Monday, February 20, 2006

On cost of housing and renovating

Hubby and I did a fact-finding mission on Saturday regarding the pricing of modular housing. We had already decided that a fairly small and inexpensive two-bedroom unit would be adequate as we could install it over a raised basement for added square footage. It had been about five years since we'd priced these units and (surprise) they have gone up considerably.

The good thing is that with Jim's new job at the mines we could probably swing the loan to do this. The better thing is that we don't want to spend that much, even if allowed to. We have spent enough time in our marriage *poor* that we don't want to go there again, even if it means a nice new house. We'd rather eat out when we feel like it, upgrade our car in a year or two, and start thinking of travel destinations.

Having said that, our current home is still inadequate. Not only in space but in the fact that so much needs fixing, as I mentioned awhile back in a post on this subject. The large addition that we contemplated earlier will simply stretch us too far as well. Now we are looking for ways to alleviate two key space problems: the congestion in the central core of our home (where a 12x16 room contains the kitchen, dining area, stairway, and the *hall* to the living room), and the fact that there is no bathroom anywhere near the bedrooms.

We are going to have to spend some money on this house regardless. We can likely put it off for another year or two, but there is no particular benefit to doing so indefinitely. We do, however, have the time to decide how to get the maximum value for our renovation dollar.


Jean said...

In re-reading your original plan post and looking over this one, I can't help wondering if you'd get huge benefits from adding a protected entry/half bath off the living room. Or at least, a protected entry. Then guests wouldn't have to come through the entire house--laundry room/storage and kitchen/dining room just to sit in your living room and chat. The half bath, of course, keeps them from ever having to leave the living room if you don't want them to. Can't do it all at once? Put in a door and a large, solid deck that could be enclosed later for indoor living space as money permits.

The next benefit you could use immediately would be to convert the smaller bedroom into a bathroom., giving you master suite capabilities.

Thirdly, if you want a better view, is there a window you can enlarge to picture window size to enhance the indoor/outdoor relationship?

Lastly, I suspect your interior walls are all loadbearing, but if not, could you widen doorways or create passthroughs to increase the illusion of openess?

You've probably thought of these things and discarded them for some reason already, but if not, I thought I'd toss them out for mulling over.

Valerie Comer said...

I'll mull over your thoughts, Jean. The walls are concrete block on the main floor, so carving larger holes is a bit of an issue, but the two sections (kitchen and living room) don't have a wall between, just a needed chimney smack in the middle. Main heat source is a gas fireplace in the LR.

The LR is on the north. The driveway comes from the south. The west side is inaccessible from the driveway, and the east side has a lean-to that contains our 1300 gallon water cistern. There is a window to the north. The best place for an additioonal entry then becomes the east side just south of the cistern room...where whatever addition we build will likely land up.

Doing a second bathroom upstairs may become our first move. Currently Jim is using that little room as HIS office, and he doesn't think its fair for him to give up his space :P Gotta love it.

Jean said...

I knew you'd see better why my ideas were impractical! You definitely do NOT want an entrance on the north. I'm certainly sensitive to Jim losing office space. There just aren't any easy answers.