Hi hi!! It's all about the house this week on the blog with our home tour on Tuesday and today I'm answering a bunch of questions I've gotten about our renovation! Things are moving along quickly at the house and I get more and more excited every day as I watch the progress unfold! Here's a bit more about why we're renovating, the nuts and bolts of how we're doing it, and how Xavier is dealing with it all ;)
How did you weigh remodeling your current home vs. selling it and purchasing something else?
This is such a good question. My mom has a background in real estate, and as all real estate agents know, the ONLY thing you cannot change about a house is the location. You can change prettyyyyy much any aspect of a house except where it is. For us, it came down to that. We absolutely LOVE where we live. We can walk to our little neighborhood park, pick up a pizza from our neighborhood pizza place on the way, and sit in the park and watch cars go by. It has a perfect hill for Xavier to roll down and even has a little playground. We can walk to the fire station. We can walk along the river and to the farmer's market on Saturday mornings or concerts in the park on Saturday nights. We can walk to our downtown square where there's a coffee shop, ice cream shop, boutiques and restaurants. We can bike to a bigger park where there's a carousel and a train, we can bike to the library, we could even bike to church. We live in the historic district of our town which means the houses (and neighbors!) are all different and quirky, and we love it. We feel like we're starting to get to know our neighbors and our community, and we strongly feel God calling us to stay put. We did look into buying a home but quickly abandoned that idea when we realized what we'd be able to afford in a neighborhood or elsewhere. We just love, love, love WHERE we live and can't picture our life or raising our family in a home other than this one!
How did you budget/plan to pay for the renovation?
This is something I've been so nervous to share online, but God has brought so much courage and freedom recently. Y'all know we are big followers of Dave Ramsey and his Financial Peace University program. We've been debt-free for years - no student loans, car payments, credit cards or hospital bills. We do not love the idea of debt and vowed to never get into debt again. Yet, here we are - going into debt for our remodel. I've been so hesitant to share that because I didn't want to sound like a fraud. But, sometimes (often!) God's ways are not our ways. We are financing our remodel, and we feel 100% comfortable doing so. We are being given a loan from my parents for the upfront costs. Once the work is done, we will get a new appraisal, and a new mortgage for the adjusted value. That will enable us to pay back my parents, leaving us with just our mortgage (albeit a higher monthly payment than before). We feel comfortable doing this because we have no other consumer debt, are almost to our goal of having three months' of income in a savings account (income, not expenses, which gives us a much bigger safety net), have retirement accounts and kids' college accounts set up, and are contributing to our HSA. The new mortgage payment will be manageable for us, and we feel good about it.
The reality is that it's easy to idolize being debt-free. I whole-heartedly believe God wants us to be a good steward of our finances and to be continually checking our hearts when it comes to money. I also believe He has big plans for us in this house. We desire for this house to be used for His glory, from hosting friends and neighbors to being able to get foster-certified. This house will enable us to do a lot and responsibly taking on debt is the way to get there.
You did some temporary fixes earlier (painting the kitchen, adding storage, etc.) how did you know to temporarily fix items with minimal money and when to wait because you would pouring more money into it and totally remodeling?
This is a great question. It definitely comes down to personal preference, I think. For me, my home and physical space is really important to me. I feel more inspired, peaceful, creative and myself when I'm in a space that feels inspiring, beautiful, clean, styled, etc. So I'm always willing to put in "sweat equity" - meaning time and effort - to make it feel that way. I'm always down to paint anything and everything, switch out light fixtures and buy furniture that fits the space we have rather than the space we're hoping for. I also firmly believe in making your home work for you and be as functional as possible. For me, that means being really mindful of how we use each room, and updating/decorating accordingly. We did add a lot of storage to our house because it only had two closets (one without any shelves!) and we just needed a lot more functional storage than that. We painted our kitchen cabinets, even though I knew we'd someday rip them all out. We painted our laundry room floor even thought I knew it would someday be replaced. And I don't regret any of the time or money doing that! Paint is relatively inexpensive and makes a huge difference. I wouldn't have changed out countertops or anything like that, knowing we were planning a big remodel, but I'm always game to tackle the "low hanging fruit" so to speak. John & Sherry Petersik of Young House Love also have a great blog post about this. I always love hearing their advice!
What do you know about renovating a home you already own vs. purchasing a fixer upper?
Not much! I've never renovated anything before. Our house is 110 years old, so all I know is what I'm learning as we go about very, very old houses. I do know that for our particular situation, moving out was the best choice. I know it's not an option for everyone, but there's no way we'd be able to do the level of renovation we're doing as efficiently or quickly as we're doing it if we lived in the house! Beyond that, I'm not sure what differences exist. There are a LOT of great resources online for renovating something you own as well as purchasing and renovating a fixer upper, though. Young House Love, This Old House and Old Home Love are a few of my faves!
Why are you renovating?! Your house is already so nice!
It is really nice!! We've loved it for the last 3.5 years and it has worked so well for our family. But, as I mentioned above, we would like to stay in this house for the next 10-15 years and hopefully several more kids ;) We are excited for the extra space and room to grow!
How is Xavier handling the transition?
He's doing great!! He has handled it all like a champ. Every day he asks "is my house bigger?" and tells everyone that "Papa is workin' on my broken house!" which is hilarious. We are planning to potty train soon so we are hyping up the fact that the new house will have a potty JUST for Xavier and Zelie! He is obsessed with all things construction, so he's pretty hyped that there is currently construction equipment at the house. I'm sure when we move back in, there will be some adjusting, but overall I think it's going to be great!
What is the floor plan going to be like?
Let me just show you! Here are the drawings for the exterior, the redesigned plan for the first floor, as well as the second floor addition:
Are you doing the work yourselves?
Sort of! My dad has owned a construction company for many, many years (my entire life) and has a lot of experience remodeling and building houses. He and a friend of his, who is a general contractor, are coordinating everything. My dad is doing all of the demo himself, and Matt and I are helping as we're able. The contractor, Dean, is hiring out the framing, roofing and foundation work, as well as the plumbing and electrical. My dad or my dad's crews will do the drywall, and I'm sure we'll help ;) So it's a mix of both. We are definitely VERY hands on and probably will continue to be for certain aspects as the project progresses!
Have more questions? Leave a comment or send me a message on instagram! Xo!