Oh, We Cooties Are a Fickle Lot

Okay, so you know how for YEARS and YEARS and YEARS I’ve been posting floorplans and dream homes and plan to build on the land we own?

Um.

Well.

That may not happen after all.

But wait! Before you roll your eyes at me, let me explain!

You see, Denis and I finally got to a point where we felt we were ready to do it – put our house on the market, sell it for close to what we paid for it, and build our dream house.

But you know what’s involved with all that?

  • Fixing up a house – all the little things you’ve lived with that new home buyers won’t tolerate.
  • Packing up a house – getting 1/3 of your stuff cleared out so your house looks decluttered and allowing potential home buyers to envision their crap in your house instead of your crap.
  • Moving – not just once, but possibly TWICE if the home sells faster than your new home is being built.
  • Living through a home construction – and wondering if you made the right choice in builder, floorplan, location and timing.
  • You know what else is involved?

  • Forcing your kids to switch schools.
  • Forcing your kids to start over with the whole “making friends” thing because your new street has virtually NO kids to play with.
  • Unpacking.
  • A longer commute to work because your new home is further south than your current home, and you work north.
  • So Denis and I briefly debated putting our house on the market and buying a pre-existing home that fits our needs a bit more than this house, but that would still involve the first three bullet points.

    And so now a new option is on the table: home addition.

    Our friend Amy successfully built an addition on her home last year. One of my bosses successfully built an addition on his home a few years ago. Both had nothing but praise for their contractors and the decision to stay put and simply add on.

    As for our house, the main thing we don’t like about our house is the kitchen. It’s just not quite what we want in a kitchen. And I hate the breakfast area being the pass through to get from the kitchen to the tv room.

    We have a patio in the back that is 14dx21w. I mentioned to Denis the idea of splitting it in half, and building an 11×14 breakfast room, and extending the kitchen out into the current breakfast room via a peninsula/bar area.

    See this picture, which shows our current layout (ignore patio dimensions – it is actually 14dx21w as stated above, not 12dx20w):

    Here’s what I proposed to Denis the other day:

    There’s only one glitch in this graphic – and that is that the new breakfast room appears more wide than long – and that the table should be turned 90 degrees to fit properly. But in fact, the new room would be 11 wide and 14 long, so while the *graphic* is wrong, the table WOULD go in the room as shown. We’d put in sliding glass doors to let the dog/kids go outside, and the other two exterior walls would have windows. This would allow plenty of sunlight to stream into the area.

    One can also see that I’ve bumped out the family room by a few feet so the exterior wall lines up with the new peninsula counter – it would basically add another 2-3 feet to that room, making it just a tad closer to square. But THAT kind of remodel is strictly “wish list” – it is not something that has to be done, but if it fits the budget then I say go for it. The room is a nice size as it is – 14×19, so making it 17×19 isn’t a requirement to say the least.

    As for the remainder of the patio, if we do the addition I suspect the entire patio will have to be ripped out since the new addition will need a solid foundation poured, so at that point we could choose where we want the new one to go. Based on this graphic, putting it behind the family room seems like the best location. Another wish list: having it be a screened-in porch rather than just a cement patio.

    So yeah, I know I’ve blathered on for years about building a house, but given the fact that Denis and I just don’t have the energy to deal with all of the bullet points above, and the fact that this kind of addition would basically make this house pretty close to perfect for us, it just seems like this might be a more feasible option for us.

    Thoughts? We were originally hoping to begin building the dream home in August or September, and we’d still probably go that route if we decide to stay put and build the addition. Both Amy and my boss highly recommended their contractors, and Angie’s List has a couple highly-rated contractors that we’ll probably contact as well.

    I’ll say this: the idea of NOT moving, NOT packing, NOT dealing with the kids having to leave their school/friends – it brings a lot of peace into my heart and mind. Whereas the idea of building a house and all the stuff that entails makes me nervous, building a modest addition and expanding the kitchen just feels…right.

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    5 comments

    1. Jaynee, I think I would agree with you and think the idea is fantastic. If you were to sell your property along with using the other money you have to work with, you could also do other improvements to the house like new hardwood for the family room, furniture, etc. You aren’t fickle but, rather, I think you are being wise in allowing the Lord to guide your decision-making on this. And I can totally empathize on the not wanting to pack, move and unpack thing. I still haven’t recovered from our move and my dad’s condo. 🙂

    2. Marmie: based on the brief bit of research I’ve done, we should have enough money not only to do the modest addition, but to do a couple other projects such as replacing the carpeting with hardwoods and replacing out 15+ year old AC units. A lot of folks in our neighborhood have had theirs die over the past two summers, so we know we are on borrowed time with those.

      We won’t be selling the land, though. We always said if we sold, we would only sell if we could get at least what we paid for it in 2006, and right now in this flat market, we couldn’t – we’d end up with a 10-15% loss, which we’re not willing to do. So we’ll hold it for now until the market improves, and then consider selling it.

    3. Jaynee, that looks like a good plan. I’d recommend you use an architect to do the design instead of letting a general contractor do it. The reason is that the back wall is load-bearing and you are proposing to remove two thirds of it. Pushing your family room wall back, which is a good idea, will move it out of alignment with the upper walls. Doing that will most likely dictate a large beam to carry the weight of the upper floors across that span. You may even need one post somewhere to add strength. An architect will be able to determine the requirements. Remember in our Fairfax house that little wall between the eating space and the family room? That was there to hold up one end of the beam that spanned the family room where the bump-out had been added. You may end up with something similar.

      Also, if you do a screened in porch with a board deck, remember to put screening UNDER the floor boards to keep out insects from underneath.

    4. I concur with the previous comments. I think it’s a great idea.

      I’m starting to really stress out at the thought of moving. I’m so done with moving that I have told Beau that this is it. The house we buy is the house we should plan to die in. I refuse to move again in my lifetime.

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