Sep 27, 2011

Your remodel- Do you start over or rework?

It’s a common problem. You want to move. Your home's elevation has curb appeal, but the floor plan behind it has grown stale and will ultimately turn buyers away. Do you have to scrap the entire design and start over? The expense, the challenges with permits and the length of time needed will all be factors. To save time and work within a strict budget, a more economical approach would be to redefine the existing plan within the same (or close to the same) footprint. Going this route allows you to keep the part of the program that’s working and maintain a construction approach that is more or less familiar. Looking at the home below you can see what doesn't work and how it was modified in the same footprint, saving over $120,000 from a plan to tear down and restart. The floor plan has too many jogs and corners, a small and inefficient kitchen, and a master suite that fails to exploit views of the backyard, and a poorly designed entrance, but the overall space works for the property.  It's too divided - the spaces aren’t conducive to togetherness. Some other details to note: Because the laundry is a cut-through from the garage, its functional work surfaces are limited.  The patio is shallow and tough to furnish, and access to the interior living spaces is awkward.  A corner closet makes the master bath difficult for two people to use at the same time.  Having a master bedroom that is visible from the foyer isn't ideal for privacy.  By rethinking this plan’s master suite and communal areas it will improve the home on several levels. A revised plan creates view corridors, frees up space for a larger, more usable rear patio, and trades an isolated formal living room for a multipurpose area in the heart of the home. Located just off the kitchen, this new space provides a room for laundry, homework, computing, and art projects. It can be public or private.





The resulting floor plan opens the home, making it appear much larger. Using the same roof structure yet creating an outdoor porch really helped in reducing costs. That freed up dollars for exterior upgrades and nicer finishes thoughout the home. It's always best to spend money where it can be truly appreciated. The finer points of the plan:
  • Focusing more on workstations than a work triangle, the revamped kitchen provides room for several cooks at once. Its cleanup area is out of the main flow of traffic.
  • The original laundry is replaced with a mudroom between kitchen and garage for dropping off groceries, jackets, and school bags. It also contains pantry space and electronics chargers.
  • Courtyards and patios must be large enough to be furnished outside the primary circulation path. This one now accommodates a seating area.
  • A laundry/hobby room encourages shared chores and family bonding. When bedrooms are too private and well-appointed, kids never want to come out.
  • The new master bath trades the big tub for an oversized shower and a better defined dressing area. The closet has room for a dresser.