An Update on our Home Addition
Last year we searched for a home with a floor plan that appealed to both of us. After finding an almost perfect house we decided almost a year ago to embark on a home addition journey together. Russ and I have had many high points and disappointments too. Our home addition project has taken much longer than expected and we’re not done yet but we have learned more than we could have ever imagined, not only about construction and DIY stuff and everything in between, but we have also learned a lot about each other too! We’ve had many arguments, discussions, tears, and feelings that we are bleeding money, but we’ve also experienced excitement, success, and major accomplishment together. Its an amazing experience and although we are eager to move into our first house together, we are enjoying every minute of the process!
Designing the New Floor Plan
One of our biggest pains started right in the beginning of our project. Last year we hired an architect to draw up our home addition. He was referred to use by a contractor friend and he was able to start right away! Long story short the architect didn’t work out. He liked telling us ‘no’ to our ideas, and we are not ‘take no for an answer kinda people’! We have a will, and often find the way! He failed to give us drawings when promised, would not include any of our ideas or wishes in the plans, and ultimately we were unsatisfied. It was a hard decision, and risky, but we decided to let him go and draw up our ideas ourselves.
With Russ’s background in construction and my design skills we formed an awesome team and drew up exactly what was in our dreams. We also were able to change and move walls on a whim without paying anyone a dime for their time. Because of this we were able to see changes so quickly our ideas could grow and we could ponder what it would be like to add a bathroom here, move a wall over there, etc. I believe we are going to end up with a much better design than if we had worked with the architect!
To do this we first obtained the original floor plan from our city office. This gave us a good start, but we also carefully measured every room of the house too. I drew it up using some of my architecture skills I learned in classes I took after college and Russ checked the designs for any construction issues, mistakes I made in wall thicknesses, and helped with the specifications needed for the foundation, etc.
And here is the floor plan currently.
Major changes include a whole addition off the back (more garage space, office, family room), since we couldn’t see ourselves using a formal front room we converted about half of it into a first floor laundry room and extended that out over the existing porch, added a half bath in the front room as well, and the rest of the front room is now a larger ‘entry’ way, we made the main bath almost a foot bigger by pushing the wall out into the kitchen area, and largely opened up the kitchen/dining/front areas by removing the massive 10 foot double fireplace that occupied 40 square feet of the middle of the house. Check out our video of that here!
As of now, almost a year later, our space looks like this.
You can see how we added the laundry room in the front living room and opened up the space by removing the fireplace.
During the removal we were trying to be careful to save as many bricks as possible to use on other projects of the house including bricking the back of the addition. This obviously took way more bricks but we have been able to save a bit of moolah by reusing and of course keeping them out of the dumpster.
Finally some drywall really defines each room. Where the fireplace used to be is now the access through way into the front room. The room to the left is our new main floor laundry room which we extended out over the porch since it already had the foundation and the roof. Our kitchen is going in the big open space to the right.
Here’s the status almost 2 years later. We added a lot of paint on the walls. You can see the hickory floor we chose with a walnut stain. Our kitchen is also in! We still need to install the cabinet doors and the counter top for the island.
Lots of work still to be done, but we just keep plugging away at it little by little and we’re lovin’ it!
We also still love each other after all of this too! Its a miracle!