This week we started a BIG Phase 1 remodel.
It took us a long time and interviewing a lot of contractors before we made a decision. We started getting quotes from contractors as we were doing the home inspection. When we first met with the contractor- we gave him our pie in the sky remodel list. It included knocking down two walls- one load bearing, new kitchen and bedroom floors, painting the entire interior, and redoing the kitchen. 99% of the work on our list was/is work that we just couldn't DIY ourselves- with a 6 month old we just don't have the time and we just don't have the expertise!
Our first quote was for twice as much as we had budgeted. YIKES. We quickly realized that we couldn't do it all, so we started a prioritize. We also worked with our contractor to really refine our priority list- and to NOT go over budget.
(1) First priority: Knocking down the wall between the 'living' and 'dining' areas. This wall just creates two awkwardly sized areas, and by taking the wall down- we'd change the entire way that we used the living space:
We also really wanted to take down the load bearing wall on the right- which connects to the kitchen to connect the entire space together:
Here's where we started to spend a good chunk of money real quick.
We looked at both tile and hardwood for the kitchen. We could have gone for a $1-3 tile in the kitchen, but the only tile we liked was $5-6 a porcelain tile. Not to mention, the real cost is the installation- the tile or hardwood is really the least expensive part. Who knew?
Since we already have to patch the floors in the living areas, according to our contractor- bringing in hardwoods into the kitchen to match won't be that much more expensive.
We did struggle with spending money to knock down walls or redo the kitchen. We realized that knocking down the walls and redoing the floors would really change the way we used the space, so that's how we prioritized.
(3) Next on our list, and the hardest decision, replacing the wall oven:
Our solution- it's not perfect- remove the cupboards where the stove top is and put in a combo oven stove. Stove tops with ovens are much cheaper. And put in a shelf or cabinet doors where the current wall oven is.
What sold Mr. Spice (the Chef of the family) on this idea- the cupboard that we're removing is 36-inches, so he'd get a good big oven and stove top. And the good news- the hood is already 36-inches and fairly new, so we can keep that!
So 1, 2, and 3 were all priorities that we had, and all are big cosmetic changes.
Of course, it all can't be fun and cosmetic, right?
(4) Every Contractor we met with suggested that we put in cans in the living room ceiling, which made sense for three reasons- when we take down the wall we'd already opening up the ceiling, second- there are NO lights currently in the living area, and three- there is currently only one dinky track light in the 'dining' area- which gives off a TON of heat. So that quickly made the list.
(5) Air conditioning!! Living in Wine Country- I just don't know how we could live without it. Two Saturday's ago it was 100 degrees- and there is NO way to tell a 6 month old baby that moving around just makes it worse. It took over an hour to get her to want to go down because - even with ceiling fans at 8pm- it was HOT.
The awesome news on this item- we have an amazing support system- Papa Spice is paying for the unit as as house warming gift!! Yep. Awesome!!
(6) And least fun, when we bought the house we knew that the electrical box was original and substandard. We were told that at some point it would need to be replaced, but that it was currently fine. Unfortunately, our new super cool air conditioning unit- it requires us to replace the electrical box and some somewhat pricey electrical wiring.
This last item knocks one of priorities out of the budget- we can no longer afford to knock down the load bearing wall to open up the whole space. Bummer.
Other items we can't afford right now: (1) doing anything to the kitchen- cabinets, counter tops, and the sink. (2) ripping out the carpets in the bedrooms and refinishing the hardwoods, and (3) while we already had a professional paint all the bedrooms and the bathrooms- I am pretty sure that we'll end up painting the living areas ourselves. (4) one surprise- our fridge is old and white, but we love the layout and the crushed ice (ha), so we think it may stay for now.
As for picking our contractor- turns out the fourth and final contractor- walked in, looked around- and said that he has the exact same house down the street that he's already remodeled. He knew everything about hour house and even already had architectural plans. Plus, he was recommended by Mr. Spice's boss.
I can not wait to show you the end results!! There is still a lot to do- and a lot that isn't in the budget. I am pretty sure that we won't have an opportunity to do this big of a remodel down the road- so from here on out- it will be a slow and steady DIY homeowner process. We're already talking about concrete counters in the kitchen.
So Lovelies, cross your fingers. Work is under way!!