WWYD - househunters edition

robo (z6a)February 28, 2013

Hi everyone!

This is not a real scenario, more of a dreaming scenario before I rip my own house apart, so feel free to play along if you want.

A house came up in my dream neighborhood (it is inside a park, near a beach, near downtown, I mean, come on!). It's got contemporary bones but has not been decorated so. It's been on the market on and off for a few years and is now dropping in price monthly. My husband has been inside the house and loves it. My issue is -- dream neighborhood, but look at this kitchen.

Not so bad....

Oh dear..

To right of fridge

The dimensions for this combined room are given as
Kitchen 20X10
Dining Room 11.7X6.2

The bright spot beside the fridge is a patio door to a deck overlooking the park/maybe a sliver of ocean. The deck runs up 3 stories so would be very pricey to move.

So -- if you were going to take on this home with, I don't know, let's say a $40K budget, WWYD? Would you do it? When I say $40K in my neighborhood I'm talking...the price to put in a super luxury bathroom or a low-mid kitchen.

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robo (z6a)

The park and the beach...beach is about 5 years from being swimmable...

    Bookmark   February 28, 2013 at 4:50PM
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What's the room left of stove? It looks like pantry/laundry. How big is it?

    Bookmark   February 28, 2013 at 5:57PM
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robo (z6a)

Pretty sure it is laundry. It has a weird jog in it -- not sure why. Maybe something to do with the front entryway. I believe it is about 5.5 x 6.5.

There is also a formal dining/living about half a floor up and a family room half a floor down.

Can you tell I have a huge statistics assignment due tonight? :P

This post was edited by robotropolis on Thu, Feb 28, 13 at 18:10

    Bookmark   February 28, 2013 at 6:06PM
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Very generally, location trumps everything (unless it was in real disrepair, which is isn't). Your dream neighborhood is probably a lot of people's dream neighborhood, right? The kitchen is a good size and the layout could be tweaked.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2013 at 6:59PM
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If you just took out the white appliances as a first step, the kitchen would look so much better.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2013 at 7:08PM
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robo (z6a)

Current neighborhood: charming, city feel, great neighbors, hot market. Realtors send us personal letters asking us if maybe we'd be interested in selling to their clients.
Park at the end of our street:

Prospective neighborhood: just outside downtown, former summer cottages, very quirky and charming, a bit higher priced than ours. Likely to be much higher priced when they get the beach cleaned up (new sewage treatment plant - technically the beach is "open" but only intrepid tourists and our mayor swim there). Close to lakes as well. I'd have to get a car, big drawback.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2013 at 8:31PM
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Well, we bought a house in the next neighborhood because I happened upon it one spring day when we were trying to decide whether to remodel our current home and it made more sense than remodeling, financially and in terms of what the house gave us. But I didn't change schools for the kids (that was a big one for us) and we weren't making a lifestyle change. Looks like they are both great neighborhoods, so you just need to decide which one fits you best now and for the coming years.

Based on dream house and dream neighborhood, I was ready to say I'd take another look at the house to figure a few things out and then probably make an offer before someone else snaps it up. BUT, it sounds like you aren't sure whether you want to trade neighborhoods or make the city/not-so-city (hard to tell what just outside downtown means) and you say having to buy a car is a big drawback. I think that is at the heart of your decision, and in spite of your saying it's not a real scenario, you say DH loves the house and you sure seem to be twisting your hair over this, so to speak.

If you want to make the change, I think you have to see the house and make sure you agree, and the two of you, possibly with a contractor in tow, need to go look at the house with a serious "does it really work for us and will it add to our lives together" attitude. The contractor would be there to tell you whether muct move walls are load bearing, help you figure out the mystery jog, spot major obstacles to ideas you might have or help you spot possibilities you might not see.

Keep in mind that contractor being there doesn't mean you have to do anything before you move. Our realtor suggested we move in and live with the kitchen 6 months to a year before we did anything to make sure of how it really worked for us. We did, and life took over, so 5 months turned to 4 years, but instead of replacing counters and appliances, we went to the studs and redid cabinets and all. I wouldn't not have been willing to do that had we not waited. We also put money aside while we thought about it and took care of other things, so it was easier to do what we wanted when we figured it out. Time and planning are valuable assets when doing a kitchen.

