Where to Start?

funkyartSeptember 15, 2012

I am in the process of deciding whether to move into my grandparents' home and undertake a remodel to be done over time (2 yr?). I don't need help with that decision -- but what I do need help with is defining a plan that will 1) make it immediately liveable for me 2) increase the home value 3) distribute the work and cost over time.

the overview..

The house is a 3br 1965 ranch--rather plain jane. They bought the house when they retired 25 yr ago and have done little more than maintenance since. The first order of business will be painting and removing the carpet (which reportedly covers hardwood in good shape. I haven't checked for myself as yet). Other potential projects:

- The kitchen is a MUST do for me. It is small, dated and despite a nice window with good light, very dark. Many of the appliances were replaced in the last two years however, there is a cooktop and an oven which are separate and older. I wish to paint the cabinets, replace the countertops, tile the floor. I found a gorgeous budget (5k) remodel of a very similar kitchen that I intend to follow almost to the letter. I may require some carpentry but for now I'd like to keep that to a minimum.

- The bedrooms are small compared to what I am used to-- worse, they have small, high windows. I dont think I'll undertake structural changes to the windows at this time. I'll have to "trick the eye" with window treatments.

- Bathrooms are dated but liveable. One was recently remodeled for the elderly with walk-in shower and raised toilet. I don't love these but would am thinking I'd delay an update - eventually putting in a jacuzzi tub and more modern shower, tile etc.

- The fireplace is dated (light beige brick/syrupy pine mantel) and on a paneled (ach) wall. I am sure a quick paint would help-- but not sure it will help enough. Maybe built in shelves on either side would do the trick?

- My mother and grandmother both think I should plan to remodel the basement as a winter project. This wasnt my plan until they reminded me that there is a huge picture window in the basement that brings in great light. My grandmother used to sew/quilt there and bring in her quilting club. It is a large space-- but still very basement-y. I think it will take more work than they think. Flooring, wall additions, furniture... but I think it would be an awesome office library art studio.. if I can get my head around a basement living space (i've never had one).

- the property is a nice size and in nice shape. I will enjoy landscaping.. however, there are already small gardens that my mother added as a gift. I feel that could be a little touchy. The big thing here is that I didnt realize how important an outside living space was for me until I started thinking about living there. They use the carport as a porch. I couldnt/wouldnt. I'd be happy with a patio but the house is on a hill and the backyard space drops. I think I'd have to add a deck. I am in the mid-atlantic so this would be a next spring job.

- I suspect I will need to replace a LOT of my furniture. Some of it is too big for the scale of the home-- and others are just the wrong era for the house. For instance, I have dark brown leather LR furniture (i am considering having it reupholstered in a flax linen). I am not emotionally tied to much of it but I recognize it will be an investment of time and money.

WWYD? How do I tackle this?..

In what order to I hit the projects? How much do I do before moving in? I feel pretty strongly that the kitchen must be done-- but not sure I can delay moving until it's completed.

What other updates might I consider to make it NOT feel like I am walking into my grandparents' house?

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crap.. I meant to put this on the discussions board. Oh well. :(

    Bookmark   September 15, 2012 at 11:39AM
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I am copying this over to discussions. Sorry for the mistake!

    Bookmark   September 15, 2012 at 12:01PM
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I don't have any advice for you, but will be interested to hear what others say. I've heard suggestions that people do the rooms they are least motivated to change first, because that way those rooms won't remain stuck in the doldrums once the initial burst of redecorating energy 9or the budget) is gone. For me, that means bedrooms first, and the living room or kitchen saved for last, because those are the ones I care about most.

Then others have said to get the kitchen out of the way before you even move in, so you're never out of a kitchen for weeks at a time.

Then there is the (in my opinion good) advice to live somewhere for several months or a year before you start a major redo of something like a kitchen, so you can see how you actually use it...

Whatever you decide, good luck! It sounds like a fun project.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2012 at 9:35PM
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Leafy, thanks for your thoughts. I will proceed with a plan that very much fits with your suggestions. I will do the bedroom first-- and live with the other spaces for awhile. I will likely move to the basement which is not a priority for me but will be a nice to have while working on the rest of the house.

Please see the thread on the discussions side if you want to see the input from others. As always, it's a great collection of thoughts and advice.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2012 at 2:16PM
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