Criticize our colonial renovation!

beretta627June 2, 2013
So my wife and I just bought a 1950's colonial that hasn't been updated much since the 80s. It's a 2200 sq ft that could use a bit of TLC and we've been working hard to put together concepts on where we want to go with it. Take a look and tell us what you think!

Existing look and floor plans are the first three photos, and our idea are in the next few.

Our goals include

- Open Concept First Floor
- Air Conditioning (Hydro air system?)
- Oil-Gas Conversion
- Roof & Dormer Windows
- Changing brass water piping.
- Cleaning up Laundry area piping
- Master Suite (extension area)
- Fourth Bedroom on 2nd floor
- Kitchen Relocation
- Sub-pump: to be replaced
- Chimney: need to be repaired
- Fence the yard for dog
- Seal cracks in the porch base
- Modify Driveway slopes
- Reinforcement of the current garage foundation

We've budgeted about 200k for this remodel.

We'd love to get some feedback and hear of anyone who's done similar major renovations and what kinds of challenges they've faced. What kind of timeline might we expect? We're going to have three contractors come in this week to start the estimate process, but houzz has been a great resource for us so we hope the community will enjoy this renovation. Thanks!
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PRO
Interiors International, Inc.
It is a big job but your budget is realistic and that is a great start. I would plan 4-6 months before it is complete.
    Bookmark   June 2, 2013 at 2:35PM
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momof5x
Maybe you could follow something like this in regards to colours and the small extension of house at the side, change it so it is facing forward:

Menlo Park Outdoor Entertainment Area · More Info
3 Likes    Bookmark   June 2, 2013 at 2:44PM
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beretta627
great looking house! we've documented a lot of our inspiration from houzz here:
Ideabook: beretta627's Ideas · See Ideabook
2 Likes    Bookmark   June 2, 2013 at 2:49PM
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beretta627
@Interiors International, Inc., wow, 4-6 months? We were expecting half of that. What would be some of your biggest concerns that would extend timeline?
    Bookmark   June 2, 2013 at 2:52PM
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Judy M
First, I want to comment just to follow this thread.

Your windows are making me crazy, two on bottom, one on top.

Lovely lot, can't wait to see the changes. I am particularly interested in how far your budget goes, since a remodel might be in our future.

What part of the country are you in?
1 Like    Bookmark   June 2, 2013 at 2:54PM
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Judy M
LOL, I think you're lucky if it's done by 6 months.

My kitchen (no add on) took almost 4 months and a small bathroom (also completely gutted) 2 months.
2 Likes    Bookmark   June 2, 2013 at 2:56PM
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beretta627
@Judy M, So get this. The house is actually facing the rear of the lot. We're going to be converting the "rear" into the "front." Here's a photo of the current "front".

We're in New England. The lot is actually one of the best parts. An acre, with the house sitting about 8 feet up over the property.
    Bookmark   June 2, 2013 at 2:59PM
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Judy M
Well , the windows make sense on the front! I like it.

I'm in NE, also.
1 Like    Bookmark   June 2, 2013 at 3:04PM
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ncreature
Before you look into contractors hire an architect. This is a big job and there are some things in your plan that I think need to be addressed, that I think an architect well versed in residential design should be able to better help (he'd probably have the hook up with good contractors and tradesmen too if he's experienced). For example one thing that immediately jumps out at me is the powder room off the main entry, which in this day and age is a no-no. That is not the type of fine china anyone wants to see when first walking into a space (and at least from this model doesn't appear to have code minimum space requirements -- but of course these aren't construction drawings either so its hard to say). Also unless you're into Feng Shui the stairs appear to be going the wrong way, typically stairs would face the front door both for aesthetics, circulation and means of egress. Also I know that's just as Sketchup model but in many places those rooms look a little tight they may be difficult to furnish

