Embarking on a large-scale home update

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TomatoTomahto
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Embarking on a large-scale home update

Post by TomatoTomahto » Sun Sep 16, 2018 10:37 am

Before I begin, please don’t turn this thread into a class warfare thread, accusing me of humble bragging, being greedy with the world’s limited resources, being spoiled, or whatever. If that’s what you think, please make a mental note that TomatoTomahto is a _________, and go about your business. I thank you in advance for your cooperation.

We recently purchased a home which has property that is glorious; it is why we bought the house, which is much larger than we need. The house itself has great bones, with a very comfortable living area/kitchen and master bedroom, but the kids/guest bedrooms downstairs could use a serious updating. Additionally, we are looking into replacing the HVAC with a geothermal installation, a re-roofing of the deck with a new rubber roof and cement tiles, and various other improvements (e.g., Tesla Powerwall when they release a 400A gateway; the current limit (ha! wordplay) is 200A) and repairs.

Our goal is to make the house comfortable now and hopefully for us as our physical abilities decline. Additionally, we sometimes have guests with physical limitations. As part of the update, we will add insulation whenever we have walls open, as the overall intention is to attain Zero Carbon utilization. We are not looking to save money in the short term but hope that the house will require less maintenance in future years.

The ground floor includes 3 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms (one on-suite, and one with a sauna), a laundry room, a media room, and a half kitchen (fridge, sink, dishwasher). There is a lot of storage on the outside wall, which we will update with different wood, but functionally it is in great condition. I already upgraded the media room on an emergency basis :D .

While we think of the rooms as two kids’ rooms and a guest room, in truth they will be used as 3 guest rooms, as our kids are in college or recent graduates (living elsewhere). They will, of course, have dibs on their rooms, but it is expected that the rooms will be used freely when we have guests. Each of the bedrooms has ugly carpeting that we would like to replace with wood (or wood-appearing) floors. 2 of the bedrooms have built-ins that were appropriate for younger kids (built-in desks, built-in bedside storage, etc.), but we prefer a more free form space.

So, some questions I have:
- Do you think that there are economies of scale in doing all 3 bathrooms at the same time?
- Do you think that there are economies of scale of doing a bedroom and its bathroom at the same time?
- Do you think we should just do the whole thing, soup to nuts, at the same time? Perhaps coordinate it with our geothermal project, picking a time when nobody but us is in the house?
- Do you think we should knock off an area at a time, in order to minimize the turbulence?
- There are two bathtubs currently. We don’t take baths. Should we leave one, just for whatever? Our preference is for roomy walk-in showers, probably with a seat. Any experience with shower heads on a wall bar?
- I know it’s extravagant, but we are thinking of putting in 3 Toto Washlet toilets (you know, the kind that do everything except wish you a pleasant afternoon). Any gotchas (aside from price)?
- How much should we rely on a designer? Architect? General contractor? In our previous house, we had a general contractor that we trusted. I have an electrician, plumber, handyman, etc. that I trust, but not a general contractor.
- What am I missing?
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staythecourse
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Re: Embarking on a large-scale home update

Post by staythecourse » Sun Sep 16, 2018 10:46 am

The main issue you have not discussed that will basically answer all your questions of timing the project is do you have the money to do it all now? To answer that question you will have to get it sourced out. To do that it would be very time consuming and likely would still miss a lot of important stuff doing each trade separately. So my answer is get a quote from 3-5 GC to see what the total cost would, the breakdown of all different projects, and ask him/ her how the pricing would be affected by piecemeal approach.

Good luck.

P.s. Nothing wrong with being extravagant with your money as long as long as you have figured out all your other finances which I am thinking you have. Money is meant to be spent on things you and your family would enjoy.

p.s.s. I am assuming you have discussed the long term housing plan? Do you plan on retiring there? I believe you have a few kids so are you sure you won't be moving closer to them in the next decade if they start their families?
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abner kravitz
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Re: Embarking on a large-scale home update

Post by abner kravitz » Sun Sep 16, 2018 10:51 am

Keep a bathtub. You never know.

Dottie57
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Re: Embarking on a large-scale home update

Post by Dottie57 » Sun Sep 16, 2018 11:19 am

I would do it in phases. Don’t lose all of your bathrooms at once. Are you going to live there through the renovations?

I think a kitchen is the heart of the home. If that s renovated, have a plan for how you will eat.

