Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Flip This House (But Don't Sell It)

When we bought this house 4 years ago, it was with the agreement that we'd eventually renovate it. The house was in the perfect location: walking distance from my office, walking distance from the state park and the state forest, lots of trees. We also liked the house itself, but it was too small. The living room is cramped, it's only 3 bedrooms. For a couple with no kids, it was really just about right. But we figured we might have kids someday, and if that ever happened, then we'd need more space.

Fast-forward a few years, and I feel like I'm living out of underbed storage bins and tripping over too-closely-spaced furniture. It is time. So we got a couple of estimates, got approval for a loan, and it looks like we're going to renovate this year! Hooray!

Here's the plan (with apologies if you've never seen my house, since this might not be easy to visualize without a floorplan).
First and most importantly-- the rear wall of the living room is going to be pushed back 10 feet, adding another 130 sq ft or so of living space. Yes, we'll lose the fabulous upper deck, but we will add onto the lower deck to make up the space. We'll also have a door on the left (close to where the back door is now) AND a door on the right which will both empty onto the new-and-improved lower deck, which will wrap around the rear of the house.

Second, we are closing up the elevator shaft. If you've seen my bedroom, you know what I'm talking about. Why would anyone want 2-story ceilings in the bedroom unless you have a 2-story wall of windows overlooking something beautiful to match? Which, by the way, we don't. So there will be a new room above our bedroom.

Third, we are doubling the width of the catwalk. This is something I'd never have even thought about before having a baby, but the number of times e-baby face-planted into one of the pickets while learning and crawl and walk, it was heartbreaking. The reason was that the catwalk is about 3 feet wide, so if she fell, regardless of which direction she fell, she had great odds of smacking her mouth into a pointy picket. By making the catwalk twice as wide, we will have a better play area up there (and we play on that catwalk a lot anyway). We'll also have a space to eventually put a couple of chairs and a side table as a reading loft. Sweet!

Finally, and here's what we're least certain about, another bathroom upstairs. It isn't a huge deal, but I don't like that our guests have to share the bathroom with Elmo's bath fizzies and 200 plastic bathtub toys. The first thought was to put a bathroom over the breakfast area (if you've been to my house, I'm talking about Kitchen Stadium-- no more Iron Chef murals, aw shucks). This would turn E-baby's room into a guest suite, and she'd move to what is currently the guest room. I like it, but here's the problem-- are we ever going to have another kid? If so, then we have one kid in a wee-tiny bedroom and the other in a gigantic luxury palace. Hardly seems fair. SNG's dad gave us the idea for a brilliant alternative-- put the bathroom (and a closet) in the FROG, and turn the FROG into a guest suite/office. The FROG is acoustically isolated from the rest of the house so it would be a nice, peaceful place to have a guest room. The room is already enormous so there's plenty of space to add a bathroom, and we wouldn't have to build new floor joists and such, so it's cheaper than the Kitchen Stadium plan, too. I'm still not entirely sure which to do, or even whether we really need another bathroom at all. It would certainly add to resale value, and it would be very practical. What do you think? As a potential visitor to my house, tell me your thoughts.

Oh, and as an aside, I thought I'd put a link to a post from when we bought this house, but for some reason, Blogger doesn't go back that far in its archives. Who knew?


jgr4 said...

I'm trying to figure out what the FROG is - but the rest of the plan sounds great.
As for the room size discrepancy, that would give you the opportunity to teach your kids one of life's most important lessons. In the immortal and oft-used words of my mother, "Life isn't fair."

cat said...

FROG: Finished Room Over Garage
Yeah, it is a good lesson to learn, and my brother and I had lopsided room sizes. I never cared either way, but I had the bigger room most of the time.

PartnerInCrime said...

I think FROG is a NC term, I'd never heard it before we started looking at houses there.
The FROG is pretty huge, so I think you could easily fit a bathroom in there and still have a large guest room/office leftover. Would you set it up so that the new bathroom shares a wall with the existing bathroom? Because I would think that since the pipes are already there, the plumbing expenses would be even cheaper than setting it up over the kitchen or wherever.
And technically, no, you don't *need* another bathroom - 4 bedrooms and 2 1/2 baths is plenty. But I get why you want one. Maybe make the new one a 3/4 bath (shower stall, no tub)?

SNG said...

The FROG bathroom wouldn't be next to the other 2nd floor bath, but it is over the garage where dropping pipes will be easy. It would also have a shower, not a tub.
The best thing really, is that locating it there puts it on existing floor framing and under an existing roof line. That room is big enough to loose a little space to a small bathroom.