Thursday, May 15, 2014

Our dream project

Hey hey! Well, it’s dream time. Dream being the key word, as we look into this further. ;) But it’s fun to think about and I love reading stuff like this so I wanted to share. 

Our house is a great size. Not massive, but plenty big for us. I mentioned in this post about building our house that we often wish we had more space in the areas we use most. Those areas being the family room and kitchen – everywhere else we are golden.

I’ve had this idea in my head for years now. Probably five at least – at first it was just daydreaming (back in the days when we were drowning in $125K in debt). Over the past couple of years I’ve considered it even more – but we’ve never acted on it. Of course over time I had to kind of introduce the idea to my husband – sly-like so he wouldn’t freak out. ;)

But he was actually quite into the idea and goodness, that gets me in trouble. When he’s on board I’m full steam ahead.

So years ago I shared a floor plan of our kitchen and family room – I don’t share many other floor plans of the house for security reasons. It kind of weirds me out you know? But this space has always been one we’ve struggled with, so back when we were buying our sectional I shared this:

The family room isn’t a bad size at all, especially since we moved the TV to the wall on the bottom. Makes a HUGE difference:corner fireplace

But the windows and that corner (curses!!) fireplace make it so that this is genuinely the only way to set up the room and have it function. Over the years I’ve found myself thinking if we only had a few more feet…it would make a huge difference.

The table area in the kitchen is tight. It’s a little better since I changed out the tables from a round to a rectangle, but if the chairs are pulled out you can’t walk around the table or get out the back door. It’s just tight. I am SO thankful we had the bay window put in!

We love to entertain but the longer we’ve lived here the less we’ve done of it because the space is just not conducive to having a lot of people comfortably. (We do use the patio a lot!) But it’s not really even about that – we just wanting a little more space to live. My boy is getting bigger and as our family grows (grandson and six siblings getting married and having kids) we’d love to be the hub for family events.

So. A plan was created in my head. One night I finally went out with a measuring tape and starting figuring it all out:

Sigh. It looks so simple here – if only that was the case. :)

That area in the white is all deck. We want to bump out the kitchen area about six feet. My dream project within this dream project? This:

banquet seating kitchen

(source)

It would go perfectly in that spot and would look just. like. this. :)

The middle part would be an extension of the family room with lots of windows. I originally planned to maybe move the fireplace to the end of that space like this:

fireplace in sunroom

It was actually this photo that I found a few months back that made the hubby say “Let’s do it.”:

fireplace between windows

Those are magical words.

But since then, after talking with a few people and considering the flow outside, I’ve changed my mind on that. The fireplace would stay on the wall it’s currently on and would direct vent out the roof. But no. more. corner. fireplace. I wasn’t crazy about the idea of a huge long wall with nothing on it – it needs something to ground it and we would need an easy way to get to the patio.

I do want the pitched roof though. Perhaps with faux wood beams down the line or beadboard:

beadboard ceiling

(source)

And lots and lots of windows like my friend Julia has in her sunroom:

big windows sunroom

(source)

Hers are extra big – I love them. We would stick with the standard windows we have in the house but I’d want a lot of them.

It looks amazing right? It’s all planned out in my head. What I didn’t have planned was the cost – I had a number in my head and so far it’s been blown out of the water. Like, torpedoed. :)

A friend added on a large sunroom/family room a few years back (actually more square feet than this would be) and it was totally reasonable as far as cost. Same pitched roof, lots of windows. But so far the numbers we’re getting (very rough) are triple that. Whut?

The large numbers are coming from rough estimates over the phone though – we’ve had two contractors come out who are putting together actual hard numbers. I have NO idea what they’ll come back with – seriously no clue. I thought I had an idea of what it would cost and so far that’s not panning out.

We would pay cash for this project so who knows if it will happen. At this point it’s looking like no. And the whole thought of my house being a total and complete disaster for weeks on end is starting to hit me too – I don’t know if I have it in me. :) For real.

