impulsive. Live with things, see what you think of them before you do something like paint or repaint at that stage. But once you think about things a bit and form a plan that you think makes the most sense, obviously the only way to move forward is to get ‘er done. So onward and upwards! You just gotta keep moving towards a more finished product, which is usually when things finally gel anyway.
In the end, we took our time and definitively decided to paint it white along with painting the walls a moody gray/tan (Rockport Gray). And that little sink nook evolved into this, which we now think is one of the most charming corners of our partially unfinished bedroom (we still have an entire side of the room with no furniture and a big bare wall):
But do you see how we (or our readers) might look at the middle pics of all of these projects and say “whatchu talking ’bout Willis?” We totally get why we receive so many “wait, have you thought about ___?” or “why don’t you undo ____?” questions when things are still mid-progress. We’re usually asking the same questions ourselves! But we have just learned not to panic, to be patient, to have faith, and to keep moving towards a more finished stage since that’s usually when things finally come together (or when it’s a lot more obvious what will solve the issue – like repainting a wall, changing the layout, switching out some chairs, etc). In the middle it truly is nearly impossible for us to see what’s wrong or what’s right, so we like to let things shake out since it’s usually waaaay clearer a little later in the game when the room comes back together and enough balance and order is restored to fully get “the whole picture” instead of judging a half-baked makeover that’s only 47% complete.
So there’s my big, long, Tuesday afternoon brain dump. Do you guys have any sayings that you tell yourself during a renovation or room overhaul that help you get through those tough parts in the middle? Share and share alike.
Psst- For more posts of the it-just-takes-time-and-it’s-all-trial-and-error-but-you’ll-get-there-someday variety, check out this post about how our first house looked after eight months of living there and this post about how we do our best to try to relax and enjoy the ride.
Gabriella @ Our Life In Action says
My biggest questions when I see your projects are – how did they ever think of that. Like the mirror on the window – it’s perfect and looks like that is where it belongs, but how on earth did you ever think of it? Teach me, please. ;-)
I think a lot of it is just tossing out rules (like you can’t hang something in front of a window!) in favor of function (the mission: to see ourselves in the mirror when we brush our teeth/when John shaves) so we just gave it a try! Never hurts to try something!
great tips!! the middle makes no sense but the middle is where the magic will come from. i like!
btw..saw you on global tv and you guys rocked it. and sherry…i know your are gorg…but in person it really shows!! you too john!
Aw thanks! I was so nervous. Did you see me blush in the beginning? Eeks. Wish we could find the video they said would be posted to watch it back (maybe it’s not as embarrassing as it felt, haha).
Video is up at:
I don’t know whether you might have difficulties in the states… but it’s loading for me in Canada!
(Doesn’t look awkward at all to me! So great to see you guys in Canada!)
They posted it! Yay!
Ahh! Can’t get it to load at the airport. But we’ll post some behind the scenes details soon!
Awww. You guys look so great on there!
Crystal @ 29 Rue House says
You guys did great! Have a safe flight home!
I thought you guys did an awesome job on the show! And for what it’s worth, the parts that you might think are awkward is part of the charm. You aren’t big hotshot untouchable celebraties, you are people like us, which is why it’s so enjoyable to read your blog.
Loved watching you two! (Vid works for me in the UK!) So natural. Can’t wait to get my hands on the book. The photos look so gooood. I generally dont think before I speak so I would have corrected them if they pronounced my surname wrong! You two are pros fo sho.
Thanks for posting the video Alison!
Thanks for posting the link, I looked for it earlier and couldn’t find it :)
Daaang. You people are adorable! So natural and relaxed and fun to watch. And such good sports about not correcting “Pettersiks”, haha.
They were so nice! We didn’t even notice because we were trying not to hyperventilate…
Erin C. says
That last pic of your bathroom with the white painted mirror looks like the mirror is smaller. Did you actually get an entirely different mirror? Just curious. I think you guys make great choices in your home decor!
Same mirror, we just painted it. Maybe we were closer to it in the bigger-looking shot?