To me, to use architect speak, it sounds like you are still in the design development phase. Still flushing out ideas, and if those are your plans I'm not sure you are there yet. Someone with a good trained eye will be able to guide and will make design considerations that can keep your budget down (like not having to relocate plumbing, etc.) and having a sense of both structure and the style of the residence. A good architect will keep the spirit of the house in-tact while accomodating what you need. To my eye there are probably a few places where the space could be designed more efficiently.
5 Likes    Bookmark   June 2, 2013 at 3:05PM
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PRO
Dullea and Associates Inc.
Based on your current design you are renovating the entire 2200sf house, adding approx. 800sf and a new garage. I see no way you can accomplish all of this within your budget. The construction duration will depend on your contractors capabilies. I feel you are looking at an 8 month job minimum but as I stated it will depend on your contractor.

Do your homework and make sure your contractor has a solid track record of estimating, staying on budget and on time. Good luck.
4 Likes    Bookmark   June 2, 2013 at 3:21PM
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Fred S
Ncreature, turn the plan upside down. The builder put the garage doors in the back of the house in order to keep the front of the house looking pretty.
    Bookmark   June 2, 2013 at 3:26PM
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judianna20
First question: in MA?
    Bookmark   June 2, 2013 at 3:39PM
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judianna20
I think Nat'l Grid is having a gas conversion opportunity. Take advantage of that and get your heat in.

Center entrance: living room front to back? Dining room on the opposite side? Kitchen where?
    Bookmark   June 2, 2013 at 3:41PM
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beretta627
@judyg, yep
    Bookmark   June 2, 2013 at 3:41PM
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beretta627
@judyg, already has gas connectors. just need to replace the furnace. kitchen on the right, formal dining / living on the left
    Bookmark   June 2, 2013 at 3:42PM
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beretta627
@Dullea and Associates Inc., appreciate the perspective. Where would you put a budget (order of magnitude of course based on what the goalpost is?
    Bookmark   June 2, 2013 at 3:43PM
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ncreature
@FredS I guess the point of contention I have was just to make sure that a substantial project like this is being supervised by someone experienced in this type of work because this can become a runaway train quickly especially if you are on a tight timeline. This is basically building a new house and a 60 year old house is not going to be a cakewalk (a renovation this extensive wouldn't be a cakewalk in a 5 year old house). If you've found a qualified builder and this is what they've come up with then you're on your way. But like others have pointed out, the timeline and budget seem suspect for a project this ambitious.

However, if these are just your ideas and you are going to try and manage the process of finding the contractors and supervising this yourself, I would caution by saying experienced architects go through (in America) 4-6 years of school and another 3 years of internship before they can get close to managing a job like this (or even being able to certify the plans). A couple trying to do something like this without help or another person to idea to bounce ideas off of, keep up with code requirements, purchases, lead times, manage the trades, inspection process, etc, in addition to their daily schedules of working, kids, etc. -- this is a recipe for all the things people lament about renovations. The key to a job like this, especially with a tight timeline is incredible preparation on the front end, and that comes from experience. Knowing what's likely to happen before you even pull out a hammer.
6 Likes    Bookmark   June 2, 2013 at 3:45PM
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ncreature
If you think about this in costs per square foot (and you can research data on this for your area and type of construction), but your typical garage will run $50 - $100 a square foot. I would say its not uncommon for the average house to be in the $100 - $200 square foot range (double that for kitchens/baths), so at $200/square foot you're well over $400,000 for the house for a top to bottom reno.
3 Likes    Bookmark   June 2, 2013 at 3:49PM
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judianna20
Obviously you need professional advice. I grew up in a house, North of Boston, just like that and built in the 50's. I have often thought of what I would do to that house. It was warm and homey…yet all the rooms were cut off.

Maybe combine the dining room and the kitchen and make it a large family/entertaining space.

The living room? Pretty much what it is now….just an inviting get away adult room. On what wall is the fireplace? Outside?

I know that times change needs/design, but I hate to see the old go.