Bathroom - leave 1 tub.

Your plans sound great.

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TomatoTomahto
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Re: Embarking on a large-scale home update

Post by TomatoTomahto » Sun Sep 16, 2018 11:28 am

staythecourse wrote:
Sun Sep 16, 2018 10:46 am
The main issue you have not discussed that will basically answer all your questions of timing the project is do you have the money to do it all now? To answer that question you will have to get it sourced out. To do that it would be very time consuming and likely would still miss a lot of important stuff doing each trade separately. So my answer is get a quote from 3-5 GC to see what the total cost would, the breakdown of all different projects, and ask him/ her how the pricing would be affected by piecemeal approach.

Good luck.

P.s. Nothing wrong with being extravagant with your money as long as long as you have figured out all your other finances which I am thinking you have. Money is meant to be spent on things you and your family would enjoy.

p.s.s. I am assuming you have discussed the long term housing plan? Do you plan on retiring there? I believe you have a few kids so are you sure you won't be moving closer to them in the next decade if they start their families?
We should be closing on our old house in 2 months. That house had no mortgage, so we will have enough money on hand. We have saved and invested over the years; we are not robbing Peter to pay Paul.

We expect to retire here, at least until it is time to downsize. The house is on three floors, and there is no easy way to put in an elevator, so the time might come where it’s too much for us.

Our kids are still nearby. They are as likely to move overseas as anywhere else, so living near a good airport (Boston, for us) is probably as practical as anything else.
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TomatoTomahto
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Re: Embarking on a large-scale home update

Post by TomatoTomahto » Sun Sep 16, 2018 11:37 am

Dottie57 wrote:
Sun Sep 16, 2018 11:19 am
I would do it in phases. Don’t lose all of your bathrooms at once. Are you going to live there through the renovations?
I think a kitchen is the heart of the home. If that s renovated, have a plan for how you will eat.
Bathroom - leave 1 tub.
Your plans sound great.
We would still have the master bath (3rd floor), so we would be fine as long as we have no guests; they’d be welcome to use our bathroom, but it would probably feel awkward. There are other bathrooms in seasonal buildings if we do the job during warm months.

We could live elsewhere during the renovations, but we have 4 pets, so it would be a logistical nightmare.

The kitchen downstairs was more a bar than a kitchen. We have no plans of redoing the “real” kitchen, other than replacing appliances as they wear out.
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fogalog
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Re: Embarking on a large-scale home update

Post by fogalog » Sun Sep 16, 2018 11:39 am

TomatoTomahto wrote:
Sun Sep 16, 2018 10:37 am
We recently purchased a home which has property that is glorious; it is why we bought the house, which is much larger than we need. The house itself has great bones, with a very comfortable living area/kitchen and master bedroom, but the kids/guest bedrooms downstairs could use a serious updating. Additionally, we are looking into replacing the HVAC with a geothermal installation, a re-roofing of the deck with a new rubber roof and cement tiles, and various other improvements (e.g., Tesla Powerwall when they release a 400A gateway; the current limit (ha! wordplay) is 200A) and repairs.
I did exactly this ~10 years ago. To answer your specific questions:
TomatoTomahto wrote:
Sun Sep 16, 2018 10:37 am
- Do you think that there are economies of scale in doing all 3 bathrooms at the same time?
- Do you think that there are economies of scale of doing a bedroom and its bathroom at the same time?
- Do you think we should just do the whole thing, soup to nuts, at the same time? Perhaps coordinate it with our geothermal project, picking a time when nobody but us is in the house?
Definitely, yes, on economies of scale. You will need a plumber, electrician, tiler, glass, etc. Better to get them all at once, however... it really depends on whether you expect to live in the house while the work is progressing? It is hard to live in a house without a bathroom or kitchen and yes, that will be the case if you have each sub in to do all their respective work once to save costs. It also depends on whether this is largely cosmetic - just replace old with new - or whether you are moving stuff around (move toilet to different location, make a space bigger, etc). That makes a big difference.

Regarding the Tesla powerwall: you can easily wire for it now and add it later. I did that for solar (still not added).

We chose to move out and did everything all at once but we had young kids. I know people who have done it piecemeal and were happy (no rent to pay).