Michelle | Letters from Boston says
Excellent advice — we need to keep that in mind in the coming weeks/months. We’re thinking of painting our living room a random color that several people (our moms, haha) have said “ehhhh…” to — apricot — but we’ll never know unless we try, and in the end, I think our “vision” will convince them it was a good idea from the beginning. And if not, hey, they don’t live there!! :-)
I always have to remember: KEEP YOUR RECEIPTS!!! and when in doubt, craigslist! I sometimes feel like I am the only one looking for something on craigslist – but I have to remember, I’m not. So if I don’t like it in the end, most likely, someone else will. :)
[email protected] says
Such a great reminder! It’s so tough to chug through the middle sometimes. I usually freak out and rush, which never works out well :\
Julie in TX says
Thanks so much for your brain dump Tuesday! I really needed this as I have a vision for our living room that I doubt constantly. Faith in the middle!
This post comes at a great time for me. We are redoing our living room and just got two houndstooth black and white recliners on Craigslist. We moved out the couch and plan to replace the loveseat as well, but for now those loud recliners are sitting across from our old blue plaid loveseat. Lovely. NOT! So thanks for the reminder that the middle makes no sense. Once we get a black leather loveseat and switch out the art on the walls, I hope our “vision” of the room will come together.
Vickie D. says
There you go!
(Cannot even watch it now since I’m at work)
Nicolle from Thriving Wives says
Wow what a great post! This happens to me a lot, where I’ll start a project and then completely FREAK OUT in the middle because it’s a mess and looks terrible… but the projects that do end up completed almost always turn out fantastic! Love this advice, thank you!!
Strive to Thrive,
I have to say, reading this post made me feel SO MUCH BETTER. I think this saying actually applies to TONS of things, not just decorating. Pretty much any creative endeavour seems to make no sense in the middle!
Another thing I’ve been reminding myself lately — I noticed in your book that the first chapter is called CHILL and the last chapter is called OUT. I laughed when I first saw that — but it’s now become my mantra about decorating. :) I tend to totally over-think things and end up paralyzed by indecision. Now I just remind myself to CHILL / OUT. And I think I’ll add “the middle makes no sense” to my list of things to tell myself. :)
Hahaha we didn’t even notice that. Awesome reminder :)
Dana Z. says
This link should work for you!
Loved meeting you last night at the book signing – and I said it then, you guys are so inspiring to me. This post just reinforces it. We’re gut renovating our house room by room and there is some days I am completely overwhelmed but when all our planning and hard work come together it’s so, so worth it. I just keep telling myself to stay the course and keep my eye on the prize :)
Aw thanks Kelly! So nice to meet you too!
I found the link to your video!
Felicity @ Our Little Beehive says
I love how that bathroom nook came out so much. Great to take a little walk down memory lane, even if totally not the point of the post :)
This post could NOT be more timely. We’re in a middle (smack-dab, if you will) of a back yard overhaul and I can barely walk out the back door without breaking an ankle. Remembering to step back and look at the big picture really, really helps.
*the middle… :)
Ohh man, I’m right there in the middle right now! We are refinishing our ceramic tile countertops with concrete (using the kit Katie Bower reviewed) and it was looking a hot mess. I tried not to freak out knowing it was a messy middle. We are putting on the final sealer coat tonight and then we will see if it looks good put back together!
I love that picture in the kitchen — the one that looks like it’s underwater. Where did you get it??
That’s from samanthafrench.com. Hope it helps!
“The middle makes no sense”: I like it!
I think that studying for my Ph.D. candidacy exams is starting to feel the same way. “How on earth does all of this material fit together? Is there a cohesive narrative?” etc.–guess I’ll have to forge ahead and “tweak” my studying as I go. Thanks for the inspiration!
Great post. It’s nice to know that while the middle may not look perfect, I should forge on.
I just had to course-correct with a rug. The one I bought was too small and just not the right kind of rug for the space it was in. (Well used living room, and me and my roommate have a LOT of hair! lol It was dirty and pilling and just not functional enough.)I bought this rug from West Elm yesterday.