If you are in the Boston area, there is a wonderful designer, Anne Webb Johnson, who may have some ideas for you.
1 Like    Bookmark   June 2, 2013 at 3:58PM
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Fred S
I'm just saying that if they put the direction of the house in the right perspective, maybe they wouldn't feel the need to spend so much money. Maybe drive the car around in a circle on the front lawn until it wears in a circular driveway and call it a day. Not really trying to be facetious, just criticizing. I would give them the historical significance of the structure now used as a garage, but I doubt they care.
2 Likes    Bookmark   June 2, 2013 at 4:07PM
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ncreature
I'm totally with you on this Fred. A circular driveway, make a motor court or something. It might even be less costly to keep the house mostly as is with a few changes and then build another wing, but again these are all ideas that a professional can help work through.
1 Like    Bookmark   June 2, 2013 at 4:13PM
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beretta627
@FredS, go ahead and lay it on in a constructive manner. Offer us your historical context as our goal is to do the style justice rather than hack and slash. I'd love to turn this thread into a massive brainstorming session,as we are not tied to any plan yet. That's the fun of it all.
1 Like    Bookmark   June 2, 2013 at 4:18PM
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architectrunnerguy
Get a local creative person who will come into your house and, over the dining room table, have a creative design session with yourself and any other decision maker as active participants. I call them "charrettes" and do them all the time.

Budget about 6 hours but at the end there will likely be a few to several roughed out approaches with maybe one standout that needs to be developed a little further.

And that not to imply "rush". It's not like you're doing this with the carpenters waiting in their truck outside. There's plenty of time for you to "sleep on" what was developed.
    Bookmark   June 2, 2013 at 4:27PM
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Fred S
As per sketches and writings from ancestors, the part that is the garage now, was an outdoor kitchen. They did not have air conditioning back then. The water well and underground cold storage was also in that room. It was all enclosed to protect the family from wondering bands of thugs who would just wait out of firing range until the owner had to go out and get water or die of dehydration. So it would not have garage doors. And it is a very historically significant part of that style home.
    Bookmark   June 2, 2013 at 4:31PM
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Fred S
Hope that helps in an interesting and constructive way.
    Bookmark   June 2, 2013 at 4:33PM
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Fred S
90% of the time I hear clients say "can't we do something with those garage doors. Too bad we can't put them out back. They just don't go good with the rest of the great design."
    Bookmark   June 2, 2013 at 4:45PM
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beretta627
Appreciate the perspective. We hadn't even thought of it that way.
    Bookmark   June 2, 2013 at 4:50PM
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Fred S
I guess I figured that living where you are, you already knew that.
    Bookmark   June 2, 2013 at 4:56PM
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beretta627
We actually just relocated. Hooray for new experiences!
    Bookmark   June 2, 2013 at 4:58PM
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Fred S
My Bad :)
    Bookmark   June 2, 2013 at 5:01PM
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Fred S
Also, two kitchens and a second story without dormers, was a sign that they were better of than most. Taxation was based on the number of full stories. That is how the thugs knew who to sit out and rob. Which is why the outdoor cooking became an enclosed fortress. Also one big reason for the shutters.
    Bookmark   June 2, 2013 at 5:29PM
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feeny
I am not a professional, and I don't mean to be discouraging, but I want to say that I like the original lines of the house much better than the version you've produced with the garage doors in front and the false nose pushing out the front door. I am one of those people who feels that prominent double garages in the front of houses disfigure their architectural lines. I associate them with tract housing developments. So speaking as, let's say, a future potential buyer of this house, evaluating it purely on curb appeal, I feel that the garage in back and the cleaner lines of the current house are much more attractive, traditional, and desirable, especially for a colonial house in the Northeast.
4 Likes    Bookmark   June 2, 2013 at 5:54PM
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Fred S
To be fair, let's not forget that this is just a real nice 1950 reproduction of a historic colonial house. It doesn't need to be accurate down to the letter.
    Bookmark   June 2, 2013 at 6:20PM
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feeny
I am not criticizing the design on the basis of historical preservation or strict accuracy, only on the basis of aesthetics and curb appeal.
1 Like    Bookmark   June 2, 2013 at 6:30PM
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Fred S
I am not saying that at anyone in particular, just at the tone of the conversation that I started and everyone seams to be agreeing with for their own reasons.
1 Like    Bookmark   June 2, 2013 at 6:37PM
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mefor
I don't mean to be a big downer, but the timeline and budget need a lot more padding. I also agree that the real front is fine and you should find a way to orient driveway to bring guests to front.
    Bookmark   June 2, 2013 at 6:43PM
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giniaginia
add another $30,000.00 for these
1 Like    Bookmark   June 2, 2013 at 6:47PM
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ruthmand
You say your 1950's house just needs some TLC but you are planning pretty much a complete remodel. If it is the later, brace yourself for more than 4-6 mos. of construction. As Judy M said, we redid our kitchen, powder and laundry room, that's all, and with workers here on a steady basis it took close to 4 mos.. Yes, they did a bit of electrical rework, new flooring, but no new plumbing, no relocation of rooms, etc. in a not very large home and we were happy with the work and progress. It all goes fast until you start doing finish and trim work and then.......
1 Like    Bookmark   June 2, 2013 at 6:48PM
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mefor
My six month renovation, that I secretly gave 10 months as real timeline, turned into 2 1/2 years. Nothing is really as simple or easy as you might hope. And EVERYTHING costs more than you think it should or than you think it might cost. And I say this as someone who has a very good idea of what it costs and how long it takes.
4 Likes    Bookmark   June 2, 2013 at 6:53PM
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mrscee
it always takes longer and cost more...the white looks good for the exterior, makes it more stately...the main thing that stands out to me is the need for more architectural addition around the entry ...it lacks warmth and drama
    Bookmark   June 2, 2013 at 7:02PM
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Judy M
I'm curious, have you ever done an add on to any previous property? Had a kitchen or bath gutted?

