You guys. It’s happening! After nearly 2 years of fits and starts, should we/shouldn’t we, we are/no we’re definitely not I am 5 days (FIVE DAYS!) away from moving out of my house for the next six months to do a major renovation and addition. I am excited, nervous, anxious, terrified, relieved and sort of still not believing that it’s happening. The mountains of boxes surrounding me and piled up like Tetris cubes in my garage say otherwise though. It’s happening. We are coming up on 4 years since we bought the house and I wrote this post.
on closing day 2012
We immediately fell in love with so much about it but, as anyone who owns one knows, the charms of an old house often come with some far less charming realities. In our case these were numerous as the previous owner really hadn’t done any updates in the 30 years she lived here. Drafty, original windows, knob & tube electrical, water in the basement, snow in the attic – you name it, we’ve got it. In 2014 we started the process of planning a renovation but were stopped in our tracks when we got quotes 2 and 3 times over what we were expecting. By early 2015, it became clear that in addition to what we wanted in the house (a new kitchen and bathroom and a better flow between the family room and new kitchen) there was a SIGNIFICANT amount of money to be spent on very unsexy things like updating the heating, plumbing and electrical.
After a short, but exciting run in with This Old House (the tv show) which I posted about here, we really gave up on the idea of renovating this house and focused instead on seeing what came up in the spring/summer 2015 market in our town. Maybe there was a better project out there? Somewhere that didn’t require so much work or was on a bigger lot. Maybe? Something? We went through the rest of 2015 looking at the listings and collectively shaking our heads at what we saw. Nothing in our price range that didn’t also need a lot of work and definitely nothing that would give us the walk-ability and old house charm we love so much about our current home. We were effectively living in a perpetual Love it or List it episode. I can count on one hand the number of houses we saw that we seriously considered (at least I did…Mr. H+F never really did), all of which were at the very top of our budget and STILL had hideous kitchens and bathrooms. So faced with the “stay here and make this what we want” or “go somewhere else and live with less than ideal until we can afford better”, we are picking option A. After two years of back and forth, we went back to our architect, made some changes, put it out to bid, gagged and then came to terms with the cost, found a builder we like and applied for a building permit in the span of 2.5 months.
first floor plan
I’ll give you the run down of what’s happening. In addition to stripping out the old electrical, removing radiators, re-siding the whole house, putting in new windows, a new heating system and central air (good bye ugly, loud window units!!!) we are enclosing a back porch area and putting on a 16′ addition for a new kitchen, family room, powder room, mudroom and basement stairs (note those last 3 are moving from the right side of the house to the left).
second floor plan
Upstairs, we are re-purposing a tiny little room that I use as my office (despite its current lack of heat and electricity) and making it the laundry room. We are stealing space from a bizarrely huge linen closet and closet attached to our only bathroom and re-designing the hall bathroom. We’re are taking Knox’s closet, my closet and the 2nd story enclosure of that same back porch area and using all that space together to create a 4th bedroom. Most of the addition becomes our master bedroom, which is moving to the back right (the sunniest spot of our house) and a new ensuite bathroom.
Fixing our big wraparound porch (which has been sinking and pulling away from the house for the last 100 years thanks to not being on a foundation…See how that top right corner is significantly lower than the part attached to the house?) and digging out our basement to allow for a finish-able and dry space rounds out the laundry list of to-do’s. That last one is a doozy and literally involves wheel barrels of dirt being carted out of the basement and new, lower foundation walls being poured to reinforce the existing walls. Sounds terrifying, I know but is apparently a common thing.
So there you have it! If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you have been on this renovation saga with me for the last 2 years and I am SO EXCITED to share this experience with you all. There will no doubt be many posts in the coming months with updates, appeals for advice and design plans. There will probably be some freak outs along the way and lots of ugly before we get to the pretty but stay with me! I think/hope/pray it will all be worth it in the end.
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