I hope that I can make this one work.
I love that picture in your kitchen! The one that looks like it’s under water. Where did you get it??
That’s from samanthafrench.com. Hope it helps!
Thank you!! If you guys ever need a project to do near NYC (westchester), we could use a ton of help in pulling our 1924 colonial house together — we seem to be stuck “in the beginning.” :) You have an adorable family — love your site!
This post is a big help/relief! I’ve been frustrated lately with how our house is coming along (the whole thing is stuck in the middle) just because we had so little when we moved in and most of it was all hand me downs and cheap dorm room furniture. You reminded me that I need to chill out and be patient. I’ll just focus on our guest bath when I start getting ansty since that is, for some reason, the most complete room in our place.
So this is my first ever comment on any of the blogs that I follow. And I follow alot lol. But on to my comment! I am so glad for all of YoungHouseLove’s (and all of the other blogs I lurve) inspiration and positive go gettin attitude that gets me in the mood to get up and get goin on all of the tasks on my to do list. I recently visited a site (that won’t be mentioned) where a fellow reader had so many unnecessarily harsh comments directed towards this blog for the most selfish reasons. Like that your giveaways aren’t geared toward out-of-staters. And honestly, I live in Ohio and am eligible for giveaways but generally do not enter as I appreciate so much this blog has to offer without feeling the need to get anything material out of it. I am so glad you guys don’t fret the haters. I think many snarky ppl are just jealous simply because they can’t be you and live your life. But I can clearly see that you’ve worked hard for all you’ve earned and I’m so glad to see you reaping the rewards of that earnest hard work. No jealously from Reen-reen here. You guys rock, keep doin you! Cle <3
My partner doesn’t visualize things well, so when I’m in the middle of a project he can’t see the final goal and he often worries. But we usually get there eventually.
It’s the tweaks that scare him. But it’s so true that a room really does evolve into place, even if I have a plan from the start some of the details don’t become apparent until we’re well into the changes. And I always decide to do more . . . for example, now that I have the living room and hallway painted my poor old trim looks pretty grungy and needs a fresh coat of paint.
I think what helps me is knowing that nothing about decorating is absolute or final. In fact, my taste has evolved (or changed completely in some cases) over the years but it’s ok that I don’t love the chair that I coveted so much before. I think some people get frozen with fear on putting up the art or color on the walls, as if it was a final decision. When in fact, it most likely will not be ;) (or maybe that’s just me haha)
I really liked this post. Decorating a home sure takes a lot of patience! A lot of times you’re waiting for the perfect piece to tie everything together… but it really can be worth the wait.
Our home project phrase is “we’ll know”. Whenever we want to take a shortcut that NO ONE will ever notice, one of us says “we’ll know” and we end up doing it. Paint the inside of the linen closet over the door frame that you can’t see unless you stand inside of the (very narrow) space? We painted it because we’ll know if it’s not done.
Haha so funny! I love it.
Staci H says
I love your blog, I just found it and it feels like home! As fellow diy-nerds, my husband Jason and I are the “crazy ones” amongst our friends. We’re always demoing, re-doing, repainting, jeririgging, etc., and one thing that I’ve found when doing our projects is that the small details tell the biggest story. When I’m about to cry because the project is harder than I thought/not doing what I thought/making me doubt if we should’ve left it alone, I take a look at the “before” pictures. It usually tells me that we started that particular crazy adventure for a reason. Then I start thinking about the small details and something will spark a thought, like hardware, or bedding, or light fixtures, artwork, etc., and I get that burst of excitement and it sees me through. Keep the posts coming and congratulations on your book! Definitely going to pick up a copy. Are you coming to CA????
We’d love to end up in CA! Will keep you posted if they add it!
I love this post, because I am always trying to hold my tongue while reading your blog. So often you guys make a choice that makes me go ‘what’ at first, but then three steps later I am like ‘OMG that looks amazing! They are geniuses!’
I think my imagination works better in my own home because the ‘middle’ rarely phases me that much in person.
