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Sep 15

A Renovation Update: We’ve Pivoted

So I owe you a long overdue follow up to our renovation plans. If this is your first time hearing about our renovations definitely start with this post here.

If you’re back for a renovation update, I’m happy to announce that we’ve made some final decisions. Not being in limbo (as I have been for nearly six years) feels so (so) good. And ever since we pulled the trigger and decided to go full steam ahead, so many things have been flowing surprisingly smoothly and largely effortlessly. It makes me feel like this was the right move. It feels really aligned!

What we ultimately decided is that we don’t want to stay here for that much longer, but if we do move there are some things we’d want to update before selling either way. So a renovation was essential, but not at the same scale as we were originally imagining. In other words, we are prioritizing our needs vs our wants. Specifically: our kitchen, our front porch/front facade (which you can read more about here), adding a powder room, and levelling our floors.

I will admit that it’s not my original dream kitchen, but I have some really beautiful ideas unfolding and it’s going to be incredibly charming.

Our home was built in 1898 and let me tell you, our floors are wonky. In fact, we just measured and our kitchen dips 3.5″ from the front wall to the back wall – ha. It’s dramatic. It’s so bad that I have to strategically place my eggs on the counter so that they don’t roll right off (I’m not joking). I have admittedly gotten used to it, so I practically don’t feel it anymore. I, dare I say it, kind of even like the quirkiness and the character. But I do worry that it will scare off any potential buyer.

We had a structural engineer do a survey before we bought, so we know it’s safe and sound. He, in fact, said: “this house has been here for 120 years and it will be here for 120 more”. But future buyers might be freaked out without this knowledge. So levelling the flooring and replacing the hardwood throughout feels like a good move.

See also: Our Exterior Renovation Plans

 In addition, we know our kitchen needs some serious love. And you’d better believe it’s going to get it. But we decided that relocating the back door and adding a large window was more than we wanted to take on. I love the idea, but it would mean hiring an engineer, getting a permit, re-siding the entire back of our home… The scope creep was just getting out of hand. If this was our forever home we would go for it on a heartbeat. But for now, we’ve decided that we’re going to work within the existing constraints of our current kitchen, but make it really beautiful. A significant improvement, for sure.  

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Inspiration Photo Above: Carpendaughter

Photo & Design Inspiration: Ursino Interiors

Lastly, we also won’t be taking down the wall between the hall and the living room. We did some exploration and the wall is unfortunately structural. It would require significant amount of work (including a large structural beam and relocating a ton of ductwork) to remove it. It is doable, and we considered going for it either way as I do feel like it will make a huge difference. But the thought of taking down a structural wall in a 120 year old home feels vert risky. Like we’d be opening a potential can of worms. It’s ultimately just more than we want to take on in this particular home.

We’ve had to make some difficult decisions of what to keep and what to cut, and I had to come to terms with some of the design pivots. But I am feeling really good with where we’ve landed.

Here were the original dream floor plans:

And this is where we’ve ended up:

Because this is becoming longer than anticipated, I will give far more kitchen renovation details, as well as how we’ll be handling the phases (we’re hoping to do it in two parts to minimize the time we need to move out) next. I will admit that it’s not my original dream kitchen, but I have some really beautiful ideas unfolding and it’s going to be incredibly charming. After living with peeling laminate counters, sloped floors, and the tiniest single bowl kitchen sink that ever existed, I am beyond excited for what’s to come.

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