Just curious as to your renovation experience.
1 Like    Bookmark   June 2, 2013 at 7:06PM
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mrscee
had a bath gutted, remodeled lots of houses, but not major jobs, like yours
    Bookmark   June 2, 2013 at 7:54PM
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PRO
Dullea and Associates Inc.
With the limited information provided I would say you are looking at at least $350K if not more.

There are a number of existing interior and exterior walls that are going to be removed, new walls constructed, kitchen relocation, bathroom renovations/additions, a new 2-car garage and breezeway, etc. The renovation/additon will require new drywall and trim in a number of rooms. This will also call for ceilings and floors to be replaced, patched and refinished. With walls being moved you will likely be redistributing load paths so additional piers and structure will likely be required. The roof will also need to be replaced as the design calls for a new addition and dormers to tie into the existing.

You may also need to upgrade the electrical system as you are adding a significant amount of SF to the existing house and the current panel may not be sufficiently sized to handle the additional circuits.

I would engage the services of a structural engineer to analyize the structural systems.

I hope this helps.
    Bookmark   June 2, 2013 at 8:02PM
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mefor
Here I go again! That scope of work is going to be so much closer to 400-600 k. Seriously. You're touching, gutting and changing nearly everything in existing house and adding on. Very, very expensive. Seems a little much when the true front of home is attractive and fits. Yes it might need some work and more space , but do you really want to take on that much to flip house around?
2 Likes    Bookmark   June 2, 2013 at 8:09PM
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PRO
Dullea and Associates Inc.
I forgot about the addition to the foyer and the new front porch. This will add to the cost. In addition you will be touching the exterior siding so the exterior finish will need to be addressed.
2 Likes    Bookmark   June 2, 2013 at 8:10PM
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PRO
Kathryn Peltier Design
I would advise you to hold off on the contractors. For one thing, you don't have enough in the way of detailed drawings for them to work from - without making a lot of their own inferences. And if each one is making their own inferences, you are not going to get an apples-to-apples comparison. As others have said, based on what you have posted here, you are overhauling the entire house; there is virtually nothing untouched. From what you have shown, you are moving ALL the plumbing - expensive. Moving the kitchen alone, and depending upon your cabinet, finish and appliance choices, could cost anywhere from $50-75K on up.

