By Brad Litz
Real Estate Developer, Broker & Appraiser
Since first buying our house on Washington Boulevard in 2006, we have been tinkering and updating, but always knew we were going to need a major overhaul of our second floor to accommodate a growing family. I just kept putting it off and we put other items at the top of our list that would meet more immediate needs, such as an outdoor kitchen and basement man cave. Alas, we found out in early 2013 that our second child would be arriving later in the year and it became time to make it a priority. Since I renovate homes for a living, this should be easy, right? Sure.
What started out as a simple bathroom addition and cosmetic makeover soon turned into a complete overhaul of the second floor, a major addition and completely refiguring the floorplan. Then, I talked my wife into replacing our kitchen floor with something a little more specific to our style. Well, that turned into taking out walls and completely gutting our kitchen. Before we knew it, about 75% of our above grade space was under construction.
I had a plan though, we would move down to the man cave. It had all the comforts needed…a kitchenette (actually it’s a bar, but adding a coffee maker and toaster makes it a kitchenette, right?), bathroom, laundry room and living room area. We moved our bedroom furniture down there and started our new life underground. Oh, did I mention that my wife was about 7 ½ months pregnant at this point? And we have a 2-year old? Yep…great timing on my part.
We pulled it off though, we lived through the construction…for a total of 3 weeks, then it all came to a head and my wife said it was time to go. We rented a condo downtown and were out within a couple of days. Even knowing the process inside and out, I wasn’t able to manipulate the timing to my favor. I know that all the other houses we renovate have quirks, but I didn’t think MY house had them…MINE was well constructed and updated. Yeah, right.
I guess the moral of the story is to plan ahead and manage expectations when renovating a vintage home. We are finishing up the renovation now and have moved back in, new baby and all. I’ll follow up next month with the next stage of our renovation. Oh, and did I mention I committed us to the MKNA Home Tour 2014? I think I might be piling it on a little high, but we can manage…maybe.