In your remodel...?

lavender_lassDecember 17, 2010

When you remodeled your home, did you keep the layout similar to the home's original floor plan...or did you drastically change things?

Did you add a small addition, a large addition, or tear most of the house down and start over?

I know some people are forced to work with 'grandfather' clauses, so sometimes tear everything down, except maybe a bathroom, and basically build a whole new house. Other people add on a large addition, often for kitchen/family room space downstairs and maybe a master bed/bath upstairs. Still others take down some walls to open up the space and bring in more light, but leave the same basic floor plan...while others are intent on historic renovation.

So, how would you categorize your remodel? Are you okay with the results, or thrilled? Would you do it all over again?

Thank you for the input...just beginning the planning stages on a farmhouse remodel :)

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A PO had already added onto our bungalow so when we undertook our project, we had all the space we needed/wanted. What we did, though, was to swap the location of the old kitchen with a bedroom. Given that change, we also made sure the 'new' rooms perfectly matched the 1919 style of the rest of our house. We DIY'd about 1/2 the project ourselves.

Bungalows aren't huge so during the duration of our project, because half the house was gutted, we lived in the basement. That lasted for 4 months during the winter and it was not fun. However, we'd do it again because the outcome has turned out better than we could have hoped.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2010 at 7:44AM
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We tore down one side and rebuilt a large addition. We're thrilled with the results. We're still working out some kinks with heating since the new side is more insulated, but the original part that we didn't touch was fine.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2010 at 9:26AM
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Some of this depends on the scope of what you want v. what you're starting with.

We bought a 1950's ranch on 'the perfect lot' and planned to remodel it. Thank goodness for our next door neighbor, a bank appraiser. He pointed out that we would be value ahead to do a teardown. He was sooo right! (Of course it also increased the value of HIS home. LOL)

Consider the market value of an all NEW house v. one that's been added onto, reconfigured, whatever. If you can afford to do a teardown and build new -- and the house is not historic -- go for it! You may not spend any more money and you will have greater value. It will also go faster.

Remodeling is the tedious, careful teasing apart of a house. You never know what you are going to discover or how your original plans will have to be altered. The end result may not look 'all of a piece' and the house may not 'flow'. If you had 8-foot ceilings, small baths, old mechanicals and windows -- you'll still have them in the original parts of the house. The result may be better, but not best.

Former neighbors doubled the size of their house, adding bedrooms and baths. Problem was, the kitchen, LR, DR, foyer and garage were still sized for a small family. They lost money when they sold. Buyers who needed a 5 BR house wanted more living space. They could also find ALL-new homes for less than what our neighbors were asking to attempt to recoup their remodeling expense.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2010 at 1:22PM
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We had a 1970's brick ranch right in the middle of family owned land. There was no way that we could sell it so we decided to gut the entire house and start over. The house was already 4 bed/ 3 bath, 3000 sq. ft., so we worked with the layout and space alreay there. We reconfigured the master bed and bath and the kitchen/ living area. Everything else was left the same. The results were dramtic though due to the changes in finshes. I am very satisfied with the changes made and would do it all over again. I even went out on a limb and acted as general contractor on the job... with no experience! See the link for pics of the kitchen... this was 4 rooms before the remodel.

Here is a link that might be useful: Kitchen

    Bookmark   December 27, 2010 at 5:50PM
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I've been following your posts over on the kitchen forum. It sounds like you are still in the gathering information I right?

We just completed a large remodel/addition to our 10 year old house. I was attached to the neighborhood and the garden, which we have invested all sorts of time and shrubbery in. So, I completely understand wanting to remain in a lovely setting.

We gutted our old kitchen and added 500 square feet of first floor space plus about 350 square feet of covered porch. We ended up adding a full basement under the addition, which we will hopefully finish this year.

I am thrilled with the addition. I love having a laundry room and a large eat in gourmet kitchen. We have both our master bedroom and guest room on the first floor with large walk in showers. (We renovated all of our bathrooms last year.) I love knowing that if one of our aging parents needs to stay with us, we have a great space for it.

We used one of the best GC's in our area, so I feel very confident with the work that was done. I think it would be a very stressful and unpleasant endeavor to undertake without reliable professional experience and knowledge. Neither of us had that, plus we both work outside of the home, which is why we had to use a GC.

Financially, we were able to handle the expense, but it is easy to get caught up in little "upgrades" that end up costing a significant amount of money. And the more house you are redoing, the more temptation there is to add to the cost. A remodel does end up costing more per sq foot than a new build would. Housing costs here have remained fairly stable compared to other parts of the country. If we had to sell tomorrow, we would lose money, but I can accept that. I don't consider my home an investment.

I'm including the link to our kitchen renovation below. The album titled Addition has all of our completed addition photos. Good luck to you!

Here is a link that might be useful: remodel

    Bookmark   December 28, 2010 at 3:01PM
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Another old house owner here. We did a major remodel spanning 2008-2010 but kept the layout very similar to the home's original floor plan.

My home is a 1890s era three-story rowhouse with a formal dining room, kitchen and bath on the first floor; two parlors/living areas and a small side room on the second floor; and bedrooms and bath on the top floor. Many new owners make the house conform to a more modern concept of having a large open eating-living space, so make the second floor a family room-dining room-kitchen space, and use the first floor for a TV or playroom and maybe an extra bedroom. We're formal people and like the division of rooms and spaces in the original Victorian layout, so kept it the same for our remodel.

We did take down a couple of walls on the third/top floor to accommodate a larger bathroom (the original was all of 5' by 6', no joke) but not any load-bearing walls. We also opened some flow by removing two sets of double doors that hogged a lot of swing space into rooms. Our historic preservation had to do with keeping all the woodwork and pocket doors, an original tin ceiling, and as many of the plaster walls as could be salvaged after we ran ducts for a/c and new hot-water heating pipes.

We were working with an intact structure - no problems with foundations or water damage. Some of the electrical had not been recently updated but there wasn't any of the truly ancient cloth-covered electrical wiring in the house. Same with plumbing - not all brand new but no cracking cast-iron pipes to deal with. And the previous owners maintained the roof, kept the basement bone-dry, and the facade was immaculate. So overall our remodel was more of a hardcore cosmetic renovation, with the addition of a/c and a new heating system.

Am I thrilled with the results? Yes and no. We paid a lot and went through a lot of aggro with our remodel. I'm still at the point where I can't look at some of the nicer features without thinking of the pain and distress it took to get there. When people see our place and compliment it, I can sometimes appreciate what we did - modernized and updated the house's behind-the-walls elements and interior decor while maintaining its historic character.

Would I do it again? Not with this house. I think we did make a couple of layout mistakes - it would have been nice to figure out a way to squeeze in an extra bedroom - but we'll deal with what we have.

Would I renovate some other old house? YES, but with one big caveat - I'd have to love the house before I started the reno. This house my DH loves and I've always liked but it's not the house of my heart and never will be, even after our renovation. Were I to undertake the financial and emotional headaches of a big remodel again, it would have to be for a house that I adore.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2010 at 2:10PM
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