While brainstorming and doing design development, as ncreature said, is a wonderful way to come up with ideas, it is perhaps more importantly a good tool for showing a professional what you are thinking about. A good architect can probably come up with several floor plans which can accomplish what you want, but perhaps with less upheaval and less expense. Professional design assistance for a project of this magnitude will be worth every cent you spend. While I think you have a good budget, I also think you need to prioritize what it is you really want, because you may not be able to do it all. Besides which, prioritizing your items will also help you decide where your money will be best spent, even if you CAN do it all (e.g. do you want the expensive professional range if it means losing a dormer window; that kind of thing) Also, with an older house you are bound to run into some heretofore-unknown problems once you begin, so you will need to allow a cushion for that.

Right off the bat, I think you have to ascertain whether or not you can add a second floor to the existing garage structure. If this ultimately needs to be beefed up or completely reframed, this may be an excellent place to put a new kitchen (rather than reworking existing floor space), and then build a new garage space (less expensive space). If you put it behind the kitchen space, it also means you have much better access for unloading groceries, etc. which is an important factor in the floor plan. You could probably incorporate a powder room and maybe even the laundry into this area, which would be a huge plus. Moving the garage would also have the benefit of not having a front entry garage. Adding your 2nd story master addition, then, would also mean that the new plumbing could be stacked. You could then simply wall off the former master bedroom, leaving the remaining 2 bedrooms and bathroom untouched and either leave the current master bath as a second family bath or perhaps incorporate the space as part of a new master bath addition.

Your exterior changes must, of course, flow from a functional interior floor plan, but I also think that they should maintain the basic integrity of the current design (since you are not trying to change this completely into a contemporary facade) What you do not want to end up with is some weird hybridization of styles.

Please ask around for references for a good design professional. This is too large a project and too much money to try to undertake completely on your own (even with a good general contractor).
3 Likes    Bookmark   June 2, 2013 at 8:13PM
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PRO
88 Atelier for Architecture
Your bathroom and kitchen layout of fixtures is awkward and wasteful of space. I recommend getting some professional help.
    Bookmark   June 2, 2013 at 8:27PM
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0825sam
Hi - not an expert but from recent experience in our renovation:
We gutted back of house - upstairs ad downstairs - and needed structural work. We got new kitchen, moved a guest bath, reconfigured upstairs to get a better layout, master suite with laundry. We had to move out for 2 1/2 months and workers were here every weekday from 8-4 (rare in my experience). This did not include finishing things like backsplash, painting.
We are also in northeast. I terms of cost I have to agree with the other comments - for that amount of work I think $200k is unrealistic.
    Bookmark   June 3, 2013 at 4:07AM
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Judy M
Make a list of what you want in order of priority and then consult an Architect. They might be able to get closer to what you want with less demolition which will save money, unless you have a ton of money to throw at house.

It is not always possible to get everything you want when considering what already is existing BUT, you can end up with a very nice, comfortable, upgraded home.

Not knowing if you have any previous experience with a large remodel or add on and a project this big done all at one time is a big undertaking. You'll need to be prepared to live in a work zone and have workers in your house every day for a long time.

You'll need to plan where all your furniture will be stored, where will you cook and bathe during construction?
You'll need a temporary small kitchen if you plan to stay in house during construction. And keep the dog safe from construction equipment etc.