I think there are possibilities there, but from the limited photos, you can't develop anything more that rough ideas and a list of questions. Finding out what is behind the mystery jog would be key to any plans taking shape, but even if that can't change, you could stack a W/D or possibly relocate them and gain a lot of space. I'd also look at moving the patio door over to the right and putting a pantry and fridge on the wall where the door to the laundry is now -- a walk-in if the laundry can be moved, cabinet depth of not. All the sudden, you could be looking at a U-shape with a modest island in the same space. I don't think you need an addition, just better space planning.

For me, this is definitely just looking. I can't even look or kick the tire. But what are you thinking?

    Bookmark   February 28, 2013 at 9:04PM
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Might be too pricey due to moving water/electrical, but a reasonable layout might be to put the kitchen proper on the bigger right side, and use the current kitchen as a nice corner-windowed nook.
Gorgeous view of H Harbour at the end of that street! Be careful banking too much on realtors sending you fishing letters, however... listings have been down across the country and several agents are just scrambling for listings.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2013 at 10:26PM
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robo (z6a)

Yes, I haven't had a realtor in to assess. If we get serious, I will.

At the time we bought this house, we paid the highest price ever in our neighborhood and closed within 24h. Which sounds idiotic, I know. But we knew the market in and out and knew it was a steal of a deal for the size (unusually large) and condition. The neighborhood is now the new "hot" neighborhood in town and a house down the street, smaller than ours but modernized, just sold for $100K more than we paid. There are quite a few selling now for $50-80k more. It's a weird bubble but I don't think it will burst soon as there are solid economic factors driving the demand.

I like our house now a lot -- except the kitchen. And I like that house -- except the kitchen. So I guess either way there's a tearout in my future! Probably where I am. But I still like to dream about the dream neighborhood!

    Bookmark   February 28, 2013 at 11:05PM
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The easy thing for right now would be to relocate the laundry room door to the short wall on the right, and then wrap the cabinets to put the stove on that wall now. You also probably have room for a mobile cart to put in the center for extra prep space. You could do an open shelf on the laundry wall and another cart beside the range and not buy new cabinets at all right now. Just paint what's there white and put in a pretty beachy laminate counter in something like Sea Glass from Wilsonart. The white appliances would work with that and you could get a new luxury vinyl tile snap together floor in a pretty driftwood color. You've spent less than 5K on everything and improved the function and style. Once you get moved in, you can focus on tweaking the home to add more windows to bring in more light.

Sea Glass laminate, Armstrong Natural Creations Driftwood Gray

    Bookmark   March 1, 2013 at 7:42AM
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robo (z6a)

Love those ideas! That laminate counter is really pretty...inspired by the sea foam thread perhaps? ;)

The realtor must have chosen the dreariest day ever to take pictures (not hard in Nova Scotia) because that kitchen has two fair sized windows and a patio door. Mind you the one window and door face NE and the other window NW.

When our realtor was taking photos of our condo to sell he ran around closing all the curtains and turning the lights on. I was like: this condo has huge sunny windows. That's not a feature you're gonna want to hide. They seem to think people want to see shrouded, dim rooms.

Sometimes I miss that condo

But definitely don't miss the condo sized kitchen

Although it was way more functional than our kitchen now

Another option with the stove turning the corner would be to try to steal cabs from the pantry side. Would require more rejigging since the pantry corner is likely 36 inches.

This post was edited by robotropolis on Fri, Mar 1, 13 at 8:38

    Bookmark   March 1, 2013 at 8:20AM
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I'm totally swayed by location and would put up with a less than ideal kitchen if I was happier in my new neighborhood.

And what's with the realtor closing the curtains and turning on the lights? They always do that on every show on HGTV. Windows and light are better than a look-at-me window covering any day. It suggests that the view outside is of a prison exercise yard.

Edited to add: I missed the part about this being a fantasy. You had me there for awhile.

This post was edited by linelle on Fri, Mar 1, 13 at 10:19

    Bookmark   March 1, 2013 at 9:33AM
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robo (z6a)

Well, it's a mulling over. The darn house keeps getting cheaper and more attractive. On the other hand, we have a good house now. Both aren't perfect, neither can have a garage, neither has good kitchen or bathrooms. Neither has kitchen facing backyard. Neither can have the open floor plan i really want. We live in a 8/10 neighbourhood now and that's a 9/10. We're at the top of our neighbourhood now, that's near the bottom of its neighbourhood. Well, middle bottom. I feel like I might have to fall in love a bit more to go through the hassle of moving and write a realtor a huge check.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2013 at 10:30AM
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