The other major difference is location. Right now in the SF Bay Area, construction costs are at an all-time high, largely due to the fires to the north over the last couple of years.
TomatoTomahto wrote:
Sun Sep 16, 2018 10:37 am
- How much should we rely on a designer? Architect? General contractor? In our previous house, we had a general contractor that we trusted. I have an electrician, plumber, handyman, etc. that I trust, but not a general contractor.
I used an excellent architect team and I'm really glad I did. It is worth the money because a good architect will help you understand how to fit a home to your changing needs (versus counting bedrooms and bathrooms). I'd spend some time interviewing and looking at references. I did not use a GC - the architect and I did it between us (mostly them) - but your architect can likely recommend a GC.

Good luck!

delamer
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Re: Embarking on a large-scale home update

Post by delamer » Sun Sep 16, 2018 11:44 am

Having been through a major renovation and a minor renovation, I recommend getting as much done in one fell swoop as possible.

Having other people in your house is very disruptive, especially if any of the residents will be in the house most of the day (that is, not out at work). Also, like with any business, bigger contracts get more priority and attention.

The geothermal stuff is a big deal. You don’t know to what extent that will require interior changes. I’d start with getting more details there.

I wouldn’t do that much work without a general contractor/supervisor (and we just didn’t have any relevant skills). There is coordination between trades, ordering of supplies, and issues that come up (a friend ended up having to do $60,000 of mold remediation once some walls were torn out). Let the contractor worry about what do about the bathroom tile layer who showed up on time only to find the plumber wasn’t finished yet

My real estate agent friend says to keep at least one bathtub in the house, for resale purposes.

Good luck.

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Re: Embarking on a large-scale home update

Post by RadAudit » Sun Sep 16, 2018 11:54 am

Best wishes!

We're doing a one fell swoop update of our home for the remainder of our retirement. Been going on for more than a year. Quicker is probably better.
FI is the best revenge. LBYM. Invest the rest. Stay the course. - PS: The calvary isn't coming, kids. You are on your own.

staythecourse
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Re: Embarking on a large-scale home update

Post by staythecourse » Sun Sep 16, 2018 12:36 pm

TomatoTomahto wrote:
Sun Sep 16, 2018 11:28 am
staythecourse wrote:
Sun Sep 16, 2018 10:46 am
The main issue you have not discussed that will basically answer all your questions of timing the project is do you have the money to do it all now? To answer that question you will have to get it sourced out. To do that it would be very time consuming and likely would still miss a lot of important stuff doing each trade separately. So my answer is get a quote from 3-5 GC to see what the total cost would, the breakdown of all different projects, and ask him/ her how the pricing would be affected by piecemeal approach.

Good luck.

P.s. Nothing wrong with being extravagant with your money as long as long as you have figured out all your other finances which I am thinking you have. Money is meant to be spent on things you and your family would enjoy.

p.s.s. I am assuming you have discussed the long term housing plan? Do you plan on retiring there? I believe you have a few kids so are you sure you won't be moving closer to them in the next decade if they start their families?
We should be closing on our old house in 2 months. That house had no mortgage, so we will have enough money on hand. We have saved and invested over the years; we are not robbing Peter to pay Paul.

We expect to retire here, at least until it is time to downsize. The house is on three floors, and there is no easy way to put in an elevator, so the time might come where it’s too much for us.

Our kids are still nearby. They are as likely to move overseas as anywhere else, so living near a good airport (Boston, for us) is probably as practical as anything else.
Sounds great. Go for it. There is not point having money just to see the number going up without enjoying it.

Good luck.
"The stock market [fluctuation], therefore, is noise. A giant distraction from the business of investing.” | -Jack Bogle

SoAnyway
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Re: Embarking on a large-scale home update

Post by SoAnyway » Sun Sep 16, 2018 1:26 pm

Based on the description of your home layout, it sounds like you and your wife have everything you need on the upper two floors ("main" kitchen, living area, full bath, etc.) to live there while all of the renovation work is going on down on the ground floor. So the level of disruption will be lower, although as you know it'll be noisy, you'll have strangers coming in and out, etc. You and your wife will need to assess how much that will bother you. On to your questions:

