Home Renovation & Addition Introduction

Hello everyone! Today I am joined by my wife, Lindsay, and welcome to our home. We bought this place a year ago, and we’ve been planning a pretty big renovation for that entire time. This is the first of the whole renovation series, because it’s going be a big one. Today we will do a quick tour of the house as it currently looks and talk about some of the things we like and don’t like. We have been working with the design and architect, as well as our contractor Donovan, for the past year, so we will also go over the plans, and we will also cover a bit on the budget as well.

Let’s go inside! First, I’ll give you some background on the house. The previous owners completed a large renovation and addition in 2010, so everything from where Lindsay is standing and forward is all new. This addition added a large great room and entryway.

This is our entrance way, which is part of the renovation that they did. Essentially you can go four different ways: Great room, kitchen, back deck, or basement. We will go over to the great room first.

This is our great room, and this is the place that sold us on this property. It has really nice vaulted ceilings, and a really great view of our property wherever you sit. What’s odd to me, if you look right up there, that’s actually a window to our bedroom.

This is actually the entrance way to the original house, but is now the entrance to the kitchen, which is the original kitchen. 

When the did their renovations, they did not touch this kitchen, except for laying down new floor tiles.

If you turn yourself around, you’re in our dining room, which has a nice walk-out to the bigger part of the deck.

This brings you to the original first living room, which is still a pretty decent size. It also has really nice views. I personally love working out in this room because I can look out the window and spy on the deer. 

This is a little funky. Off of the living room, there is a little vestibule. It’s a second mudroom, essentially, which goes out to another deck.

The view from the deck is also really nice. This deck has a really nice panoramic of a good chunk of the property. Plus there’s an apple tree, which we like to watch deer come out to.

Next let’s look at what we call the study room, but it is a spare bedroom. The previous owners were using this as an office, but we’re using it as a spare bedroom/study room for the kids to do their homework. 

Next to the study room is the bathroom. If you like blue, this is the bathroom for you. It has a blue tub and a blue toilet, which I think is unusual.

Next we will go upstairs.

We have two master bedrooms upstairs, because when they renovated, they created a new master bedroom and kept the original master bedroom as it was. 

Right now we’re using this as the kids’ room. All three kids sleep in this room. The two boy ahre the bed, and Eloise has a crib. This room has a lot of built-ins and two different closets, which is perfect for having three kids in this room, because there is a lot of storage. 

Something I love about this room, and almost made me claim it for the two of us instead of the kids, is that it has a walk-out.

Right now we’re not using it because our children are too small. 

Because this is a master, there is a bathroom in here that the kids use. It has its own shower, and there are a lot of mirrors. If you want to see what you look like at every angle, this room has you covered.

This area used to be a bedroom that they converted into a bathroom for the new master.

I really like this bathroom, and it has a pretty cool shower. If you want to feel like you’re always on display when you’re showering, you should shower here.

Here’s our bedroom, the master. What I love about this room is that it feels like you are in a tree house, because you see the sunset and the sunrise every day. This vanity fits perfectly in this room as well. I really like it. Good job, Matt.

Here’s a view of the great room out of the window from our bedroom. Since we have children that are very little, we always have this closed. 

Now down to the basement. This is what we’re using for our quasi-rec room. THere is another bathroom with a shower off the back of this room. 

This area we’re using as our offices right now. My desk is on the right and Matt’s is on the left. This used to be a kitchen, and there are still some cabinets around the room by my desk. 

This is our laundry room right now. Mechanical room #1

During the last renovation, they created a second mechanical room, which is over on the other side of our office area. 

And then this is the shop, which you might have seen before. 

These stairs just off of the shop take you back upstairs, so there’s two ways to get into this basement. 

This way takes you back to the foyer where you first came in. They created a mudroom with two different closets, and the wall with a mirror separates the foyer in half. And that concludes the quick tour of the house!

Now we will talk about the things we like and the things that we don’t like or don’t suit our family of five. We’ll start with the things we like. The first one is easy: the views. The house is up on a hill and any window that you look out of has a good view. We both love that about this house.

We also really like the great room. It’s a really big space, and it’s nice because you can hang out in different areas without feeling like you’re crowding each other but still feeling like you are together. 

But at the same time… the great room is kind of like its own house. It’s so far away from the kitchen and dining room because there is a big foyer separating it. If someone is doing something in the kitchen, you’re not really a part of what’s happening in the great room. Bringing some more unity into the great room would be nice.

Another issue we have is the number of bedrooms in the house. When we were looking at houses, we really wanted all of the bedrooms to be upstairs. Even though we do have a bedroom on the main level, we don’t really consider it to be a bedroom. Essentially, we have a two bedroom house with three kids. 

