How timely were recent posts on http://www.houzz.com/ (a very inspirational web magazine I’ve come to enjoy weekly). One was titled Tell Us: Why Did You Fall in Love With Your House?. The first thing that came to my mind regarding our home was “the possiblilities.” The second was Staying Put: How to Improve the Home You Have. That is exactly my plan.
I’ve been preparing over the past year for a remodel to the house we’ve just purchased. Our intention (I should say my intention –because my husband is completely content with things just the way they are) was always to remodel the kitchen since day one. I recently had a refrigerator guy over for some warranty repair work to whom I mentioned we were remodeling the kitchen… Like my husband, he commented: “Well what’s wrong with this kitchen? It seems perfectly nice!” Well on the outside I suppose it does… from the too-tall counter tops clad with chipping granite tiles, to the lovely (birch?) builder-grade cabinets with totally inaccessible blind corner cabinets and a layout that works for nobody… Yes I suppose I could live with this designer’s nightmare if I had to. But FINALLY –I don’t!
We bought a nearly new house with good bones and decent curb appeal so that we could be confident that money would be available to put towards the remodel instead of making repairs.
The primary remodel plan is for my dream kitchen. Because… after all I am a kitchen designer. Over my adult years (of which there are many!) I have designed countless spaces and dream kitchens for other people. But for whatever reason, my own dreams were always delegated to the back burner. In time I came to feel the best way for plans NOT to come to fruition was to put a design on paper. That’s as far as I got. Beautiful designs and renderings of the spaces I occupied but never got the chance to build either due to finances or life situations that made it impossible.
So now the time has come. The plans are on the paper and low and behold –my dreams have not been squashed once again. In fact, the plans are at the city planning department awaiting whatever demands to make changes and adjustments said planning department will impose in order to grant me a building permit.
In the meantime, I’ve been turning the internet inside out searching and finding ungodly deals on appliances and fixtures. There are many sources out there if you spend the time looking. I’ve found all of the appliances at greatly discounted prices. Most are new but some were floor model and ‘open box’ items from surplus wholesalers. Some are without a full year’s warranty as they were registered with the manufacturer by stores that put them on display, but never used… others will have the full year’s warranty. Some are simply ‘last year’s model’ but are perfect in every other way. None are “scratch and dents” but are new and functioning perfectly. All in all, I’ve managed to save almost 44 percent on the appliance package over retail! In the end, the overall project is predicted to be about 48 percent less than “retail” …at least that’s how it looks on my spreadsheet. Ok… that’s how I’m selling it to my husband anyway. I have high hopes that we will stay pretty close to budget. (Yeah I know –Doesn’t everybody?!)
Not everything is discounted, but I’ve spent some money in some areas on a few things I just had to have. Like the pendant lights that are made from antique seltzer bottles and the antiqued and embossed metal tiles (like those that go in a Victorian tin ceiling) that will be the back splash. I’ve had some discussions with my cabinet guy about some of my ‘extravagant’ choices as well.
I should note that over the many years of dreaming and planning –my ideas have changed. A lot. I’m a different person than I was in my 20’s, 30’s and –well let’s not get into counting decades. Technology has had a great influence on my choices as has the economy. This remodel (that involves about a third of the nearly 2000 square feet of living space) is going to cost (even at the “value engineered” price) about double the purchase price of my entire first house!
Even over the year of planning this remodel, I’ve made huge changes to the plans. We were originally going to add on, but realized quickly that our budget wouldn’t support it and… like the plan reviewer at the planning department noted: “This looks like you are empty nesters.” Yes indeed, we need better use of the space we have. Not more of it.
We’re not quite empty nesters yet, but that’s just a matter of time. We still have one more bedroom than we need that’s going to be turned into a hobby-laundry room. The new gourmet kitchen will be way overbuilt for the neighborhood. Probably not a great idea if increasing the resale value of the home were the primary goal. But it’s not. This is intended to be our last house… last move. FOREVER.
So it looks like we’ll be ordering cabinets next week which should arrive in about six weeks. The permit should be issued anywhere from three to five weeks. My contractor should be ready to start work in about five weeks. Except for the (2) garbage disposals all of the appliances and fixtures have been purchased. We will be without a kitchen for about a month.
In the meantime –I’m trying really hard not to second guess my choices or my plan. We designers are a pain in the ass to work with when it comes to making changes. Knowing this, I’m trying really hard to be on my best behavior. My good friend and contractor Dave will be certain to put me in my place if I get out of line.
I’ll post befores and afters on the progress of the remodel once we get started. But now? We wait…