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Old 02-23-2012, 07:38 PM
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shazbraz shazbraz is offline
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Default Help me remodel my house!

I've loved reading the advice you all give people about decorating their homes, so I thought I would post this here and see what kind of input you have for me. It's long with a lot of photos-- I'm looking at more than a redecorate--more like a total tear apart and remodel, so I'm just linking over to my blog rather than uploading all the pix here. If you are into this sort of thing, I'd love for you to click over and have a look! Ummm...the top link, not the one in my signature.

http://shazbraz.blogspot.com/
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Old 02-23-2012, 08:28 PM
ChelC ChelC is offline
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You definitely have a challenge there. I guess my first question would be what are all the things you have to accomplish with this level of your house?

Kitchen, Dining, office?, sitting area or TV area? List everything you must have and that will help.

Depending on how major you want the remodel to be I would consider getting rid of the closet as you suggested to open the entry a little and redoing the kitchen as more of an eat in style instead of having a separate dining space. The rest depends on what you need the space for. If it's a sitting room rather than a TV room and you still want the office space there, I'd consider an armoire for the desk so it can be closed up and paired with some wing chairs and lamps/tables. One of the wing chairs could become a desk chair and you can accomplish more with that space. When you aren't using the desk, it will just look like a pretty sitting room.

Having done major remodeling, I recommend that you estimate what your plans will cost, multiply that by 1.5 because there are ALWAYS surprises, and decide whether it's worth it. We would have been better off buying a newer home for all we "invested" in our home. If we need to sell anytime soon we'll lose money, which is insane since we did all the work ourselves, but in this market remodeling doesn't pay. If you plan on staying for several years it's worth it, but otherwise it probably won't be.
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Old 02-23-2012, 08:50 PM
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shazbraz shazbraz is offline
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I appreciate the advice. As for the money, we don't have any to put in! We are pretty handy, but anything done will have to be done by us.

This level is mostly used for cooking and eating and passing through to other places. I want it to look nice since this is the only place guests see. The living room is really only used when we have guests (seldom)--no TV. It's really more like a waiting room!! It can take up a very small amount of the overall floor plan.

I do like the idea of making it a more open floor plan. I am determined to work in a small island. I'm still working out the details of how that will look.
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Old 02-23-2012, 09:57 PM
Pixelated Pixelated is offline
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I know you tried hard to explain the floor plan but I didn't catch the whole thing. After a long day my brain isn't functioning at a high level.

From your description I think your floor plan is a lot like mine and all the other house in the neighborhood. I think ours is a bigger version of yours. I like the idea of tearing out the coat closet, but only if you really don't need the space. We use ours a ton and wouldn't be able to live without it. I like the idea of having the front room open with the rest of the house.

My neighbor took out a closet/wall that divided her living room with the kitchen. she isn't crazy about it because everyone can see in her kitchen.

I know you said you didn't have a lot of money, but I think that re-doing your kitchen would add a lot to your house.

We recently re did our kitchen and I feel like we live in a brand new house. We have a fairly small kitchen and just by getting new cupboards that went to the ceiling we have gained a TON of space.

The other thing I would suggest is to paint. We used to have a light brown beige color. We recently went with a really light gray. It is awesome! I feel like we gained a ton of square feet.

I like the idea of getting new flooring. I think that pergo type floors on your whole main level would look nice. we have that on our main level which is our kitchen, dining and living room. It ties all the rooms together. We did it ourselves with some help from a BIL who did all the really hard cuts.

I like your decorating style, but in the pictures it seems really busy. And I know that pictures tend to make things seem more busy than they are. I like a very clean uncluttered look, especially in small spaces. I am not a very sentimental person so it is not hard for me to let things go. I have very few knick knack type things out. I decorate with a lot of pictures. And not small little pictures. I mean big take up a lot of space pictures. But they are simple enough that is all I need on a wall.

Another thing I did about a year ago before we got new cabinets was purge my kitchen. I had so many things that I really didn't need. I only kept one of everything. I only kept a few Tupperware and other things that seem to grow. It made my kitchen so much easier to work in and I really haven't missed anything. You may have already done this, so just ignore if you have.