- Do you think that there are economies of scale in doing all 3 bathrooms at the same time?
- Do you think that there are economies of scale of doing a bedroom and its bathroom at the same time?
Definitely to both.
- Do you think we should just do the whole thing, soup to nuts, at the same time? Perhaps coordinate it with our geothermal project, picking a time when nobody but us is in the house? Since it sounds like the finance piece of doing so is workable, this is how I'd do it but I'm a "rip off the bandaid" type.
- Do you think we should knock off an area at a time, in order to minimize the turbulence? See answer above. Also, doing it one area at a time might minimize turbulence during any given short-term period, but might lengthen the overall time you're dealing with any renovation-related turbulence of any kind in your home - and potentially increase overall cost of the project.
- There are two bathtubs currently. We don’t take baths. Should we leave one, just for whatever? Definitely leave at least one for resale value. Edit: Also some of your houseguests might prefer bath vs. shower.
Our preference is for roomy walk-in showers, probably with a seat. Any experience with shower heads on a wall bar? Nope, sorry.
- I know it’s extravagant, but we are thinking of putting in 3 Toto Washlet toilets (you know, the kind that do everything except wish you a pleasant afternoon). Any gotchas (aside from price)? Those things are great! Only thing I'd consider: If you don't already have them in your other bathroom(s), you might be looking at another project down the road to get them installed there, after some period of time post-renovation of living in your home and traipsing up-and-down the stairs to go use the "comfy toilet". ; ) Also, to get them installed I think you have to have a three-prong GFCI grounded outlet near (ideally right behind) the toilet. That's a relatively uncommon placement in a lot of American bathrooms, and also on a ground floor (walk-out?), building codes might require it to be placed higher than you'd otherwise want it, but your contractors should be able to figure it all out.
- How much should we rely on a designer? Architect? General contractor? In our previous house, we had a general contractor that we trusted. I have an electrician, plumber, handyman, etc. that I trust, but not a general contractor. Agree with fogalong and delamer; this is a major undertaking, esp. if you're combining it with the geothermal stuff.
- What am I missing? Not sure how big of a hurry you're in, but construction costs can vary a lot based on how the economy's doing, and the Boston area's booming, as you know. One anecdote: A friend north of Boston looked into putting an addition on his house a couple years ago, but tabled it for personal reasons. He looked into it again earlier this summer and the cost was nearly double what it was 2 years ago. (He was told the firms just have more projects than they can handle.) He said he'll look into again at the next downturn if his family's still living there then.
[/quote]
TomatoTomahto wrote:
Sun Sep 16, 2018 10:37 am
Before I begin, please don’t turn this thread into a class warfare thread, accusing me of humble bragging, being greedy with the world’s limited resources, being spoiled, or whatever. If that’s what you think, please make a mental note that TomatoTomahto is a _________, and go about your business. I thank you in advance for your cooperation.
^^This is priceless. A similar intro note ought to preface every post that's in danger of going that direction. :happy
Last edited by SoAnyway on Sun Sep 16, 2018 1:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Sasquatch
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Re: Embarking on a large-scale home update

Post by Sasquatch » Sun Sep 16, 2018 1:27 pm

We moved in with family for 6 months and completely gutted the house we were renovating. It was worth it to do it all at once.

a2_alice
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Re: Embarking on a large-scale home update

Post by a2_alice » Sun Sep 16, 2018 1:44 pm

I can only comment with experience on 2 things:

1. Keep a bathtub. It seems like you’re mainly concerned about older guests, but most little kids only want to take baths. Your kids are out of the house already and you plan to live there for a long time, so perhaps grandkids will be in the picture while you’re still living there. There’s also the possibility that someone in the house might have a medical need to take a bath. My mother began taking epsom salt baths at ~65 for arthritis. I also know another adult who has to take saltwater baths for eczema.

2. We’re in the middle of a total home renovation (bought a serious fixer upper at a great price for the location). If you have the time and inclination, you can save a lot of money on hardware/fixtures by not shopping all in one place. For example, we got 2 Toto toilets for $230 each (retail was over $400) by price shopping it. Our contractor gets discounts but it’s not always the cheapest. Almost everything we’ve bought for the house has been on sale somewhere.