Last thing is that we want a newer kitchen. Lindsay really likes to cook and enjoys making things in the kitchen with other people. Having a kitchen space that is more user-friendly for two people to cook together would be great. 

The kitchen is essentially a peninsula with the fridge at the end of that choke point. If you open the fridge, you can trap someone else in the kitchen. So we would like a little more functional space and functional flow so that more that one person can be working in the kitchen.

Lindsay likes to spend time cooking, and when people come to visit, they find themselves just standing to talk to her because there’s nowhere to sit. The way that our current kitchen is set up, you could pull a chair up, but it’s right by the stove, which is unsafe with little kids around.

There are other things that are on our wish list for the renovation, which we will get into in a little bit, but these few things were the main deficiencies that we noticed about the home right now. 

Because we already had an idea of the things we were missing in the house, we reached out to my friend Donavan when we were buying the house. I met Donavan five years ago when a tree died in his backyard, and he has been in some of my videos in the past. Donavan does home renovation and remodeling, and he has been doing that for almost as long as I have been alive. We discussed what was feasible to do in terms of renovating this space and also asked for recommendations for an architect and design firm. He recommended David Hyde and his studio, and that’s the direction we went. They had a long lead time before they could get started on our project, which is why we didn’t end up staying in our old house while this one was being renovated. That was actually a positive, because we moved in and learned some other parts of the house that did not work for us functionally, as well as learning some things that we didn’t know we would like and want to preserve. In theory, I could have told them to get rid of the windows in our master bedroom, which Lindsay likes to watch the sunrise and sunset from.

Over the last year we’ve been working with David Hyde’s team and Donavan to figure out a plan we like. We will run through the first concepts that we were looking at, and then we’ll dive more in-depth into the final concept that we actually chose.

For context, here is our current floor plan. This is the basement. 

This is our first floor.

This is our current upstairs.

This is the exterior view of the house from the front. 

And this is the exterior view of the back of the house.

Something you might have noticed about our current house is that there is no second story above some sections of the house. Something that they initially suggested was to finish the second story to make more bedrooms. A lot of the concepts we will show you start with that premise. 

Let’s take a look at our first option. This is the simplest, lowest cost option that took care of just the big picture items we wanted. Here are the plans for the second level. They bumped out the wall so that it reached the exterior wall to create another bedroom. They also took the bathroom that currently exists in the kid’s room, and changed the door so that all three bedrooms could share that bathroom.

This is the first level of the house. The big change here is that they took the foyer and turned it into our kitchen and pushed out that kitchen wall so that it comes farther out. They also kept the stairs that lead from the current foyer down to the basement instead of putting in a breakfast nook. That’s one of the reasons that this is the cheaper plan, because the space is going to stay largely the same. 

These are the plans for the basement. Because they bumped out the wall in the kitchen, it creates a mudroom space in the basement.

This is what that option would look like. There’s a bumped out area in the front for that extra kitchen space. 

Next, option two, which is more of a middle of the road option. The big difference with this one is that there are only two bedrooms upstairs. The boys would share a room and Eloise would get to keep her room and have her own bathroom. Then there is a Jack and Jill bathroom that the boys would share. So this plan still adds floor space upstairs, but configures it a bit differently. 

On the first level, the kitchen is still going to go in the foyer, but the big difference is they’re not going to bump out that kitchen as much because they’re going to take the space that the stairs were and cover it. So the staircase is gone and gives you more space in the kitchen. Another thought they had with this plan was to add a sunroom behind the kitchen.

For the basement, we discussed reconfiguring the utility rooms and making them more useful. So we would move the laundry into utility space two and make the current laundry and utility room into an office space. 

Option two looks like this from the exterior. There is that bump out area for that kitchen space, and the second story extended. 

Spinning around to the back, you can see the sunroom off of the back. 

Then we have the final option, which is the most expensive and has the most work involved in it. 

Here are the plans for the second level. The biggest difference here is that there are three bathrooms in addition to three bedrooms. This plan also reconfigures our bedroom by putting our closet kind of where our bedroom currently is and cuts into our bathroom. 

Here is the first level. The kitchen is still going to go in the foyer, but they created a little pantry because I had wanted a pantry if possible. The entryway is also different; it has a two-story entryway. The front door would be down on the basement level off of the garage, you would walk into a mudroom and walk upstairs into a sunroom which would take you into the kitchen.

Here is how that option would look from the outside. You can see the entryway next to the garage that would go into the big mudroom with a staircase up into the sunroom. There are also exterior stairs if you wanted to enter the house that way.

