Every home has a unique footprint, not only upon the land it sits, but in the hearts of those who fill its walls. Our home has imprinted deep family connections and memories that will last a lifetime. Our home has brought together our family for 19 years. Our lives have been woven throughout each room. The memories we’ve created here have kept me grounded and determined to stay rather than move. Having a home base that holds so many treasures feels warm and inviting to me.
Over the course of 19 years, we have updated, repainted, added on a bonus room and transformed a powder bathroom into a full bathroom downstairs so that our oldest child could have their own bathroom next to the bedroom. We’ve rotated kids in rooms, changed our office location within the house and painted doors and millwork. There were only one or two major remodel ideas we tossed around but had never done, wondering if we would stay in this home long enough to enjoy it and if it would create enough value in our home to at least break even if we were to ever sell.
In the years we’ve lived here we always discussed the idea of a major kitchen remodel. We would revisit the idea wondering if we were going to be able to get the value back or if we should just paint the cabinets and update the knobs and pulls (which we did). While that did face lift the kitchen, it failed to address the issues of space, storage or functionality. Our kitchen was boxed in by a peninsula that extended so close to the refrigerator location that we would not have been able to accommodate a single full swing fridge door. The corners of the tile had been broken off and worn down at the end of that peninsula from kids running through the narrow passage and furniture had to be lifted over the counter rather than slide though because the gap was so slim. While I cooked or cleaned, everyone else sat outside the kitchen and visited. There wasn’t much room to have anyone else help with prep or clean up.
There was a space behind the breakfast bar/peninsula that probably was originally designed to host a small kitchen table. It was just a bit small for that because it bordered our sitting/family gathering room and provided a walk through to that room as well as the back door to our rec/play room and back yard access. We always thought it would be so much more useful to extend the line of the kitchen into that wasted space.
Last summer we decided we had enough equity in our home to justify the remodel and believed that we could get a return on investment by doing it. We drew out our ideas to extend the cabinets toward the family room and use the space that was previously wasted to have a shorter, wider peninsula that had seating on the end as well as the back to create more of a kitchen table feel so we could sit around it and see one another’s faces while we ate a meal or played a game. Next we closed off a look through window that had been in that area left from our addition of the rec room, tiled to the ceiling and added floating shelves. We also added an extra top cabinet to offer more storage.
As with any remodel, you have to decide where to end. We knew we were going to do the kitchen and needed to create a continuous flow in the areas surrounding while staying within our budget. One way we could create the flow was to take out floor lines where some was carpet and some was tile. We had divisions between rooms that were created by various flooring. We decided to switch to a continuous wood floor throughout the main floor, from our front entrance, formal living and dining, into the kitchen and through the family gathering room where our fireplace is. When we got to the back added rec room, we switched out the old french doors that separated that room into some updated glass doors and stopped the wood flooring at that doorway, leaving the playroom with carpet. Aesthetically, the floors we chose are gorgeous, and they allow a flow where furniture is not limited to floor lines or boundaries of space. We can decorate as we want.
We also had planned to only update our downstairs bathroom to flow in color and update the tile on the floor as well as the bath surround. After demo had already been completed for the kitchen and the tile, I had the idea to take out the tub and replace it with a shower pan insert and glass wall and door so that if we had family or guests over who could not step over the tub, we would have a ground floor shower only. We chose a beautiful pattern tile for the floor as well as the new shower and kept our existing toilet and sink to keep costs within budget.
Another way our plans changed during the renovation process was, our laundry room that extended into the kitchen by a foot and a half from the garage entrance was blocking slightly between the kitchen and the gathering room. I asked Chris why we wouldn’t just take off the foot and a half and shrink the laundry room down and make a more spacious line between our most heavily trafficked and used rooms. Demo had already finished, and we decided to just add this extra change. When we got inside we realized that there was a weight bearing beam and we needed to adjust the plan to support it. Our team took care of it and we both agree this was one of the best decisions we made in this remodel. The difference it created with visibility through the main floor is so far superior to what it had been. The shower space in the downstairs has made a rather small bathroom look larger and so much more beautiful and when we host a guest, we have it set up so I can feel proud of it.
The experience of remodeling stretched us relationally as a family, there were more than a few times our patience were in short supply for each other while we were so displaced and uncomfortable, but it was absolutely worth every day of the 7 weeks. We are so happy to come home and often choose to go home to enjoy our time instead of staying out longer. We are more connected throughout the work day and enjoy hosting our family and friends so much more.
Thank you to our team for working well and helping us create this beautiful new footprint in our home.