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TomatoTomahto
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Re: Embarking on a large-scale home update

Post by TomatoTomahto » Sun Sep 16, 2018 1:49 pm

I know it’s extravagant, but we are thinking of putting in 3 Toto Washlet toilets (you know, the kind that do everything except wish you a pleasant afternoon). Any gotchas (aside from price)? Those things are great! Only thing I'd consider: If you don't already have them in your other bathroom(s), you might be looking at another project down the road to get them installed there, after some period of time post-renovation of living in your home and traipsing up-and-down the stairs to go use the "comfy toilet". ; ) Also, to get them installed I think you have to have a three-prong GFCI grounded outlet near (ideally right behind) the toilet. That's a relatively uncommon placement in a lot of American bathrooms, and also on a ground floor (walk-out?), building codes might require it to be placed higher than you'd otherwise want it, but your contractors should be able to figure it all out.
There are two other bathrooms in the main house. We plan on installing a Toto in the master bath, but probably not in the first floor powder room.
I never know what to call our different floors:
Lowest level is a walk out on the backside of the house, but is underground on the front.
Then there’s the common area (main kitchen, living, dining, den, etc) which can be accessed from the back or front.
And finally, our master bedroom and office on the top floor, which has no outdoor access other than a balcony.
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TomatoTomahto
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Re: Embarking on a large-scale home update

Post by TomatoTomahto » Sun Sep 16, 2018 1:50 pm

a2_alice wrote:
Sun Sep 16, 2018 1:44 pm
I can only comment with experience on 2 things:

1. Keep a bathtub. It seems like you’re mainly concerned about older guests, but most little kids only want to take baths. Your kids are out of the house already and you plan to live there for a long time, so perhaps grandkids will be in the picture while you’re still living there. There’s also the possibility that someone in the house might have a medical need to take a bath. My mother began taking epsom salt baths at ~65 for arthritis. I also know another adult who has to take saltwater baths for eczema.

2. We’re in the middle of a total home renovation (bought a serious fixer upper at a great price for the location). If you have the time and inclination, you can save a lot of money on hardware/fixtures by not shopping all in one place. For example, we got 2 Toto toilets for $230 each (retail was over $400) by price shopping it. Our contractor gets discounts but it’s not always the cheapest. Almost everything we’ve bought for the house has been on sale somewhere.
2 good points. Thanks.
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Cash
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Re: Embarking on a large-scale home update

Post by Cash » Sun Sep 16, 2018 1:51 pm

We completed a large-scale home renovation last year. Initially, we were going to do things in phases while living in the house, but everyone recommended against that. Then our dog got sick, so my wife ended any discussion of living through the renovation. So we rented a condo for a year. In retrospect, I am glad we did and that we did everything at one time. Decisions regarding one room inevitably led to decisions about another room. For instance, "If we install wood here, we will eventually want it there, so we should probably do it all at the same time for economies of scale and to make sure the color is uniform." Or, "Since we are adding a bathroom and will have to move some plumbing, we might as well update the plumbing in the other bathrooms and add the recirculating hot water system."

So just do it all at once and be done with it.

Also, Toto washlets are the best devices ever :). Even my skeptical wife likes the heated seat. We should have put them in all of the bathrooms.

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Re: Embarking on a large-scale home update

Post by mouses » Sun Sep 16, 2018 1:52 pm

I'll have to come back later and read the whole thread, but this sounds great.

I am a little nervous about your not having a known good general contractor.

At least one bathtub. Many people including me would not buy a house without a bathtub.

I am in the middle of a "small" project and I am going crazy. So I can't begin to address the parts or all at once thing. However, the workmen for the contractor I have do not speak English so that makes things much more difficult. I had no idea that this would be the case and no, I have no idea if they are legal or not. Too much has been done for me to make an issue of this now, but language is certainly a question I would ask if I ever do another project.

ResearchMed
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Re: Embarking on a large-scale home update

Post by ResearchMed » Sun Sep 16, 2018 1:56 pm

Just a few thoughts.

You seem to be able to live quite normally ("given the circumstances" :twisted: ) during renovation on a separate level, so yes, take advantage of the many economies of scale (including buying things like 3 Toto's and all else, at a time, etc.) and getting it "done" and over with. It will total much less time than starting and stopping 3 separate efforts.

About the "showerheads on a wall bar"... In our master bath, we made it the size of a tub, with 3 shower heads. The space was set up so the wide side opened into the bathroom, and the narrow ends were adjacent to the bedroom, and opposite that, an *outside wall of a poorly insulated old house".
So we had a regular stationary showerhead on the inside wall, a large rainshower head for DH in the ceiling, midway, next to the light/fan, and then along the outer wall, a shower head that was in a holder that could slide up and down the vertical rod and used as a "regular" showerhead, or could be removed and used as a hand-held.
The controls for the water were near the end of the solid wide wall, a few inches from the outside wall. No plumbing was in or adjacent to that wall, which could risk freezing in cold winter weather.
We LOVE the set up. We also have two separate thermostats, one controlling the inside wall showerhead, and the other controlling the rainshower and the removable showerhead. That's nice, too!