Just some practical things to be considered. Not trying to deter you, as I love the end result of a big project, just know it can be a long tough road getting there.
5 Likes    Bookmark   June 3, 2013 at 4:14AM
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mefor
Not to moan anymore, but Judy m has brought back some pretty vivid memories of living in my house during that 2 1/2 year long renovation. Lets just say I could probably learn to live in a bomb shelter indefinitely after my self imposed jail term!!!
4 Likes    Bookmark   June 3, 2013 at 4:41AM
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0825sam
Since your house was built before 1978 be aware of lead paint and any applicable laws re lead abatement. Especially if you have small kids or plan to. A big risk is dust not just paint chips - replacing windows can create it. Also going into the soil from demolition or scraping exterior paint.
2 Likes    Bookmark   June 3, 2013 at 5:18AM
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PRO
catieb
Beretta, the reasons to have design help are endless, right now your sketches are open to interpretation by builders, meaning you have no idea what you'll end up with.....and that's if you survive the construction process of seeing something built, realizing it isn't right and having to pay to rebuild.

In just a minute of reviewing your plans I see a lack of storage throughout, missing functions/basic needs not being met and too much square footage getting built with no function in it, so you would be paying to build unlivable square footage. The exterior design has taken a turn towards mixed styles which will result in a building that is less than the stately home you have now.

Borrowing from The Not So Big House...there are three parts to very project: time, money and quality. You can get two of these. If timing is important then you had better plan to spend an enormous amount of money to get any kind of quality.

I can't speak to the costs in your part of the country but having just priced a similar project, you need double the guestimated budget. While you can reduce the duration of construction by making all selections before construction even starts, that alone can take a couple of months and best guided by a pro. I can think of about fifty questions you'd need to answer about the kitchen space alone. Then you go thru that process with varying number of questions for every other space.

Reading between the lines I think you were hoping for a lively round of design discussion and feedback about your plans. The reason they aren't coming is b/c all the pros can tell this requires actual data and hands on time to get results that are successful and pertinant. It would be a great project to have though! It sounds like you have a good attitude and the ability to communicate, combine these with professional guidance and the results will be a home that can nurture your family for many years.
2 Likes    Bookmark   June 3, 2013 at 5:54AM
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judianna20
Beretta, did you see this ideabook on this week's houzz?
http://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/11528491/list?utm_source=Houzz&utm_campaign=u289&utm_medium=email&utm_c


You say you are new to the area. Make sure you research your potential builders. Have you looked here on houzz under professionals?

$200,000.00 sounds like a lot of change, but in this neck of the woods, you could go way over that if you don't set your priorities. The landscaping alone, if you have to do walls/driveway/irrigation/well, etc could easily run you $100,000.00. Rereading your list of goals, having renovated one home and built another in the last 10 years, I honestly don't think $200,000.00 is going to be enough. I would be prepared to hear quotes of twice that.

Go down to town hall and take a look at the permits that have been issued and see what the estimated cost is on each project. Compare your wish list.
1 Like    Bookmark   June 3, 2013 at 6:12AM
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Judy M
I will say that surviving a big renovation does provide a lot of great stories to tell later, as in once the work is over and you're sitting in a great new kitchen with a glass of wine and good friends, preparing a delicious meal.

