Needing home advice

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Alright, today’s post is a little different from our regularly scheduled programming around here. Usually I am all about sharing the inspiration, home improvement projects, crafts and home decor. Today I am Needing home advice,  I am the one in need of the advice, or really opinions. You lovely people are the opinionated ones I am relying on. The topic of today is still house related, lets talk homes!

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The above picture was taken in our current living room, it was Dale’s parents house then and we had been dating one whole week! 

Our current home we purchased from Dale’s parents, they moved into it when it was a brand new house in 2000. When I met Dale 12 years ago we had one of our first dates here at this house, we even had our first kiss at this house! When it came time for us to buy a home my in-laws were looking to sell their house. We bought it, moved in and made it ours. We have put so much work into this home, and because it was his parents before we determined to make it feel like ours. I am not sure we would have started doing DIY projects if we had purchased a brand new home to us. There was a feeling of us wanting to put our own stamp into it.

We were just a family of three, on the same swing set. This was 8 years ago!

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The same backyard, just five years of life has passed between these two pictures.

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My three kids have never lived anywhere else, this is the home each of them took their first steps in, the same backyard they have played in. Everything in our world up to this point has been in this home. Here is the conundrum, we adore our home and our neighborhood. But, we are outgrowing it! We need a designated office/craft room for me, a larger kitchen, and preferably a 4 bedroom so each child can have their own room.

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Our home works perfectly fine, but we are ready for our forever, dream home. The issue is that our town is small, the housing market is freakishly competitive for it being such a small town. We have great schools,  low crime rate, and a doable commute to the city if needed.

Dale and I initially planned to put our house on the market this summer and move into a bigger home. We even talked to a realtor who said we will have no problem selling our house. Yay for making this house into a home! However, the issue comes in finding something for us to move into. A competitive housing market, with a small amount of homes for sell means we could end up settling for our forever home. Which means something that would need work done to become our dream home.

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We have a few options and I would love to have any advice, opinions or personal experience that maybe you have to share. We can either sell our home and keep our fingers crossed something comes on the market that we love. We can build brand new, but I am not crazy about lots with no tree’s and not an established neighborhood feel.

Or, we can look into turning this home into our dream home. Right now it is a one story 1800 square foot 3 bedroom home. The idea is we add a second story and put all three kids bedrooms upstairs, taking over the first floor as the main living area and our master bedroom. This is a crazy, so much work I cannot even wrap my head around it situation. But, BUT one that Dale and I are seriously considering.

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I explained the history with this home, if it comes to us moving out of this home, even if it is to our dream home it will be a sad day. This was our first and only home as a family, this has been our sanctuary and comfort. It is difficult to walk away from something like that. But the home the way it is is not going to work for us long term. As of now the kitchen works to have one person in it, two working in there if there is good communication. Eventually our three kids will be full sized people.

Right now we have a rule or no kids in the kitchen when cooking because there is not enough standing room. I would love to eventually allow my kids to make their own breakfast and lunch when they are home. But three full sized people is near impossible for our kitchen, this is not exaggeration, simple facts of living in a home with a small kitchen. The way the floorplan works we could have a family room, office, kids homework room, and larger kitchen in the downstairs area. However, adding a second story seems crazy. Talk me out of it guys!

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We all know I am a full fledged DIYer, but we would bring in the pro’s for this. Although, I know that there will be a ton I will want to do on my own. This whole process seems beyond daunting though. However, so does putting a house on the market, looking at homes, and then finding one that we would need to put a ton of work into anyways.

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I am not sure which way we will go yet, we may end up taking the easy way out and do none of it! I don’t see that happening, but sometimes if things are too complicated taking no action feels better. OK, that is called avoidance which is not good. We want our dream, forever home and the possibilities are endless with choices.

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Do any of you wonderful people have experience with extensive renovations? Building a new home? Moving to a larger home? Give it all to me, lets talk homes! Dale and I are in the talking stage of this process, not sure where we will end up. The fun and wonderful thing is I have a great group of people to bounce ideas off of. I am looking at you beauties, this is the first of many posts talking about our process and eventual decision. Then the real fun begins with whatever choice we do make.

I will say, from a home decor and DIY blogger perspective the idea of adding a second story has me literally drooling with the possibilities. I would have so much to share, do, inspire, and create! I mean, I would it all with or without the blog but I have a legitimate excuse for going all out. The idea of my kids living in one house for all of their childhood is so comforting, Dale and I having one home we have shared together. All of the memories, moments, and literal surroundings of our home never changing. There is something so romantic and sweet about that. The idea of finding a new home that we pick and put roots down in is also very appealing to us. Grrr…. so many decisions!

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In my quest for Needing home advice and this whole discussion of what we should do I have come to realize one important thing, Dale and I are not qualified for these kinds of life decisions. Do you ever feel like a real adult needs to step in and make decisions for you? A more aldultier-adult?! We are capable people, are raising three children, we pay bills, go to work, are fully functional adults. But, decisions like this seem so large that a professional adult needs to come in and tell us what to do. Kids… we got that, no professional needed. Picking how we will move forward with our forever home…. that we need help with!

