Our Home Renovation: Part 1

This is the first in a series of posts about our home renovation. Ideally, I would have written these posts during our renovation project. But, as you will learn from these posts, the process is long, confusing — to me, anyway! – and very, very dusty!

I hope to answer for you all of the questions and concerns that I had during the process. Tips on working with an architect, selecting a contractor, working within your budget, living with the dust and upheaval, and making decisions both big and small.

Our house circa September 2007

In the beginning:

When we started thinking about renovating our house, we had already lived there for almost 10 years. Actually, that is not true. We first started thinking about it before the house was even ours! Before we had placed a bid on the house, we knocked on the door of our soon-to-be neighbors to look at the addition that they had built. My father warned us “if you buy this house, don’t wait too long to add on”. Easier said than done. At the time, we had a four-year-old and a two-year-old. More importantly, we were living only on my husband’s salary as I had stopped working after the birth of our first child. At that point in time, even the mortgage was going to be a bit of a stretch.

And once we moved in, we loved the house. The kitchen, while small, was more updated than the one in our old house.

The basement was nicely finished and made a great playroom for our young children.

The house had a master bathroom which our old house did not.

And, we had a great deck and a generously sized yard for our township which typically has small plots.

Best of all, we had great neighbors. Lots of kids on the street playing outside. Neighborhood happy hours, block parties, book clubs, holiday cookie exchanges.

It was enough to make us forget about the small kitchen, lack of family room and lack of a first-floor powder room. It was enough. Until it wasn’t.

Large deck was one of the biggest selling points
Kids loved the yard and swing set. Sadly, we lost the pear tree and swing set during Hurricane Sandy.

Flash Forward:

Our four year old was fourteen. Our two year old was twelve. I was working part-time and the news was warning of increasing interest rates. My husband and I knew that the time had come. We needed to pull the trigger. And that is when the fun started!

Home renovation; when to do a home renovation

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