No guts, no glory as my husband (and personal chef) likes to say.
4 Likes    Bookmark   June 3, 2013 at 7:41AM
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jumpinjenn
We are renovating our 1940's colonial now (early stages of construction). The original footprint was 1300 sq ft. We are adding a mudroom, library, screened porch, extending our basement and adding a living room and master bedroom/bath on the third level. We are also re-doing our kitchen, but do not need appliances and are hoping to salvage our cabinets. Our loan was for 300k. We are in the Washington DC area and this is what all four contractors/architects came in at. Hope that helps.
1 Like    Bookmark   June 3, 2013 at 7:48AM
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mefor
True judy m, it may have been painful, and I've done four major renos (no more!!!!) but I love everything done with all of my historic projects!! I can forget about the "difficulties" when I look at what we've accomplished..
3 Likes    Bookmark   June 3, 2013 at 7:58AM
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Judy M
@jumpinjenn.
How much sq feet are you adding?
    Bookmark   June 3, 2013 at 8:27AM
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libradesigneye
Here is the main thing - long term, you want to live in your house, not have another job where you live. Set your budget first, hire a design professional and make a list of priorities. Don't get attached to your solutions until you see charette ideas. Give feedback and get some refinements.
Your initial plans are uninformed /crazy - moving all the plumbing for a kitchen is a lot of expense for no gain. Anticipate no less than 8 mo construction after you obtain permits which can take 3 mo up front. Even pros hire pros. No one can be expert in all facets, architects may add interior designers to team, consult kitchen specialists, houzzers collaborate here etc. People who know better than to self diagnose and medicate forget that a built environment is also a kind of integrated system. For cosmetics only, sure, do your thing with some well informed advice.
You are talking about major surgery. If you spend 200k and leave the structure footprint, you may get something lovely. If you spend 200k and add on you may get something awful. How you spend your $ will also impact your ongoing costs / utility $. Think about posting again and asking for recommendations of residential pros in your area. Research their galleries, and interview people to see who you click with communication wise. If you have a solid plan up front, you may be able to meet your objectives and your budget. The $ you spend on a pro are not additional, they will save you $.
4 Likes    Bookmark   June 3, 2013 at 8:34AM
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architectrunnerguy
"Wow, 4-6 months? We were expecting half of that."
Architectrunnerguy's 90/90 rule of project schedules: "The first 90% of the project will take 90% of the time. The last 10% of the project will take the other 90% of the time".

"I'd love to turn this thread into a massive brainstorming session": Hmmm, a project that going to run a healthy six figures if it's a dime and no interest in the suggestions to get somebody creative out there to help find the best way to spend that six figures.

Does anybody else see where this is heading?
6 Likes    Bookmark   June 3, 2013 at 8:48AM
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PRO
Dullea and Associates Inc.
The more I study the design the more I see the construction cost increasing. If the ceiling in the basement laundry room and family room are drywall they will need to be removed in order to run new plumbing. Other have made valid points that will increase cost as well.

I am having trouble with master bedroom addition. The addition makes the house too long. I like the massing of the original house better. I would also eliminate the two dormers on the main roof.

Have you considered a design with a master bedroom addition off the back of the house? A master on the main has a lot of benefits long term. One option to consider would be to leave the garge in its current position and add a family room behind the new kitchen and add a master suite behind the garage. Doing so could reduce the amount of renovation required to the interior/exterior of the existing house.
2 Likes    Bookmark   June 3, 2013 at 1:23PM
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Paul L. Johnson Interiors
Looks like a combination between a bowling alley and a skyscraper. Back in the late 90's everyone was doing "pop the top" additions where roofs were coming off and the owners were using equity to simply take their rancher, go up and voila, instant colonial! Problem is that they all look like thats what someone did, and this design looks no different :/ Sorry to be so harsh, but it just looks like blocks stuck on with no real exterior aesthetic. Totally agree with Architectrunnerguy and Dullea in the two recent comments. I have spent a lifetime (over 40 years) in this industry and can assure you that the 200k nut for this project is so overwhelmingly under the correct amount it borders on malpractice - if there were such a thing for contractors.
2 Likes    Bookmark   June 3, 2013 at 2:34PM
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sstarr93
I haven't read the entire thread, but the thing that jumps out at me is that (having lived 20 years in a very similar house in MA), you may not have enough ceiling height and roof pitch to make those dormers work. At best, they might only be decorative. ??
2 Likes    Bookmark   June 3, 2013 at 2:51PM
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Fred S
Star I was going to get into that when I had time to explain the history and why it doesn't quite look right on this house.
    Bookmark   June 3, 2013 at 3:12PM
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judianna20
Beretta? Any thoughts? You are getting lots of good advice here.
2 Likes    Bookmark   June 3, 2013 at 3:17PM
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sstarr93
Fred, is it OK with you that I mentioned it? I remember moving to MA from the Midwest in my 20s. I didn't know anything about the history of the area, the architecture, the aesthetic of the region. If I had renovated an historic house at that point, I would have made a hash of it. What may look odd and kind of deficient when compared to new subdivision development, can actually be a highly-desirable antique.
    Bookmark   June 3, 2013 at 3:32PM
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beretta627
First of all, I'd like to thank everyone for their comments -- positive and negative. It takes both to help inform a situation and I appreciate all the feedback in this thread. I've been at work and haven't had the opportunity to reply until now, so thank you for your patience.