Sometimes I get a little jealous of people who have very large houses because of all the space they have. Especially for kids' room. I feel like I am always on my kids to get rid of things because there just isn't the space. But my husband reminds me that they don't (and me as well) don't need all those things to be happy and survive.
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Old 02-24-2012, 02:07 PM
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shazbraz shazbraz is offline
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I'm with you. When I'm feeling overwhelmed by the things I need to do to update my space, I sometimes get jealous of bigger, newer home, but really, I love my house and the location and once I've finished it and made it how I want it, I'll be glad I stuck it out!

As far as being able to see all the way into my house; you already can, so I'm afraid that is a moot point for me. I'm leaning towards just making the kitchen look awesome so that I don't mind, rather than trying to block it from being seen.

How was your experience with the Pergo? Did you think it was easy to install? Do you consider yourself pretty DIY handy? Was it actually Pergo or another brand?

My basement is a warm grey color and I absolutely love it.

Thanks for your input!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pixelated View Post
I know you tried hard to explain the floor plan but I didn't catch the whole thing. After a long day my brain isn't functioning at a high level.

From your description I think your floor plan is a lot like mine and all the other house in the neighborhood. I think ours is a bigger version of yours. I like the idea of tearing out the coat closet, but only if you really don't need the space. We use ours a ton and wouldn't be able to live without it. I like the idea of having the front room open with the rest of the house.

My neighbor took out a closet/wall that divided her living room with the kitchen. she isn't crazy about it because everyone can see in her kitchen.

I know you said you didn't have a lot of money, but I think that re-doing your kitchen would add a lot to your house.

We recently re did our kitchen and I feel like we live in a brand new house. We have a fairly small kitchen and just by getting new cupboards that went to the ceiling we have gained a TON of space.

The other thing I would suggest is to paint. We used to have a light brown beige color. We recently went with a really light gray. It is awesome! I feel like we gained a ton of square feet.

I like the idea of getting new flooring. I think that pergo type floors on your whole main level would look nice. we have that on our main level which is our kitchen, dining and living room. It ties all the rooms together. We did it ourselves with some help from a BIL who did all the really hard cuts.

I like your decorating style, but in the pictures it seems really busy. And I know that pictures tend to make things seem more busy than they are. I like a very clean uncluttered look, especially in small spaces. I am not a very sentimental person so it is not hard for me to let things go. I have very few knick knack type things out. I decorate with a lot of pictures. And not small little pictures. I mean big take up a lot of space pictures. But they are simple enough that is all I need on a wall.

Another thing I did about a year ago before we got new cabinets was purge my kitchen. I had so many things that I really didn't need. I only kept one of everything. I only kept a few Tupperware and other things that seem to grow. It made my kitchen so much easier to work in and I really haven't missed anything. You may have already done this, so just ignore if you have.

Sometimes I get a little jealous of people who have very large houses because of all the space they have. Especially for kids' room. I feel like I am always on my kids to get rid of things because there just isn't the space. But my husband reminds me that they don't (and me as well) don't need all those things to be happy and survive.
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Old 02-24-2012, 03:11 PM
Pixelated Pixelated is offline
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We didn't get pergo we got something from lowes. And yes it was really easy to do. The first installment a few years ago was our first experience with it. My BIL who does it for a living did a lot of the tricky spaces that needed extra trim cuts. Then recently we added it to our newly done kitchen. It required us to take out the whole dining room and start over. DH and I did it by ourselves. And no I don't think we are very handy.
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Old 02-24-2012, 04:23 PM
utahval utahval is offline
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I think your home is really cute. I love how cozy it is. I agree with you that you should take out as many walls as you can. With a space that size I think it would really help to open the space up a bit. Also, you'll probably feel like it is a lot bigger if you take out some furniture. You've mentioned that your 1st floor is often just a way to get somewhere else in the house...you don't need that many tables and chairs to collect clutter if no one is using the space anyway.


I'd also look into putting in recessed lighting...or put in track lighting so that you can do away with the weird placement of the chandelier light while also increasing the brightness of your home. Another way to brighten things up would be to paint the walls a white or yellow...I'd love to see a light yellow, I think it could brighten things up considerably.

