Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Contracting Bathroom

If you'll recall, we've recently had some troubles in a bathroom. I got a bee in my bonnet, figuratively speaking because I don't have a bonnet and we're not discussing bees in this post, and called a contractor yesterday.

I'm realizing, like it or not, that if anything is to get done here, I'm going to have to be the one to take the initiative. Soooo, last night we met with him for about 2 hours and that's just a preliminary meeting for him to take measurements, get the history, get a little idea of our plans and expectations. Oh man, are we in trouble there! two people with little to no decorator taste, wishing the money well was bottomless, and realizing we can probably do somewhere midway between "beer budget" and half-way to "fine wine" or "cheap champagne". Additionally, a realistic cap needs to be on that budget because face it, we're not in a high end neighborhood and this house was built in 1966 and there's only so much you can do within it's existing 1948 square feet footprint. It sounds like a lot of room, and to some I'm sure it may seem enormous, but the way it's configured leaves one scratching their heads as to the architects thought processes. Not to mention, it wouldn't be wise to go over-the-top compared to other upgraded homes in the neighborhood. Mr. Contractor did give a point for consideration though. Let's say in the future we need to sell, in a relatively short time, and there are several comp houses in the neighborhood, the one the buyer's going to choose, if prices are also comp, is the one that looks the nicest and freshest. Something to think about for sure. But then, if we move and Nick stays here for college, we may just rent it to him and some roommates. It still needs to be functional and right now it isn't very much so at all.

(note: let me know if this doesn't run. It took forever to load, and I try to view it, but it says an error occurred and to try later :S and it looks funny as is on my end. I haven't posted videos before, so I may be doing something wrong, sizing?)

The bathroom (I refer to it as #2) is very basic, shy of 5' wide and 9.5' long. I'm a fairly simple person and can't tolerate any gaudiness, so simple lines/curves are all I'm looking for. I also like somewhat country styling. We don't have the estimate yet, but the rough costs mentioned for gutting the entire thing - which is necessary at this point will be about twice what I actually expected for a bathroom. Silly me. It also surprised me as the kitchen, which he also looked at, and which we've wanted to re-do for 15 years, was only about twice & a half of the bathroom even with all new appliances and changing things around! Go figure. And did I mention that bathroom #3 which is directly below #2 will also be gutted - which will boot out my 46 yr old wall oven because the kitchen is behind that bathroom & the oven space juts into the bathroom. No oven...until we do the kitchen. #3, with just slightly narrower width, only has a toilet and sink w/cabinet and we want to put in a shower downstairs. A tub would be preferred, but it would have to be custom-made because of the narrower foot print, so a nice shower it will be, maybe with a seat for us old fogies, or any other elderly guests that may need it in the future.

Then there's #1 - the master. It is disgusting, embarrassing even and pitiful for a master bath. Marty tried to improve it a little a couple years ago but that was only by replacing the shower doors, painting & putting in new 'peel & stick' type linoleum tiles. It's just the shower & the toilet, claustrophobic. The sink & vanity are between the door of that area and the door entering the bedroom. Very bizarre design, as right next to those two opposing doors are two closets also with opposing doors and they all open into each other ... 4 doors all opening into a 3' wide bedroom entry.

I don't relish the idea of spending 10s of thousands of dollars for these upgrades, but the house badly needs them. If we were to sell today, it would be considered a fixer-upper and selling price would be well below market in our area and/or we'd be required to do the upgrades and still spend 10s of thousands of dollars and NOT get to enjoy any of it ourselves! Since we're not planning on leaving anytime soon, at least not as long as Nick's in school and he's only in 7th grade, we'll be here for a minimum 5 years unless Marty were to lose his job, so we need to do what needs to be done and do it the way WE would like to have it.

If anyone has had experiences in remodeling and can give us any pointers, I'd sure love to hear them (preferably positive ones, but things to maybe watch out for as well). Our contractor has a good reputation. He's done work for the school my son goes to and may be a member of the attached church, as well as has done work for a couple of people I know. He may be a bit pricier than another out there, but having knowledge of his work and reputation speaks volumes and gives a greater reassurance than finding someone we know nothing about.

I just pray that no major earthquakes erupt right after this process!

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