We didn't get a Toto or similar seat, but we did have that electrical outlet installed where it would be needed, should we decide to add either.
After our trip to Japan last year, we'll be getting one. We were never quite sure how they'd be, and one thing is "they'll be better with controls in English" :D .

BTW, you have the money, so if there are a few "extras" you want, if they don't blow the budget totally out of the water, get it done. It will be impossible or VERY expensive to make most changes/additions later.
We "cheaped out" and only put a radiant floor in one of the upstairs bathrooms. Because it's just the "two of us" here, the "guest bathroom", about 3 steps outside the master BR door, has been in regular use, as though we had a MBR with two baths.
It was a SILLY thing to omit.
We went upscale a bit in the stone work, and still love the choices. > 10 years later.

We call our similar lower level the "Garden Level" or "Garden Guest Suite".
It's got an interior stairway to a huge media/family room (and off to the other, smaller side is laundry and behind that the utility area), and then a full BR with huge wall of windows, and the to the side (sort of opposite the laundry, a full kitchen (with electric stove removed for inspection/zoning, but place held), and a 3/4 bath. Kitchen there has walk-out entrance.

RM
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prairieman
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Re: Embarking on a large-scale home update

Post by prairieman » Sun Sep 16, 2018 2:05 pm

I agree all-at-once is the best, as much as possible with a single contractor. We did this once and, although it was a major inconvenience, the hardest part was getting three honest itemized bids.
I felt that some contractors smelled profit and high-balled us. We ultimately found only one guy with a good reputation who provided a thorough, itemized bid and his quote came in 33% less than the next lowest bid. I concluded he was the only one who really wanted the job. The highest bid was 125% higher and just listed the rooms that would be remodeled withought any detail.
A few contractors wanted us to pay design fees up front, even though we knew what we wanted. I could understand the reasoning, but thought that removed their incentive to write a low bid, and turned them down.
Good luck!

student
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Re: Embarking on a large-scale home update

Post by student » Sun Sep 16, 2018 2:18 pm

Although I have never done a remodeling, I expect it to be stressful. So if money is not an issue, I would say do everything at one go.

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Re: Embarking on a large-scale home update

Post by TomatoTomahto » Sun Sep 16, 2018 2:19 pm

ResearchMed wrote:After our trip to Japan last year, we'll be getting one. We were never quite sure how they'd be, and one thing is "they'll be better with controls in English" :D .
We had never considered them anything but a curiosity, until my wife and son took a trip to Japan. Now, they apparently are a “must have.” :D

I wonder if guests would consider it rude to give them a “cheat sheet” with instructions. :D
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Re: Embarking on a large-scale home update

Post by TomatoTomahto » Sun Sep 16, 2018 2:20 pm

student wrote:
Sun Sep 16, 2018 2:18 pm
Although I have never done a remodeling, I expect it to be stressful. So if money is not an issue, I would say do everything at one go.
That seems to be the consensus choice.
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ResearchMed
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Re: Embarking on a large-scale home update

Post by ResearchMed » Sun Sep 16, 2018 2:42 pm

TomatoTomahto wrote:
Sun Sep 16, 2018 2:20 pm
student wrote:
Sun Sep 16, 2018 2:18 pm
Although I have never done a remodeling, I expect it to be stressful. So if money is not an issue, I would say do everything at one go.
That seems to be the consensus choice.
Yes, but: Rule of thumb: Figure out the cost, and then figure out the time if everything that might go wrong does...
... and then double that! :shock:

Then you won't be surprised or disappointed.
We've found time to be more of an issue, whereas with care and appropriate planning, cost can be kept under control,
--->> assuming you don't find unexpected deficiencies such as rotten support beams, or pooling water that wasn't seen/known, etc.
We were warned when ripping out ancient plumbing that there was "NO GUARANTEE" what they'd find "down line", especially in one wall where all water and drains met and went down through main floor to the Garden Level, and from there horizontally (under cemented/tiled floor) to the main sewer line.
We just held our breath for a while... but thank goodness, all was well.

RM
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HereToLearn
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Re: Embarking on a large-scale home update

Post by HereToLearn » Sun Sep 16, 2018 3:30 pm

I would do as much as you possibly can at one time. It has been years since I lived through major renovations, but there will be a time when the water is shut off, among other inconveniences. Also, there must be some savings in having the tradespeople on site to complete all plumbing, then plumbing inspection, etc.