Let me have it, give me your opinions, what you would do in this situation or any experience of your own. 

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Emily

         
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27 Comment

  1. Waaah! Emily, this is all so exciting! Whatever you end up doing, it’s a new chapter in your family’s life and a new adventure, so I can’t wait to follow along.
    As for advice, having only just bought our first home a year ago, with no kids yet (though I’d like a couple after we’re married this summer!), I am not a lot of use to you!
    However, before making a big decision – have you looked at what you could buy in your area? At what is for sale now, and whether it is realistically close enough to your dream home spec? It might be that when you look at what else you can get for your budget, the option of amending your current home will seem even more attractive.
    If it was me in your shoes, I think I couldn’t resist the chance to turn the current house into your dream home. It’s so lovely that you’ve kept it in the family from Dale’s parents, and it will be even lovelier for the kids to have had a real family home all their life. I am grateful we always lived in the same home as children, and my parents are still there – it will always always be ‘home’ for me, even if I don’t live there anymore. Other friends whose parents moved a couple of times never really have that place that all their childhood memories are fixed on. But that’s just me being sentimental! It will be a HUGE task to add an extra floor and possibly a lot more disruption than just taking a new home and adding a few features to make it yours!
    Whatever you decide, good luck! I am sure you will make the right choice for your lovely family! x

    1. Emily says: Reply

      Anna, you have such good thoughts on this! I knew I could count on some wonderful ideas! We have looked at the homes for sale in our area, and we can certainly get a 4 bedroom it will still be smaller and there would be a lot of compromises on what we were hoping to get. Adding the second story and making this home into what we need is so appealing, but the work is terrifying!

      Your story of growing up in one home is amazing and so sweet! I grew up in the same town but never the same house. I love the idea of that comfort and forever home for my kids being the same home, it seems so perfect! I am not sure what we will do yet, but we have a lot of thinking to do. Thank you so much for your sweet words and helpful tips!

  2. Tamara says: Reply

    There housing market is ridiculous in my area. Homes are going for thousands upon thousands over asking, paid in cash… Oh Vancouver. We are feeling trapped in a townhouse and like we’ll never get to buy a house.

    If it was me, if stay and do some renovations if that’s an options. Truthfully you already have all you need. A family and a home. Does each kid really need their own room? Growing up my family made sure with a two bedroom house, 4kids. They built a master in the basement. It was a hundred year old tiny home, small, but perfect. My siblings and I shared.

    Think about what you truly need before making a decision. I have this feeling you’re going to stay and have some fun renovating.

    1. Emily says: Reply

      I am so sorry you are feeling trapped in your townhouse Tamara. I assumed the hardest part of getting a new house would be selling it, but apparently in a lot of areas that is now the easy part, finding and getting the new house is difficult.

      That is a very good point your bring up about kids not needing their own room and being sure to focus on what we do have. We are so fortunate to have what we do have and anything else is the icing on top!

      The idea or renovating in somewhat is becoming very appealing to me, especially when I was looking at pictures to share on this post. The history and memories in this home are so special to us. Thanks so much for your thoughtful words and opinion!

  3. I honestly think your best bet would be to move. We moved from a smaller home just two years ago. We live in a small town too and the inventory of homes isn’t very large. We actually picked a neighborhood in a different school district that I hadn’t previously considered, mainly because they had massive historic homes. I really wanted a large house that we could grow into and I am so glad I made this choice. We will actually have to move out of the house when all our kids are grown and gone because it will be way too big for my husband and I! I think if you just wanted a bigger kitchen, or a larger bedroom, then a remodel would be the way to go, but with three growing kids, I think you are really going to want a lot of space and the remodel may end up costing more than buying a new home!

    1. Emily says: Reply

      Really good point, and that is awesome you found a large home for your family! We went back and forth and considered for a while moving into a different town and school district with more options. But my kids are so established here and it is a wonderful town. For better or worse this is the town we will remain in, as of what home we will live in is still up for decision!

  4. Your house has so much history I love hearing stories like yours. I can tell you from experience building a home can get expensive and causing a lot of frustration. Personally, if it was me and I loved my current home and location I would just build the upstairs. You already put so much into your home and I think building the upstairs it could be your forever home. But you have to ask yourself is this where you want to stay and raise your kids? I hate my current home and my family is miserable we want to move. Does the house make up happy? Mine doesn’t make me happy! I can’t wait to hear what your family decides to do!!

    1. Emily says: Reply

      Thanks so much Kim for your insight! I am sorry you and your family do not like your home, that is such a difficult situation to be in. We adore our area, neighbors and town. The community is perfect and we found ourselves wanting to find the same thing somewhere else or even buying a tow story down the street. That is when the discussion of just renovating this home came up.