Have you (or anyone you know) ever done a project like this? I’d love any advice. Was it astronomical? Was it worth it? Did you go rocking in a corner during the process?

If any local (Indy area) folks know of a reasonable contractor I’d love their name. Feel free to leave it in the comments or email me. I’m not going to get a ton of quotes but if someone has a great resource I’d love to check into it. And I’ll keep you updated on this and let you know what we decide of course! Right now it’s looking like it probably won’t happen but I refuse to give up just yet. :)

32 comments:

  1. Oh it's so fun to dream! It looks like it would be great, maybe someday sooner than you think hopefully!

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  2. You might want to talk to your realtor as well. We contemplated a similar expansion at our old house in Fishers, but it would have drastically priced us out of our neighborhood because the price of the addition and moving our our deck was well over the price per square foot our neighborhood sells at.

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    1. Yes, that's why we're not going to do it at the price quoted so far! Our house is actually on the mid to low end as far as square footage for our neighborhood so the added space would be good -- if we can do it for the price we're thinking. And we plan to be in this house for at least another ten years so we're not quite as worried about it.

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  3. Last spring, we did what, for us, was a major remodel. We turned a side loading garage into living space, added a shop, relocated the dining room to the old living room and turned the old dining room into an office. Our old office is yet to be turned into another bathroom. We also do everything with cash, so that one is waiting. Originally we were told it would be about six weeks. I told myself 10- weeks. It ended up being 13! I was diligent to put up a plastic wall to try and contain the dust. My sanity saver was still having a working kitchen. But, the dust and mess is unnerving. It became my new job: sweeping and wiping. Whew! When all was said and done, it is wonderful! We have four kids and a big dog, and the extra space has been fantastic. Plus we host about 30 people each week in our home for a Bible study. It is SO MUCH more pleasant now. Now, the cost.... we were a bit shocked by the price. We even contemplated doing the work ourselves. But, knowing us, we would still have a plastic wall up a year later! Ha! So, all in all, it was so worth the money. We gave up a family vacation to cover the additional expenses, and still, it was worth it!

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  4. We did this 3 years ago. Removed our existing deck and added a sunroom with smaller deck around it. We have 2 girls and needed more space. So glad that decided to go ahead with the project. It has become the hub of our house, we use it more than any other room. It's nice to be able to retreat to the living room while kids hang out in the sunroom. Where our sliding glass door was for the deck we now have french doors which stay open. They let in so much light and flows right into our kitchen / eating area.

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  5. Hi can you tell me what program you used to create your floor plans? thank you!!

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    1. Lori it's called the floor plan app for the iPad, but I can't find it anymore. Mine still works fine but I can't find it in the app store. I'll check it see if it changed names.

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  6. My daughter is in the middle of a big add-on project like this, and it's turning out great... but one thing she keeps saying is that EVERYTHING is taking longer than they anticipated... and don't forget to factor in costs over and above your quote(s). Every time we undertake a major project they always end up finding something or another that no one anticipated (and ends up adding a little to the cost!) If you can afford it, it's totally worth it in the long run though...

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  7. This is exactly what we have been juggling for about a year ....and we decided we both didn't have it in us....which is why we are building. I can't wait to see how it unfolds for you....whatever happens...it will be fabulous:)
    Xo

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  8. We bumped out our kitchen about 10 feet a few years ago and it was the best decision we made. It took maybe 8 weeks and the first of those weeks were done outside and didn't effect us inside. The kitchen is separated from our family room by a wall and we could not open it up, so the larger kitchen with a giant island, big table and a big comfy chair has been wonderful to have. We spent about $50k and the addition about 200 square ft plus a crawl space underneath that is accessible from the basement.

    This was our second kitchen renovation and this time we paid someone to do it all but the floor. My husband put in hardwood throughout the downstairs at the same time -- that took forever! We learned that doing it in the summer is easier, there are vacations, grilling outside and lots of reasons to get out of the house.