I think some of the big take aways that we're getting are as followed:

- Hiring an architect to vet our ideas is well worth the money spent. We had never ruled out the idea but it was important to us to open our ideas for feedback here because sometimes tough love can be the best :)

- Budget & Scope. We set a 200k budget with another 100k for surprise costs. Based on what the actual estimates come out we plan on tempering our expectations accordingly. We can quickly learn that this is a budget where we can't get everything we want, and while we know this is a naive attempt at a remodel plan you have to start somewhere, right? The goal was to show some of our aspirational ideas, get feedback (good and bad), and use that as a foundation of knowledge to continue our process of learning and to build off. Again, I thank everyone for their perspective that will ultimately land us in a much better spot than if we just jumped off a cliff and started spending.

- Next steps. So it's unlikely we're going to end up in the direction currently mocked up in our sketchup plans. Ultimately the major additions that need to come with the house -- Master Suite, renovated Kitchen and Family Room are going to fit into the equation somehow, and I look forward to following up with everyone here when we take our next stab at the layout (if we get to it before a proper session with an architect I'm sure we'll get panned just as hard, but it's all in good fun.)

Cheers!
5 Likes    Bookmark   June 3, 2013 at 4:23PM
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architectrunnerguy
Look, get a creative person in there now and THEN run his/her ideas by the group. Not the other way around.
    Bookmark   June 3, 2013 at 4:30PM
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Judy M
Keep us informed as you progress through the plans.
    Bookmark   June 3, 2013 at 4:56PM
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Dullea and Associates Inc.
beretta627 - I am glad to hear our commentary was helpful and that you intend to seek the help of a designer or architect. Make sure you interview and check out the professional you intend to hire. Make certain they have a good understanding of your budget and have extensive experience working on major renovations.

I also suggest that once you have hired the designer/architect and have come up with a schematic design that you obtain a preliminary estimate from a qualified contractor. With a basic set of drawings, plans and elevations, and an outline finish schedule you should be able to get a pretty good estimate from a contractor that knows how to estimate. You design professional should be able to lead you through the process.

I wish you the best of luck. Take your time and have fun with the process.
    Bookmark   June 3, 2013 at 7:27PM
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libradesigneye
Beretta - thanks for inviting us. The limits of 100 words and a few pictures can't tell us everything but we honestly want you to have something great and functional for your family for your $, and thanks for taking our input in that vein. It is good to carry a 20% contingency after design for remodels. If you can spend $300, then report your budget as $240 to the design professionals and you will have room to either upgrade some finishes or deal with unexpected finds without blowing things - you can assure them you have set aside some contingency, but definitely don't report what it is.

However, since you have identified equipment that needs replacing, if you wish to get that done within the max, then reduce your budget by 2x your equipment costs for that - don't run out and do it, but set that list over to one side with $ attached and talk about the $ left and the major objectives with your architect or designer candidates to start - get a sense for that. If you plan to add a master suite and you can rework an existing bath for your new master bath (major plumbing service provided, you will be able to add on for the least amount of $ - possibly $250 / sf. A great kitchen alone in this price point is likely $55k minimum - easily spend 75k in that area alone. Each bath that needs a facelift will be not less than 10k. Hope that gives you some order of magnitude.
    Bookmark   June 3, 2013 at 7:58PM
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Kathryn Peltier Design
Any updates on your project, beretta627?
1 Like    Bookmark   July 16, 2013 at 6:11AM
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