Friday, February 21, 2014

The Great House Update: the update list

House update

Sorry for the absence…my brain just hasn’t been functioning in blog writing mode! But I’m back with what will hopefully become a Friday feature. Next up on the Great House Update is our lengthy list of what needs to be done. Before I share the list there is a little back story to share first.

When we bought our house 2 years ago, we spent the first year almost entirely just living and dreaming. We did very little in terms of updates; paint on the walls, bedroom closet organizers, and that’s about it. The reasoning was to live in it and see how we function as well as to see if this house was a transition house or where we would stay put.

Transition house=a house we’d live in for a short time.

Our initial thought moving in was that this house would be a transition house. Lord willing, we’d love to build or significantly rehab our “dream house” one day. But the more we mulled that over and prayed about it, the more we just wanted to stay put. There are so many pros about our house that we would lose if we moved just for a house that was more our style. Location, mortgage, and money spent were the top three things keeping us here. Our location is SO convenient for our lives. We are close to just about everything which saves us money in the long run on gas, etc. Our mortgage is ridiculously low…and we even took out a 10 year mortgage. The fact that our house can be paid off in 10 years or less is a HUGE motivation to stay here. And there are many costs that would be associated with moving/building that we are not sure we want to allocate to that end.

Getting over that hurdle allowed us to change our mindset on renovation. Short term house = renovate with the new buyer in mind. Long term house = renovate for ourselves. This is a huge piece for anyone renovating their house. As a remodeler my husband often tells people that these days large scale renovations will most likely not be recouped in the sale price. If you are willing to spend a large amount of money making your house the way you would like it, then you need to see the money spent as for your well being and enjoyment.

For us, knowing that we would be staying, our renovation list kept growing. This past year we found ourselves with a large surplus of cash because my husband had a red letter year. After many conversations we set aside a portion and then looked at our renovation list to see what projects were the most important. We always fund renovations with available cash…this is just our thing. So it will take us awhile to get through the list.

Here’s the thing…there are so many projects in our house that have the domino effect and add up quickly. Here’s an example: We would like new trim throughout our house. But if we are going to install new trim, we’d have to replace the trim around the doors and the doors themselves. And along with the doors all the hardware. And if we did the trim around the doors we’d have to do the windows, window trim and let’s be honest the floors. Because putting new trim on old floors and then having to refinish them is not the best order of action. And believe it or not those things mentioned above are NOT cheap. People on the internet make it seem like putting new trim in your house and replacing all those parts are cheap. They are NOT. That entire project would have been in the 10,000 range. Not to mention a HUGE undertaking with a baby.

So we went through the list again and figured out what items would help our day to day lives. My husband works from home and previously set up office in a spare part of our basement. Not the closed off bedroom, but a corner of our main basement area. That meant every time I went down to do laundry or anything for that matter and brought the baby, we’d have to interrupt him. Not good. So an office space for him was number one. And then after that expense was subtracted from the available funds, the leftover money allowed us to do our kitchen and build a deck. We did go slightly over our budget but our house is all the more functional for it.

This has been wordy so thanks for sticking through this with me. Laying the groundwork for why and what we did I think is important and helpful.

So here’s our list. Probably not entirely comprehensive but you get the idea. This house has a way to go!

kitchen – entire redo, including appliances

new hardwood floors throughout – kitchen floor finished

new windows, window wraps and casings – partial finish

new doors, hardware, door casings and trim throughout

gutter screens and finish our siding project

new vanities, tile, fixtures and built ins in bathrooms

permits and new electrical in bathrooms

remove wallpaper and paint in basement

new roof

office addition

deck project

landscaping front and back – we have a plan in place

drywall in bathrooms and refinish all ceilings – ceiling partial finish

customize bedroom closets

basement bathroom update


Phew! That’s where we are at and I’m sure I forgot some things. In the next few weeks I’m hoping to start with the exterior and then move inside to showcase some of our changes.

Stay tuned!

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