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  9. We are contemplating bumping our kitchen and dining nook out about 7 feet. This means a whole new kitchen. Does anyone care to share the cost of the work you've had done or quotes? We have yet to get quotes and I'm super nervous about it. We're in a suburb of Houston. Thanks

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  10. Go for it! We did a major reno last year, we more than doubled our square footage (turning a bungalow into a two storey) we spent more than our house was originally appraised at. So the scale of the project was larger than yours (we moved out for 7+ months. But the similarities are that we love where we are (location wise) have zero desire to move or build a new house in a new development. And we didn't price ourselves out of the market for our neighbourhood. We did want we wanted to make the house work for us. While it's nice the kids all got their own rooms, it wasn't necessary. What was important to us was that we could comfortably have more company over, more often. Which also sounds like what you are looking for. -Jane

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  11. Several things to think about. One, will this extra cost be recouped when selling. How much will your insurance and property taxes increase due to the new sq. footage?

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  12. Finishing comment as it quit letting me type! Even though I think your space is nice and something to be proud of and grateful for, function is important. Would buying a new home be a better solution for you. Will this remodel be perfect solution or a "settle for" solution. Costs for construction materials have gone up considerably I'm told so this may be why the quotes are higher than your friend's. So these are the questions I propose you ponder if you haven't yet.

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  13. i think you should do it and when it is all said and done you will be so happy you did it just like the basement and eveything else. ang

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  14. This looks incredible! We're getting ready to add a GIANT deck to the back of our house (next week, in fact!), but my advice? Keep planning and pinning and stomach-ing the cost. You'll get more and more used to the idea, you'll squirrel pennies away, and then you'll finally land on solutions that "fit" for your fam. But in the meantime, ALL OF THOSE WINDOWS!!

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  15. It's so hard (for me) to think about doing stuff to the house when it involves contractors. Things always take longer than you expected, are messier than you expected, and there always seems to be at least one shockingly inconsiderate thing they do. Like trample rosebushes nowhere near what they were working on, or ruin and air conditioner or leave things unfinished you expected to be finished as a matter of course, etc.

    We have even had contractors working for a neighbor hook a hose up to our house and use our water all day long! No, they didn't ask.

    It's crazy when it's going on, but once it is all said and done it's fabulous!

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  16. We turned a back deck into an enclosed sun room at a previous house, complete DIY with the help of my dad and it cost almost $20k, which shocked me. We just paid as we went and it took longer, of course, because we were DIYing it and the materials (8 large windows, natural stone tile floor, double french door, etc) costs added up quicker than expected. But the space was so worth it in the end, and about a wash when it came to resale value, but if you're doing it to enjoy the space while you're there, as long as the quote isn't rediculous you could "gain" the value back in how you will get to use the new space. I absolutely love your inspiration pics, it could be so fab.

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  17. Sarah,
    I wonder if there is some way you could open the wall between your family room and office. You could use your library or loft for your new office.

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    1. You know, someone suggested this a few weeks ago and I had considered it but didn't know where to put my office. The loft never even crossed my mind, so that is a good idea! Our issue is the fireplace -- there wouldn't be a spot for it if we opened up that wall. There's no where else for it to go in the room and we do want to keep it.

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    2. Would it be possible to put the fireplace flat against the exterior wall if you removed that interior wall? Of course you would have to check load bearing and if you would need to post/support that wall.

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    3. Yes it would -- didn't even think about that! I'm not sure the layout would work but it is something I may look into !

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  18. Hello Sarah,
    I would like it if you could tell me what program you used for the floor plan also. I like your dream of the new family gathering area. I have that same dream, I want all my kids friends and family to be able to come over and comfortably relax while visiting. If your giving out the design info, could you please respond to me at my email: bradshawhouse@gmail.com
    Thanks Connie

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  19. NOT going back into debt is KEY!!! I can't stress how much it would hurt y'all to do that - even if it winds up being the "dream room". It's not worth that stress. You never know what is around the bend... job layoff, health issue, etc. Best to pay cash. smart move.