Haha that’s so sweet! Thanks Loren!
Thank you. I really, really needed this post today.
It made me cry. We demoed an entire 2100 square foot house because I had a “vision.” I planned out everything as much as I could for months beforehand. We are now “in the middle.” My husband thinks I’m crazy, as do all of our friends. But I KNOW that this is going to work. Thanks for helping me stay strong!
Aw good luck Carolyn!!
we totally freaked out when we got our fridge delivered and then again when the sofas got delivered, both were much bigger than what was previously there and we didn’t like it. but we gave ourselves a couple of weeks to adjust and now love them. really glad we didn’t send them back! xox
I read this quote on someone’s facebook:
“It will be alright in the end, and if it isn’t alright it isn’t the end!” – The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
It works for renovations and life!
Our motto always is… Don’t kill each other!
We tend to get a little crazy during our remodels, so we both agree to take some space if we get annoyed/frustrated during a project! Now we are looking for a fixer upper in phx again, we are learning a lot from you guys!
Hahaha! Good motto!
When working on an arts and crafts project, I find that taking a break from it every now and then, lets you look at it with fresh eyes and a clear mind.
Sometimes it’ll be a “what the heck was I thinking” moment. Most times it’ll be a “YAY” moment. But it’s always a good thing to get in the groove and get it started.
Improving & Decorating your home is one BIG art installation.
It’s so perfect that one of the recommended posts at the bottom of this post is “bad news for banquette fans” with a little picture of the mocked up banquette and it looks so weird now! Even though I was a huge fan of the banquette idea! Yall were so right with the peninsula. So funny to look back at it.
Oh yeah I love that post! It’s so funny to look back at all our hairbrained ideas. So glad they’re “frozen” here on the blog forever.
Timely advice for me right now as my husband and I are definitely in the middle of a lot of projects with a baby due next month on top of it all! I’m also reminding myself that in our rush to get things done we have to remember the look will evolve over time anyway.
Separate note – I went in search of Safecoat Acrylaq per your endorsement and eventually found it at a specialty store. Holy expensive!! I know y’all are frugal like me, do you have a secret way not to spend $70/gallon on that?!?
Eeks, why on earth is it that expensive!? We never get the gallon, we get the quart, which literally lasts us 2-3 years and we get it at greendepot.com if that helps! Don’t forget to google for coupon codes!
Thanks! I didn’t want a gallon but it was all they had. I wanted it right away to complete some pending baby projects but if I had known I would have waited for shipping to save some money!!! Ridiculous!!!
Well the good news is it’ll last you forever! I mean, realistically that could be good for a decade if you keep it sealed up and don’t let it freeze!
Half way through painting our current dining room, I was second guessing the color. I just kept telling myself to wait on my judgement until the art was back on the walls, the table and chairs were uncovered and window treatments were back up. Once all that happened, I knew the color was the perfect color for that space. That was ten years ago and it is still that same color.
Crystal @ 29 Rue House says
You know how when you go to church (which I do about once a year right now) and they preach about something that you’re dealing with and it really hits home…that’s how I feel about you guys! haha
No seriously, I’d been really questioning my chosen color scheme for the downstairs (which is in the middle I guess) but realized this past weekend that I needed to see it through and let go of the thoughts to change it since I still love what I chose. I can always try the other color scheme later down the road or in a different house.
Hope the tv show went well and that we get to see it!
This is such a good reminder for me right now. We just started building a house, and being in the middle of so many plans and decisions is tough (total self-plug – you can check out the blog I started to document the process!). I’m sure it will all start coming together and I’ll be more confident in my decisions once I start to see visual progress. Until then, I’m second guessing almost everything! Ugh!
Hi! I found your blog long time ago,but I forgot to book mark it, and yesterday I found it again yeay! Regarding the middle, well here where I live everything is soooo expensive that we live in an eternal middle, at this moment we are in a middle of a huge MIDDLE as we are adding floating floor to the 4 bedroom upstairs, so all the things that were upstairs, now they are downstairs, and downstairs look like a huge garage sale!
