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Niki FriedmanJanuary 31, 2013

DH and I have never done a major home reno (except for our pool a few years ago) . His parents have never owned a home (always rented in NYC) and my parents' very limited experience with renovations did not go well.

We have reno ideas for our house but would like to do them in phases based on what we can afford. DH insists that we don't take loans and pay cash for the renos, so we can only do so much at a time. How should we proceed? Would it make sense to come up with one master plan and implement it over time? Would whomever we hire to do this put pressure on us to get it all done now?

Here's what we'd like to do now:
Move washers/dryers upstairs (possibly into a large linen closet and steal some space from a large bedroom).
Put in french doors that lead to back yard from mud room
Remove linoleum floor in mud room & replace w wood to go with rest of house
Replace sink in mudroom bathroom

Convert mudroom closet into pull-out pantry
Install cubbies in mudroom
Bump out the kitchen, compete gut
Remove part of wall between kitchen and family room (load bearing)

These projects are all sort of related but we feel like they could be completed in phases. Do we start by hiring an architect? What would something like this cost to design (I mean the plans, not the costs of the reno)? Obviously the kitchen is the biggest part, which is why I'm posting in the kitchens forum. And, will we be able to find a contractor to do things one phase at a time?

Thanks so much. I realize we are clueless at this!

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I don't have much advice to offer, but I would suggest coming up with your final vision now, then work toward it in manageable pieces. That way if unexpected things come up, you will be able to keep moving in the right direction.

We are about halfway through going room by room with new paint and furniture (bought everything cheap when we moved in 11 years ago, neither of us lived away from home in college). While I love the colors I used in the bath and "library", I may have picked slightly different shades if I had a color palate planned so the colors all complimented each other.

We also had some unexpected major outside work done. We just wanted to replace the leaking windows. Turns out they were not flashed, no house wrap, no insulation, rotted plywood, etc...So we ended up taking care of all that and new siding. Had I known I was going to redo the kitchen I would have put in a bigger window and maybe moved the patio entrance to the great room (the walls were all open, would have been easy). But instead we just replaced what we had with new stuff. All that money spent and no nice bay windows, or better flow, or improved lighting, etc.

If I had a plan or wish list, I could have easily made changes as we fixed things to move in that direction. Feels like throwing away good money for some things now since the current (replaced) stuff is fine.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2013 at 8:56PM
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Except for the gut remodel of the kitchen, absolutely those other projects can be done in stages.

It is a good idea, IHMO, to have a master plan (for the mud room/kitchen/FR) so things look coherent.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2013 at 10:39PM
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Have a master plan--but also educate yourself.

Read a lot online about every single one of those projects. Become an expert in digging up old vinyl and laying down wood, and whether it should be prefinished or site finished or laminate or tile. Become a pro at figuring out how much it costs to bump out a kitchen (hint: a LOT). Read up on removing load bearing walls. It sounds like a lot, but your list isn't really all that long. The more you know, the more confident you will be at working with professionals.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2013 at 10:43PM
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We paid everything in cash as well. We bought a 100 year old tear down that we knew needed a lot of work, and we wanted to change things as we went, unfortunately, we found bigger issues that required immediate work and we didn't get a chance to change things. And like williamsem, it seemed ridiculous to rip out perfectly good new to change with more new. Have a good plan ahead of time. You can always make some changes as your needs and wants change.

Also, marcolo makes a good point. Educated yourself on things. You might find that you can do some of these things yourself and save a lot of money which could be put towards speeding up the renovation process.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2013 at 12:30AM
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