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Sixth House Renovation Recap, Philosophy Going Forward

Hi there. In my last post I finished up the tour of our house as it currently is, not much has changed since the listing photos, other than our furniture has been added. I realized yesterday that I meant to recap the entire house when I showed the basement renovation as up until today you have only seen snippets of the entire house and I want you to see it all! So, the suspense continues. I promise we will start getting into the decorating plans next week.

When we bought this house, I asked John to sign his name in blood agreeing to a full renovation and since he is a practical man he agreed to a total dollar amount we would spend that included the purchase price of the house and all interior and exterior renovations combined. It is a good sized budget, however, as with all renovations, we have the possibility of exceeding our budget very quickly once the walls are opened up. I don't think all of my charm and sad eyes will get John to budge(t any more).

When I sat down to work on the first draft of my renovation plan I made a list of everything I would want to do if money were no object and then immediately crossed a couple of things off the list that were not essential/necessary - no replacing the windows and no additions of any kind. On my wish list was definitely to square off the triangular bump out in the kitchen and also on there was putting in all new windows.

Only the front windows of the house have mullions (sort of - they are lattice like attachments that are screwed into the frame so they have to stay there and float there at the same time). I much prefer windows with true divided light and mullions on the interior and exterior throughout the house. I'm sure it's because growing up all of our houses had windows like that. Aesthetically, I think wide mullions make a statement when painted to match the woodwork on the interior as well as the exterior. Another personal pet peeve of mine (I have many) - it would not be my first choice to see the backside of lattice like mullions in the window when looking at the house from the street. Last thing about windows - I also wanted to replace the three arched windows - one is in the second story of the entry, one is in the master bathroom and one is in the sitting area of the master bedroom - with large windows that would match the shape of the windows in the rest of the house.

My philosophy/design process for this house has been to work from a list of "must haves" and scale back "my wishes" in other areas that do not negatively impact the "flow" of the entire house. Each of these "wishes" would have taken a big bite out of the budget on its own and all together they were just too much for features, albeit not my first choice, that were functional and in fine shape. Throughout my design drafts and the process of working with Brenda Parker, our architect, I dropped some more "wishes" from my list like adding another bathroom upstairs and expanding the closets in the master bedroom for a larger laundry room. I also have a list in my mind of other things I would drop to keep us on budget. I do not want to voice those yet because before the process even begins I will be optimistic about everything working out. Hey, a girl can dream!

I pulled out my stack of plans this morning that have been a work in progress since August 2020. Here is a picture of the stack:

I did one graph paper renovation design from the pictures I took of the blueprints during the home inspection in August before we moved in. After we moved in I took accurate measurements of all of the rooms and created a base set of plans that were completely to scale for the entire house to design from. I did three more revisions to the plans after we moved in, learning and thinking things through as we lived here, and then sent my plans and the full set of blueprints to the architect.

I also started an inspiration binder, divided by room, when I came home from the inspection, including the printed out photos I took of the blueprints. This binder has been growing thicker by the day ever since:

Alrighty, now I think we are at a spot where we can put all of the room by room pieces (posts) together to get the full picture of the scale and scope of our renovation. To start, these are the graph paper designs I sent to the architect:

Main Floor with Revisions in Red

Main Floor Revised Layout

Second Floor with Revisions in Red

Second Floor Revised Layout

I did not send a plan for the basement because the renovations seemed so minor that I did not think it was necessary. The first floor stayed the same throughout the process. As you may remember, after sending the plans, I decided that it didn't make sense to move the plumbing around in the second floor bathroom, to add pocket doors to the office/sitting room area of the master bedroom, nor to narrow the master bathroom to expand the closet and laundry room spaces. Brenda, our architect, and I talked through my graph paper plans and my proposed revisions to them before she put her plans together.

Here are the final plans from Brenda. Included in my stack of plans shown above, I have some graph paper revisions within the pages of Brenda's plans to the kitchen and laundry room that we will talk about in later posts. The plans from the architect show the demolition plan, the construction plan, the floor plan, the ceiling plan, and the electric plan. These are easier to read and give a lot more detail than the graph paper. First the main floor:

The Second Floor:

The basement plans were not as involved, only what we needed for permits:

Now (hopefully) you have a clear picture of the lay of the land around here and what will be the flow of the house. I will probably use these plans in some way when I start talking about decorating and furniture placement next week. I'm working on ways to present it so that it's understandable and at least semi-attractive, we'll see how that's going soon enough.

To wrap up, we have officially signed a contract with Nicholson Builders to do our renovation. I tried and tried to work with a contractor/builder to work directly from my plans and I was unsuccessful, they were all just too busy. Nicholson is a full service firm with architects, designers, project managers and craftsmen all on staff. They were our first choice for a full service firm right from the start. We will begin our process with them using my plans, I am very attached to them as you know, and then I will be open to any and all brilliant ideas I have not yet thought of. I will continue to honor my philosophy of making practical decisions to prioritize the "must haves" and consider all changes in terms of how they affect the house overall. We are on the schedule for our house to be measured in October and then we will begin the design process and finishes selection and all of the things that need to happen before demo - which will most likely not start until early/mid 2022. I will keep you posted right here every step of the way.

Thanks for coming by today,





Hi, I’m Kerry, a true lover of all things home design.  Thank you for stopping by to check in on the journey.  Please feel free to reach out to me, I love to talk design!

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