In 2001, my husband & I downsized and bought a ‘fixer upper’ that we have been working on ever since. The photo on the left shows my first quick fix of painting the cabinets I had to keep for awhile. Yes, those hinges were black and the cabinets were white. And of course the counters were formica. But the worst part of the kitchen was the bay window that was so low that when I stood in front of it I had to bend to see out!
But as a designer, I want what I want and would prefer to start almost from scratch. But it has been a very long journey. We had to put in new wiring, some plumbing, new heating and cooling system, roof, garage, front door and windows. None of that is very exciting unless it doesn’t function.
Now we have redone our master bath & bedroom, adding crown moulding, raising the height of the sink, as well as new countertops, lighting, & shower door. I loved the old fashioned tile on the floor which is now back in style.
The kitchen was the biggest disaster. It was small and there was an even smaller dining room. We removed the wall, opened it up to the living room. Now we have a large kitchen with space for a table and chairs. The floor plan is very functional and I love how it opens to the covered porch we added. The french doors are where that old bay window was.
So, here are some of my recommendations if you are thinking of taking on a big reno.
- Think of all the things you like and don’t like about your space.
- Measure and draw plans..hire an expert if you do not know how.
- Take into consideration your lifestyle..casual, active, pets & kids
Make your selections of flooring, tile, colors ahead of time. Do they all look good together? Does it flow with the rest of the house?
Consider the contractor you are going to hire
- Is he licensed & insured
- Check his standing with the BBB
- Can you see his work in someone’s home? Can you speak with past client’s
- What are the terms for payment? They should not be more than 1/3 to start, 1/3 halfway through, and 1/3 on completion
- Will he draw the permits for elec & plumbing? Make it his responsibility not yours.
- Ask about time frame and get it in writing with a penalty for being late.
It is very difficult to live in a remodeling zone. It is hard on a marriage. It always cost more than you are expecting because you do not know what you will run into when walls are opened up.
But friends, it is so worth it in the end. You get all the little details you want. It has your personality built in. We always appreciate the most, what we suffer for the most!