It was a hard decision to go through all of these, and pick out what we actually liked. We liked the bump-out for the front of the kitchen to give us some more space. We liked turning the foyer into a kitchen and being connected to the great room. We went back and forth a lot on how many bedrooms we wanted upstairs. It was a hard decision, because we liked the idea of the kids each having their own room, but we also liked the idea of the boys sharing a bathroom and Eloise having her own. Ultimately, we decided it was more important for the boys to have their own separate rooms. So for the upstairs, we went with option 1, which is putting two more bedrooms upstairs and reconfiguring the door of the current bathroom in the kids room so that the three kids will share that bathroom.

On the main level we were figuring out what we wanted to do with the deck out front. Originally, Lindsay was into porches, but now that we have been living here, she likes the deck to take full advantage of the views. She still wants a wrap-around deck at some point down the road.

Then this room, which is our current dining room, will become the entryway to the house. The kitchen will become a dining room, the foyer will become a kitchen, and we will add a sunroom on the back of the house. Those rooms will be the central flow area of the house. So for the first level, we mostly went with the plans from option 2, but we liked the breakfast nook from option 1 and the pantry from option 3.

We had our master plan of what we wanted to do, took that to Donavan and asked for a number. His response was “Do you want to buy your house again?” So as much as we wanted to do this all in one swoop, we talked to Donavan about a phasing approach because he was estimating 12-18 months to get everything done. We wanted to break it down into separate phases without feeling like we were living in a construction zone for three years.

So we’re going to do two phases. Phase one is essentially the main area — the new kitchen and the sunroom space. Phase two will be the upstairs — removing the current roof structure, framing out the front of the house, putting a new roof on, etc. 

So let’s talk about the final floor plan, and plan for phase one. Phase one is essentially two additions: a large addition on the back and a small one on the front. We’ll have a nice kitchen space, pantry, breakfast nook, and sunroom which will all tie into the great room. There is also a little bump-out where we are going to put the sideboard I made.

From a basement perspective, we have two different variations on these additions. On the backside, underneath the sunroom, we have a full basement and foundation. On the front, we just have two supporting piers. So there will be no additional on the front part of the basement level, but there will be on the back, which will give us a nice office space. Originally the basement addition was specked out as a frost footing, but it would require a six foot tall wall because of the way the elevations worked out. To do a full basement was only two feet more than that, but it results in more floor space, so we went for the full basement.

For the second floor, above the addition we’ll have a flat roof deck off of our bedroom, which will be nice. On the front, we will have a simple roof that ties it all in.

This is what the new front of the house will look like after this first phase. There is the little bump out area there, with the windows and the roof. 

The most major stuff is going to be happening on the back. There is the future sunroom. Lindsay asked for windows, so there’s no dry-walling on this. It’s all windows. And then there is a bump-out for the dining room too, which will tie nicely into the sunroom.

Here is a side view of the sunroom bumping out, and the dining room bump-out as well.

So, let’s talk about everyone’s favorite topic: money. The original quote from Donavan came in at almost $700,000, which is a little more than we can do right now. The first phase is a little more manageable, and will give us insight on what the real cost is going to be. The plan is that I will be assisting in this entire process, which will offset the budget as far as labor goes.

The initial budget for this first phase is going to be $200,000 for the building, which is going to be variable. We may end up a little high of that. We’re also budgeting another $50,000 for design, which should cover the whole thing. We haven’t picked finishes yet either, such as the flooring, tile, paint, etc.

Because winter is coming, we want to get the envelope of the additions installed so that we can work on the interior during winter. I plan to be doing as much as possible with this project, and I’m actually looking forward to it. I’m basically doing an apprenticeship with Donovan. We already have me slated to do the whole kitchen and we’re looking at having me do the trim as well. Because I will be doing a lot of things, that makes the budget a little fluid, but 200k is our ballpark. 

We’re going to be transparent about the budget because no one really talks about it, and even I don’t really know how much any of this stuff costs. Without me doing a lot of the labor, this wouldn’t have been a project we started right now. The fact that we are doing this renovation in phases also means that we can remain in our house during the build, which is another cost-saving benefit.

Of course, I’ll bring everyone along with the process, and you can follow our journey through this build. It’s going to be a new, fun learning journey for me, as someone who doesn’t have a lot of experience with this, but has tertiary experience with things that are related to construction.

This is just the beginning. There’s so many details that we haven’t quite finalized or figured out yet, but that’s going to be part of this whole series. We are starting this build with essentially just a framing plan and no interior finishes decided yet. We’ll be bringing you along with the whole decision making process on picking out colors, windows, flooring, trim, paint colors, etc. There’s a lot of decisions that have to be made. What I’ve learned so far is that the number of decisions you have to make is astronomically higher than what you expect. Cross your fingers and toes for us that it all goes smoothly!

Thank you as always for supporting us!. We greatly appreciate it. If you have any questions or comments about the home remodel, home edition, or anything else, please feel free to leave us a comment. As always, we’ll be happy to answer any questions you might have. Until next time, happy woodworking!

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