We are in the middle of a full tear down renovation. It’s a l-o-n-g process as we’re doing most of the work ourselves and saving for each project, then tackling it. We’ve certainly been in the middle of some of the rooms mumbling about whether it will work or not. We have two mantras: “It’s so much better than it was” (truer words have never been uttered) and “We can always make changes.” Those thoughts keep me going because sometimes, when you remove your interior stairs for 8 months and have to haul the laundry up and down the deck stairs during winter, well, sometimes the middle is a little rough.
This is a great post, it fits a lot with the idea of making something worse before it can get better…sometimes it’s hard to see your way out because you’ve made things a lot worse. Our house right now is completely unsellable because we’ve demo’d things and it makes me feel a little trapped, but I know we’re on our way to making things a lot better and the way things look right now is progress even though it doesn’t feel like it.
Thank you SO much for this post! We just moved less than a month ago and I’m feeling overwhelmed. The entire house is builder beige and it’s driving me crazy. I haven’t known where to start, and when I did start things were looking crazy. Thank you very much for the reminder!
My husband is the saving grace. I always have second, third, and forth thoughts yet he manages to stay positive throughout the process saving me from a melt down :)
Kasey Befeler says
My husband and I always count things out like ‘the Count’ would. “That is vun… ah… ah… ah!” if counting makes sense in the situation. Like when we had 20 heavy pieces of drywall to drag into the house and hang, or muliple pieces of deckboard to lay. It’s just our funny thing to say – makes things a little less daunting! =)
I appreciate and can relate to this post – it’s really a relief to know that you guys aren’t always sure how things will turn out either (and to remember that most house decisions can be undone!). It’s also helpful to remind myself to just see it through once we’ve decided something and not keep going back and forth. Thank you so much for all the tips/reminders!!
It was super awesome to meet you guys last night – thanks for coming to TO! Also, really neat to catch you on Global, you were fabulous!
Aw thanks Stephanie! You’re so sweet! We had so much fun last night.
Years ago my husband and I went to see Anthony Rapp’s one man show, which was awesome. In one scene, he is going through an emotional crisis and he calls his friend who offers the following words of wisdom: “the only way out is through.”
We both thought that was incredibly profound and now we use it all the time in serious and not-so-serious situations. It’s come up more than once in the middle of a project we both wanna give up on and it always seems to get us going again!
Love that quote!!
Hey Sherry! I had the same question about that mirror. When you get a chance you should look at those two pics. I definitely believe you that it’s the same mirror, but you are in just about the exact same spot when both pics were taken. It’s crazy how much smaller the white one looks. Photos can be so weird sometimes! :)
Funny! When we get to our hotel tonight we’ll have to look!
I think its the lighting. If you look at the trim around the window in the picture with the black mirror, it looks thicker but with all the light coming in in the second picture you would think the trim looks thinner. That’s all.
Tamrah Ryan says
I think it’s because the pic with the white mirror is exposed so the window is blown out (the lights inside of the room probably weren’t on, therefore the window is over exposed because of the exposure compensation that had to happen in order for the rest of the room to be exposed properly, blowing out much of the window frame as well as a little bit of the white mirror). So you are only seeing the very outer part of the frame/molding, versus the entire window including the window cranks, etc. (which you see in the pic where the mirror is dark, because the room lights were on, balancing with the amount of window light coming in). Sorry, I’m a photo dork. Hope that makes sense! :)
As an interior designer, navigating the middle of projects with clients is one of the trickiest phases. After the plans have been presented and your client signs off, getting them past the worry before everything ‘comes together’ is one of the hardest parts, and why most designers like to try to install everything at once. Sometimes that isn’t possible, and it can be a nightmare trying to get people past their fears because they can’t effectively see the end result. I wrote something about this last year http://vestainteriors.blogspot.com/2011/09/before-and-after-agw-project.html
Just watched the Canada video, you two are so adorably awkward! I love it! At least you didn’t say ‘phat’ ;)