Remodel Ruminations

I have commenced the process of (what will prove to be) a significant remodel to my home. The goal is simply to make it larger and more suitable for two adults and (at least) 1 doggo. I have been through a handful of real estate-themed projects and decisions over the last decade and have brought you, my dear reader, along for the ride. Why not join me for another adventure?

The first steps I took were related to the size and scope of the project. The location of the home is significant and very desirable. It is not the remote wilderness that I have always dreamed of, but it affords some privacy and a proximity to town that suits me. Because of this, there are more limitations to which way(s) I can expand both up and out. To ensure that I’m not dreaming up unrealistic plans, I hired an architect.

"Heidi" (we'll call her) is great and brings decades of experience. Also, being a local herself, she is well versed in zoning laws as well as what will "work" in any given neighborhood. While considering a two-story extension off the back of the house, she pointed out that none of the neighboring homes have this sort of roofline and it would make our home stand out (in a not so good way). We are aiming for a "story and a half" while digging below the current home's crawl space to give us the room we want without the "sore thumb" effect of a too-tall home. The lesson here is to hire a professional. Always.

The way the home is situated on the lot, we are afforded the ability to expand out the front or off the back. After some consideration of both, I have opted for the back. There are too many factors that impact the front of the home that are just not necessary to have to adjust in this situation. The front door (which also impacts the initial room as you enter the home), the garage and the driveway would all have to be reconfigured (and rebuilt). Off the back of the home, there is nothing that would not be changed with the remodel anyway. It just makes the most sense.

“When you are considering a large-scale remodel like this, it is a perfect time to think about the actual layout and placement of the existing rooms. In the current world climate … even though we can see the proverbial light at the end of this pandemic tunnel, working from home has become a pretty common thing, notes Badger Peabody & Smith Realty agent Roland Turgeon. “I've been in this mode for quite some time and spend a lot of time on the phone and also really appreciate silence when I'm "digging in" to a project.”

With this in mind, this is a great opportunity to spread things out. If I can dig down and make my two-story addition, adding an office in that "wing" of the house is number one on my list. The offices would afford me a private and quiet spot to work.

Bathrooms came up in the initial discussion with Heidi and they are, without question, one of the more important rooms of the house. I’m not a big fan of the double-vanity setup (Why do you need to be next to me while I'm brushing my teeth?) or the wasted space of a tub. Small decisions like these not only help the architect with the layout but will end up saving us money to be applied elsewhere in the home. The lesson here is to get on the same page before you are sitting down with the designer.

The last thing we talked about is also one of the more important to me. What am I going to do with all of my toys? I have multiple bikes, loads of skis and a street and trail motorcycle. The existing garage is a little snug just with all of these toys. It’s getting a little messy and disorganized. Storage, besides linens and food, is often overlooked by buyers and remodelers alike. It is important to carve out space for your toys and tools.

The solution is twofold. Utilize the space on the first floor of the addition as a multipurpose room. Yoga, stretching, movies, exercise bikes and offseason storage. And add a shed in the backyard for the motorcycles. This way I can have a functional garage/workshop for the in-season sports and for easy access to the necessary tools and equipment while the offseason items are in the basement or shed. I can't wait to get started.

Taking on a big remodel like this is going to be very similar to building a home. There will be scores of decisions to make but I’m excited to get started (and thinking positive thoughts about the price of lumber). See you at the home improvement store.

Jason Robie works for Badger Peabody & Smith Realty.

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