      We are happy here, and lucky to even be in the position to be considering what else we will do. Lots of thinking for us.

  5. Hi Emily….After reading what you have written I would vote for building a second floor. My husband and I just built a new home and I can’t tell you all the problems and expense that was involved. If we had to do over we would of stayed where we were and just redone some things to home. Our main issue was not our home but our location. So if you love you location, and the home, just not the size, I think adding on would be your best option. Just my opinion. Good Luck!

    1. Emily says: Reply

      This is all so good to know! I know a few people that have built their own home and it is split with people so happy with their choice or regretting all of the time and money. I am sorry your experience was not what you had hoped for.

      We love our location, and finding some way to renovate or add some space is looking more and more appealing!

  6. We are in our first house, and I know that we will face this same decision in a few years time as more children are added (but for me, I would prefer to build from scratch). As far as adding a second story – you should look at it from the point of view of the neighbourhood, would it make your house stand-out (too large, in a bad way). If so, then it might be hard to resell (even in like 25+ years); but if other houses have similar additions or are large as well, than it might make sense. I would continue to look at houses that come up on the market and give yourself a deadline (say 6 months or more) and if you don’t find any that you truly love, then I would either build or remodel. At the same time, you can talk to architects/designers to see what can be done realistically with your house and how it would look.

    1. Emily says: Reply

      This is a really good thing to consider Nicole, thanks for pointing that out! We live in a new-ish neighborhood where all of the homes were built between 10-15 years ago. The homes range from our square footage up to 4,000 square feet so our home would fit in with the larger two stories. Which is really nice, I would not want to have the only large home on the block.

      I like your idea of keeping an open mind and waiting to see what comes on the market. We are still not in peak selling season here in Wisconsin so more homes could come on the market that make us fall in love with. Thanks for your opinions and good ideas!

  7. Jenny says: Reply

    We did huge renovations on our house when we bought it – but that was before kids. And it’s a lot of work. We’re currently hunting for a larger house (3 kids in 1700 sq ft) and extensive renovations are out of the question. It’s just so much work with kids!

    1. Emily says: Reply

      Jenny, this is what worried me about doing extensive renovations! We can go away for a week or two for the major upstairs addition of putting the roof and walls on. But other than that we would be living in major construction. I have three kids also, 8, 6 and 5 years old. They are not tiny but still a ton of work and this much upheaval in their lives would be chaos.

      I hope your house hunt is going well!

  8. shannon says: Reply

    Love this! You have a beautiful home and I love all the great ideas you share!

    1. Emily says: Reply

      Thank you so much!

  9. Erin says: Reply

    What a lovely home and family you have built! Thank you for sharing your life!

    1. Erin says: Reply

      I am hysterical. The “professional adult” statement is so funny! I feel this way all the time. It sounds like you love everything about your home except you need more space. Maybe call in the big guns and see what would really be involved in adding the second floor before making any decisions.
      What I will say is that every time I have been too afraid to make a decision because I couldn’t see the outcome the decisions always worked out – even if it was in a way I hadn’t expected. I wish you the best. Trust your gut!

      1. Emily says: Reply

        Love what you said! The times I have been afraid of the work involved was always when the work was sooo worth it. Thanks for the advice and I am happy to hear another adult feels like they need a professional adult 🙂

  10. You have a beautiful house and love the way you have added your personal touch to it.

    1. Emily says: Reply

      Thanks!

  11. maria says: Reply

    Emily,

    I have played the real estate game for years starting since our kids were very small. We did quite well going from a starter home to a huge home. But the mistake we made was going into a huge home. When the kids went off to college and we wanted to down size I had a hard time selling the house. So the lesson learned large is not always best!.
    Maria

    1. Emily says: Reply

      This is really interesting to hear, thanks Maria for pointing out the downside of having a larger homes.

  12. Wow, that is a big decision especially since your current home has sentimental value. If it were me, I would probably move. Needing a bigger kitchen is a must with 3 growing kids.

    1. Emily says: Reply

      Ugh, the big kitchen is one of the biggest pulls for me. I want a place we can gather as a family. Right now we have to kick the kids out otherwise we literally trip over them.

  13. I did a major rehab on the home we are living in now. We gutted it (it was condemned) and we rebuilt it from the inside out (over $150,000 in renos).

    I strongly recommend you get some basic training in project management. Or at least buy a really good book on the subject such as this one: http://www.amazon.ca/Renovation-4th-Completely-Revised-Updated-ebook/dp/B00LFAQGJI?ie=UTF8&btkr=1&redirect=true&ref_=dp-kindle-redirect There are 1000’s of details and you should not start without a carefully constructed project plan. May the force be with you.

    1. Emily says: Reply

      Thanks for this advice! Your renovation sounds massive! If we were tog o big and add a second story or any addition we will be hiring an architect and contractor to do the job right. I love to do things DIY but I know I have my limits 🙂

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