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    1. We will never go into debt again. :) We've completely changed how we live so it's not even a consideration.

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  20. I haven't read all the comments, so forgive me if someone has addressed this issue: the banquette. I know they are beautiful and NOT just trendy, as they have been around forever! My personal opinion is that they are well suited for situations where people are casually visiting (like in a game room) but not necessarily eating an entire sit-down meal. I have relatives with a banquette, and no one wants to sit on that part of the seating because they are forever trapped if in the middle or always being asked to move out and back in for the middle folks to go in and out! When we have large family gatherings, we often serve buffet style, and the people on the banquette always pass their plate for refills to someone who is ABLE to get up easily to avoid asking others to get out to let them out. I'm sure you've experienced this when going to a buffet restaurant, sitting in a booth, and then WAITING to go back to the buffet until the person blocking your way in the booth is also ready to get up. It can be annoying for everyone. And, if you put the food on the table, the same thing happens all over again if someone needs to get up and go to the bathroom, etc. I've even known children to climb under the table to get out rather than ask the others to move so they can get out. The same thing goes true for those long benches (same relatives have one of these as well on the OTHER side of the table!). I am short and want to move the bench closer to the table. I have much taller, larger relatives that need it pushed out. We have to either angle the bench to accommodate all of us or I am left sitting further away from the table than is comfortable to accommodate the ones to either side with larger belly frames (if you get my drift). Point: individual seating just works out better in the long run unless you have little kids ALL THE TIME who don't get bigger and who don't mind climbing around each other, getting up and down often, or going under the table to get out. Older folks just end up asking someone who is mobile to refill their plate or drink, get them an extra napkin, but they can't ask to go to the bathroom for them! Yes, they are beautiful and add a great deal of charm. But, the beauty wears off fast when it comes to actually using the eating space. I know there are those who would disagree, which is why you should make it your "I Love This Look" eating area and ignore this if that has always been your dream. Also remember that a pedestal table works best if you decide on a banquette, as straight corner legs up against a banquette make it nearly impossible for people to get their legs in and out - thus the reason you always see pedestal tables in restaurant booths. Just imagine the same booth with a table with four table legs and you'll get a good mental picture of the difficulties it presents.

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  21. We played with the idea of adding on for a few years, but I'm pretty sure it's been officially scrapped. We love our neighborhood, but no one adds on here, and renovations are pretty basic--new deck, finished basement, upgrade '70s cabinets to builder basic oak. So anything we do would be overimproving. I wouldn't mind that except our floorplan does not allow an addition in the front of the house, which is the one thing I really wanted. We have talked about buying a house with a different floorplan in the same neighborhood and adding on to it, though. At that point we'd just live there forever, so overimproving wouldn't be as much of a concern.

    I'd say if you planned on this being your forever house then go for it. Actually, I think the rule is that if you're going to live there for more than five years after a remodeling project then you're considered to have recovered the cost. So if you're going to live there for more than five years after the project is done I'd say go for it.

