July 5, 2006

My House is Giving Me Anxiety Attacks

Filed under: House Blog — marcstober @ 9:57 am

Yes, really. But it’s not about me, it’s about the house. We met with a couple architects last week and the main take-away is that what we thought was a lot of money, is only a fraction of what we’ll need to do what we want.

The main issue seems to be that our sunroom is on footings. Even though this space is insulated and seems sturdy, we really need to tear it down and build a proper foundation if we want to use that space as our new kitchen. My gut feeling agrees with this; footings are OK but we’ll have a much more valuable home if we do a real addition.

The good news, however, is that once we build such a foundation it’s only marginally more expensive to build it two stories up and include a master bath. I’ve thought that the lack of a master bath is the #1 reason I’d want to move someday, so this is exciting.

What this leaves open is the question of whether we try to make some small alterations, like a patio door off the living room and/or squeezing a half bath out of a corner of the kitchen, or just wait until we can do the “whole enchilada.” It’s going to be a frustrating few years if we don’t do these things in the meantime; on the other hand, why go broke making changes I’m never really going to be happy with?

(Doing some quick calculations at ELoan, borrowing the amount we need will cost about the same per month as Hannah’s daycare – so there is hope we can do what we want when we have school-age kids and still have years to enjoy it, but when the only toilet in the house is clogged who can think that long-term?)

The other take-away from our meetings is that we might as well get started on certain improvements, such as HVAC improvements, separately. This is all well and good but I was really hoping that we’d be able to turn things over to a builder for a few months, and basically just bear with the dust knowing that we’d have a nice house when it was done. Instead it seems like there is no end in sight to the cycle of missing work to make calls, get estimates, let people in and generally play part-time project manager. And I think it’s this that’s going to keep with awake with anxiety at night for at least the next few years.