I would retain one bathtub for those visiting grandchildren. I would also expand one bathroom (if you can) to build a completely barrier-free, extra large shower. Have the walls reinforced so that a bench can be added later. The shower will not need to look handicap accessible, but can be used as such should the time arise. You may end up living in one of those bedrooms at some point. (Recovery from knee or hip surgery.)

Where is the washer/dryer? Do you have space to add a stackable while you have the walls open? They are inexpensive but require plumbing and electric, so while you are at it....

Can you configure the bathrooms to all be en suite or is there a reason not to? Are all three full bathrooms?

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unclescrooge
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Re: Embarking on a large-scale home update

Post by unclescrooge » Sun Sep 16, 2018 4:37 pm

a2_alice wrote:
Sun Sep 16, 2018 1:44 pm
I can only comment with experience on 2 things:

1. Keep a bathtub. It seems like you’re mainly concerned about older guests, but most little kids only want to take baths. Your kids are out of the house already and you plan to live there for a long time, so perhaps grandkids will be in the picture while you’re still living there. There’s also the possibility that someone in the house might have a medical need to take a bath. My mother began taking epsom salt baths at ~65 for arthritis. I also know another adult who has to take saltwater baths for eczema.
+1 on the kids tub. Also get a shallower tub that's easier for kids to get and out of. My in-laws have whirl pool spa tubs and they're super awkward to get toddlers in and out of.

Wolkenspiel
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Re: Embarking on a large-scale home update

Post by Wolkenspiel » Sun Sep 16, 2018 4:43 pm

We just completed a fairly major renovation (added garage, master suite, new driveway, renovated 3 old bathrooms, added insulation etc). Unless you like living in a construction zone, and enjoy random people showing up in your house at random times (or not show up after all, which is even worse), you want to do as much in one go as can pay for. Key elements for us were an architect that provided excellent plans and a pretty responsive and reliable general contractor (and resisting scope creep!) For most discussions with contractors, we just pointed to the plans and said, let's just do what the plan says, rather than cut corners.

In the end it turned out that the cost estimate was very close (we agreed to a fixed price to completion with the general contractor) - but the time to completion was off by a factor of ~two. Some sub-contractors flaked out, weather didn't play along, windows took twice as long to arrive as promised etc etc.

Also, Toto washlets are a great!

ResearchMed
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Re: Embarking on a large-scale home update

Post by ResearchMed » Sun Sep 16, 2018 4:48 pm

unclescrooge wrote:
Sun Sep 16, 2018 4:37 pm
a2_alice wrote:
Sun Sep 16, 2018 1:44 pm
I can only comment with experience on 2 things:

1. Keep a bathtub. It seems like you’re mainly concerned about older guests, but most little kids only want to take baths. Your kids are out of the house already and you plan to live there for a long time, so perhaps grandkids will be in the picture while you’re still living there. There’s also the possibility that someone in the house might have a medical need to take a bath. My mother began taking epsom salt baths at ~65 for arthritis. I also know another adult who has to take saltwater baths for eczema.
+1 on the kids tub. Also get a shallower tub that's easier for kids to get and out of. My in-laws have whirl pool spa tubs and they're super awkward to get toddlers in and out of.
This was a tricky decision, when we decided to take out the tub in the master, and leave it in the family bathroom, which is just about 3 steps out the MBR door. It's just the two of us, although it's a large family home, in terms of likely future owner.

But I *HATE* those shallow tubs, where one is fortunate if the water actually covers the thighs. Forget about "soaking", unless one is referring to pedicures :annoyed

I had previously had the luxury of renovating and putting in a nice deep tub.

This time, we put in an even deeper tub, and it's wonderful.

We hadn't expected to stay in this house this long, so the decision was less obviously a good one, if we weren't even staying long. However, we love it here so much (in good part due to the "new" bathrooms on the upstairs level), that we're still here, and counting.

The times I renovated for resale, yes, I put in shallower tubs. However, that was partly for economy; many of the fixtures/finishes were "more economical" than I'd have chosen for my own use.

If you are spending a tidy sum, and aren't planning to sell soon, then make sure that you are getting what *you* want.
(We just avoided anything truly idiosyncratic or offensive.)

RM
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