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  22. Wow, you're brave--not an easy thing to do or even decide on. This does make me feel better about what we are doing. We have 7 kids, so I sure can understand the dilemma regarding space--both for everyday living & having company over. We pretty much don't have anyone over, partly because it's so much work to be "presentable" but also for the space issue. Due to our family size & "needs", but also cuz we don't ever want to move again after so many moves & we have such a specific idea of our Dream Home--we decided just to build. We purchased the land 6 yrs. ago, put in a well & have built a shop with a second level (not in the original plan) so we could live in it while we save for a house on the same property (it's definitely a bit tight with 9 people!). We have even toyed with the idea of building the finished outer shell of the house, & then working on as much of the inside as we can ourselves or hiring out some of the more difficult things as we go. I'm even pretty decided to just buy serious woodworking tools and design/build our own kitchen cabinets to save Big $$$ (but don't tell my husband--not sure he can swallow that just yet!). We know we won't be able to pay cash for the entire thing, but our plan was to save up til we reached a certain %, which was more than the outer finished shell. so we would otherwise be waiting longer to start. By doing some of the inside work ourselves, we can save a lot & help teach our kids how to work, including skills--while we would otherwise be waiting/saving to start the entire project. We can even start on landscaping sooner. It's still Hard. to. Wait. We need this house like 8-10 year ago, not years in the future. But--by now we know exactly what we want, how much of that is reasonable to achieve (& how) as well as how much we are willing to wait and what we are willing to do to reach that. None of the comments sound like they have a large family. Bump outs and such renovations just don't work so well for larger families. You just need more bedrooms, bathrooms, very large common areas and larger storage areas, etc. Then to allow for company gatherings, it just feels daunting to try to renovate an existing home. Just wanted to comment for those who might have a large family, or think they may end up with more children and don't want to keep moving and moving. We did find some amazing deals at Habitat For Humanities' ReStore (which is like a Goodwill for just building materials, but a lot of businesses donate BRAND NEW items and take the tax write off). They are everywhere and open to the public. Our tiny town has one, but larger cities will have a goldmine of great finds for you. We ended up getting a ton of stuff from the nearest larger stores in cities 3.5 hrs. and 5 hrs. away, when we were traveling there anyway; & don't forget craigslist. We were able to save TONS on NEW windows and solid core doors, a corner jetted tub, light fixtures, propane fireplace inserts, wood siding, roof shingles, and other items. Just some thoughts that might help someone save some $$ or be able to realize their dreams. I'm hoping to start documenting and sharing about our experience on my blog, but have been trying to catch up enough to devote time to it. Just wanted to share, for those readers who have large enough families that renovating doesn't work!

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  23. How exciting! I'm always thinking about moving walls (and have) to add more space. I think tearing down the wall between the family room and office might be a much easier and less expensive way. I bet you could keep the fireplace, too. It never hurts to ask!

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  24. My former home had a very similar addition with windows all around and a high ceiling. It was great for entertaining. BUT (Sorry to be Debby Downer) here are the ups and downsides just so you know: It was cold in the winter. (that was IL). I bought thermal lined roman shades from Plow and Hearth and it was expensive and still cold. Also hot in the summer. BUT I loved the light. I had the pop out bay area too. That was good for overflow seating for parties or just reading a book. But when the windows were up, kids wanted to lean on the screens. Otherwise I loved that. The huge dining room was great for big groups but the high ceilings made voices bounce around and it was hard to hear conversations. When it was just our family, it felt big and cavernous. I wanted my cozy kitchen back by the time we moved. Finally, the eating area and kitchen were all tile. Tile that I had to clean. It was physically exhausting. Because of that house and a few other things, we choose to downsize when we moved out. Everyone that visited commented on the awesome space. It was but ultimately, I like my new to me cozier home. It is easy to clean too. But more power to you if you do build. I am sure you will enjoy it for the most part. I just wanted to be honest and tell you what I experienced.

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  25. I love your ideas! I'm a "dreamer" too! haha!
    After reading your blog for awhile, I think we might live near each other. I have the name of a Carmel contractor who I know has done this exact thing for a family here in our neighborhood and several others. The company is Foerster Construction. He recently just remodeled our kitchen. We're big fans of having no debt here too. So maybe you could just get a quote and then at least you have a number you can save towards. I think if you google him, there are pictures of his work. Hope this info is useful.

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  26. Love this post! We just bought our house and unfortunately it has an attached florida type room with a pool inside of it-one of those jetted pools to swim against. The pool is in awful shape, as is the room. We want to remove the entire structure and add on a sunroom (but as a part of the house, not just a 3 season room). It all seemed so easy in concept when purchasing the house, but I know the costs are going to add up! This pool area is right off our dining/kitchen area, so I keep toying with the idea of making that bigger, but again more $$s! Keep posting ideas and inspiration for this space--it has given me some ideas! Also, once you figure out the name of your floorplan app, please share! Love it!

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