Putting laminate flooring in yourself is really easy and relatively inexpensive. I don't recommend the super cheap stuff it chips too easily when installing it. We installed some nice Pergo flooring from Home Depot a few years ago and while a bit of a challenge to us would probably be easy for anyone with DIY skills.
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Old 02-24-2012, 06:43 PM
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shazbraz shazbraz is offline
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Thanks everyone for your answers; keep 'em coming!

The first three years we lived here, we didn't have that fake wall up, nor the bookshelf in the entryway. Having now lived with it both ways, we know that we prefer it more open.

I know that there is way too much furniture in there; as I've known this big remodel was coming, this space has kind of become a dumping ground as we worked on other areas of the house. The only furniture that has to stay is the couch (we are not in the position right away to get the couch we want to replace it) and some sort of desk. Everything else is up for debate.

I love the idea of track lighting. Someone mentioned that on my blog too; I hadn't thought of that. We got such a screaming deal on the fixtures that are there, that we didn't really explore other options. I think track lighting will go on my "long term-get it when we can afford it-list"
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Old 03-02-2012, 11:42 AM
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s275hv s275hv is offline
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I am making the assumption that you don't have living space in the area above your kitchen and that I read your blog right that that area is dark.
I highly recommend the solar tube sky lights. We bought them at costco, they were about $150, but easy to do yourself, and my husband is only moderately handy.
We had some areas of our house that were just plain cave like. NO light, ever. We put 3 of these in and they have made such a huge difference. People with the same floor plan look at the space we have put them in and can't believe the difference they make. It really is amazing. I love living in light rather darkness. It makes me feel so much better. I also like these because we could add one at a time as our budget allowed.

I really like your new floor plan, just wondering have you thought about doubling the depth of your island? I would increase the depth so that it lines up with the middle of the 2 sets of stairs. This will double the surface for rolling things out, you could even make it so there was seating on two side, one side towards the front door, and around the side opposite the stairs the side that is closest to the wall the desk is on. It would also increase the storage in your kitchen. If you really don't think you need extra storage for you kitchen, consider keeping these cupboards for your kids. We did this in our remodel, my kids each got half of a (large) drawer for art and school supplies. I love that they have their own space in the kitchen where I can shove stuff they leave out, and they like being able to find it. I also leave their special snacks in their bins in their drawers (ie valentines candy, goodie bags from parties, etc) so they can get to it themselves, but it isn't in plain site so they forget about it occasionally. Another option would be to put a smaller cabinet on the back side, that would leave seating on either side, like a u. 1 seat on the side by the stairs, 2 on the side closest to the front door, one on the side by the desk. It would decrease storage space, but might be the best use of space for seating. I am with you on the island, we created one and it is great for lunch/snack/homework time so I can actually keep the table (relatively) clear for dinner times. This would also use some of that space that right now I don't see as very easy to utilize. I hope that made sense.
We have 8 feet from the wall to out kitchen area where we have put out table. It works, but it is a little tight. It didn't work as well when it was a peninsula, but not that we changed it to an island it feels much bigger. we just put the kids on the "tight" area by the wall and adults on the area by the island. My friend who helped me plan the kitchen said our table is unusually wide and I should get a narrower one, but I couldn't afford to, so maybe if you table is narrower you will have even less of an issue. I can't tell how much space you have for sure, but wanted to share what is working for us.

I also just want to give a plug for the ikea cabinets. I have loved, loved, loved mine. I can fit so much more in since all of the drawers are full extension, plus I can keep it organized so much easier. I go to people who have "custom" cabinets and I wouldn't trade them. my MIL did custom a few years ago, and she is so jealous of how the organization systems for ikea work, and the full extension. I realize they aren't for everyone, but if you can stand them I would recommend at least considering them.

Good luck!
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Old 04-03-2012, 11:26 PM
michelleh michelleh is offline
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On another thread someone mentioned The Not So Big House books by Sarah Susanka. I picked up a few at the library and have really enjoyed looking through them. She talks about how to open up spaces and let more light in. I thought of this post as I read through them and I thought they might be helpful to you. She has one specifically on re-modeling, although I didn't get that one. Anyways, they might give you some ideas.
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