Monday, May 24, 2010

Renovation Update

I've spoken a lot about our home renovations, but have not had the opportunity to get specific. As you may have read here before, DH and I have had significant struggles trying to decide where to live. My first choice was to move - a bit further out into the suburbs so we could get a really nice, spacious house with a yard. DH wanted to live in the same area where we live now (where the lots are smaller, houses are smaller and older, and much more expensive). Long story short...we couldn't seem to agree, so I gave in and agreed to do a renovation. Ultimately, I knew we had the baby coming, and I was afraid if I didn't give in, we'd still be "discussing" it when the baby arrived we'd be in big trouble!

DH was convinced that we could add on all the rooms we wanted and have it done before the baby was born (I knew this would never happen, but I agreed anyway). We worked with an initial builder/architect team, and they gave us some nice plans...but it wasn't what we wanted. The bedrooms were all way too small, they left a lot of under-utilized space, and for the amount they were charging, I truly felt we should be getting more. As I thought about it, I realized we could end this house. While DH swears he'll move in 5-7 years anywhere I want, I just don't believe he'll suddenly cooperate when the time comes (he promised he'd move anywhere I wanted this year, and he changed his tune this time, too). So, my feeling is if we are going to be stuck here, then this house better offer just about everything I could possibly want in a house, or I'd spend my life wishing we had done more with the renovations and regretting my decision to settle for less.

Ultimately, my goal was 3 bedrooms and an office upstairs (ideally 4 bedrooms plus an office, but I did not think that would be feasible). I wanted an eat-in kitchen, separate dining room, family room, living room and an office (DH and I both work from home, so we each need an office) on the main floor. I just wanted a bigger rec room area and some unfinished storage space in the basement.

After having some challenges with our first builder/architect, we started to talk to another architect. We immediately liked his proposals, and decided to pursue working with him. We ran into one snag early on - the initial plan (a two story addition in the rear and a one story addition on the side) just wasn't working out - we could not make the bedrooms work out (even after the renovations, the bedrooms would barely be 8x9). After discussion with the builder, he told us it would only cost a bit more to do a two-story addition on both the back and side. We decided to bite the bullet and absorb the extra cost so we could have 4 good-sized bedrooms and an office upstairs.

As we moved forward and got to the point of finalizing the plans, the builder (who has been involved from the beginning to keep us on budget and inform us if the decisions we were making were increasing the budget) told us the current "bottom line" - and we were shocked. Apparently, we were more than 20% over our budget. We spent several weeks trying to cut back on the expenses and figure out what inflated the budget, but the price just kept creeping up. We were at an impasse...lots of money invested in the architectural fees, and not enough money to move forward with the project.

Our architect suggested we get another bid from a different builder. That bid just came back today, and it puts us 10% under our budget!! Not only that, it includes a few upgrades we had previously planned to give up (like a custom bathroom, hardwood floors, etc.). We are quite relieved - that gives us room for unexpected costs and some budget creep. So, I believe that we are ready to move forward - finalize the plans, file for permits, and get this show on the road. If all goes according to plan, we should be able to break ground in July or August. We are planning to put my condo on the market (hopefully sell before we break ground) and then move into an apartment for a few months during the renovations.

So, here it is...our home renovation plans. In 2008, we completely gutted the house - we re-studded and insulated the walls, removed a few walls to open up the floor plan, redid the kitchen and bathrooms. Currently, our house has 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms upstairs (we also converted one of the upstairs bedrooms into a master bathroom and a master bedroom closet). On the main floor, we have a kitchen, dining room (more like an eat-in kitchen), living room and a half bathroom. Downstairs, we have a utility room/laundry room, a small office with a bathroom, and a small rec room area. I have highlighted in yellow the areas that are the existing house - as you can see, we are putting an addition on all 3 levels off both the back of the house and the side of the house.

Here is our new proposed First Floor Plan (you can click on the images to see a larger close-up view):

The only thing we will be changing in the existing part of the house is the stairwell. Right now, the stairs for the house are directly in front of the door when you enter the house. We will be moving those stairs to the back of the house in the new addition, and in place of the stairs we will have 2 closets - a coat closet and a food pantry. Additionally, the existing living room area will become our formal dining room.

We are making more significant changes on the second floor. In the existing part of the house, the new foyer and the new bedroom on the left are our existing Master Bedroom. The hallway bathroom in the existing section is our current master bathroom. That "new" bedroom will likely become a guest bedroom. The second "new" bedroom was formed from the existing stairs, existing hallway bathroom, our existing master bedroom closet, and the front half of Micah's existing bedroom. The two closets in the back of that bedroom are the back half of Micah's existing bedroom. We will be creating a brand new master bedroom/closet/bath on the side of the house, and the rear addition will give us another new bedroom (likely for the baby), an office, and the new stairs. Here is a draft of the second floor plans:

Finally, in the basement we are only making minor modifications to the existing area. The new laundry room area is where our current stairwell exists. We are simply bringing the washer and dryer out of the utility room and giving it its own space. We are leaving the rest of the basement as is, adding an unfinished storage area in the back, and a finished rec room area on the side. So, here are the basement plans:

I'm still dreading this project - I think it will easily take 6-9 months, and if our past experience is any indication, it could even take longer. I guess we'll just have to make it work.

1 comment:

Kari said...

I am so jealous! Love the new floor plan!