Good (and bad) decisions/tips for home remodel?

Non-investing personal finance issues including insurance, credit, real estate, taxes, employment and legal issues such as trusts and wills
Topic Author
financial.freedom
Posts: 577
Joined: Fri Oct 03, 2014 1:18 am

Good (and bad) decisions/tips for home remodel?

Post by financial.freedom »

We're planning a major home renovation:

1. Making floorplan more usable. We're knocking down walls and combining the kitchen and living room areas into one larger room. Also extending the house into the front yard area, which we don't use much. There's a sideroom (lanai?) that we don't use at all because it's not well insulated, doesn't have AC, and doesn't flow/has a separate door from the living room. So that will be combined as well in an L-shape.

2. Master bedroom and bathroom are small for us, so remodeling to make both bigger.

3. We have a nice view into the backyard/swimming pool area overlooking the city but want to enjoy the view more and have more indoor/outdoor feel by increasing the number and size of windows on the backside of house, and increasing the ceiling height from 9 feet to 14 feet at the back wall (center height increasing from 16 to 22 feet). It will be much higher, and the center of the living room will be vaulted rather than flat across.

4. Backpatio area - we have nice weather most of the year and would like to enjoy it outside more, so will probably need to do landscaping here to bring it up to the same level of the living room floor and make it more of a usable space with seating, maybe firepit etc for winter time.

5. Flooring - changing all of the flooring in the house from dark engineered bamboo and carpet to light hardwood.

Overall, square footage will increase from ~2400 to ~3100. We had an architect meet with the city, draft it up, and next we're meeting with interior design team.

We purchased the house about 5 years ago for 1.5M. Current value is 1.8M. We've looked into buying another home with the type of floorplan we like, but if you can believe it - new homes in our area are hard to find and usually 3M+.

To me, this is not an investment but a consumer expense. We love our neighborhood. Great neighbors surround us who have lived there many years (many 15-20 years or more). We plan to live in the house at least until our kids are through with high school (minimum 12 years), maybe longer.

For retirement portfolio, we're ahead of schedule. I won't go into the details here, you'll just have to take my word for it. I'm selling my share in a business, so I've done the calculations and think we can afford it.

Questions:

1. Since my spouse and I both work full-time we should hire a general contractor, correct? From other posts I'm reading, the consensus is that we wouldn't have the time to deal with all the sub contractors, and a GC will get the job done faster. If that's the case -- how do I know a GC is good? Do I just get 2-3 quotes and call their references from prior projects?

2. Is there anything about the scope of the work above that stands out to you as something that can be improved upon or taken out?

3. How do you determine a good budget and know that the contractors are giving you an appropriate quote? I'm guessing the work could be anywhere from 400-600k maybe more from what I'm reading online?

4. We aren't sure whether to stay in the home during construction or move out. Any tips/experience from others who have been through this? Any other options, such as living in an RV on the property or "tiny home" in the backyard for part of the project?

5. If you've remodeled, were you happy with the end result? Disappointed? Anything you would have done differently?

Thank you in advance, really appreciate any insight.

FF
User avatar
Sandtrap
Posts: 12802
Joined: Sat Nov 26, 2016 6:32 pm
Location: Hawaii No Ka Oi , N. Arizona
Contact:

Re: Good (and bad) decisions/tips for home remodel?

Post by Sandtrap »

Questions:

1. Since my spouse and I both work full-time we should hire a general contractor, correct? From other posts I'm reading, the consensus is that we wouldn't have the time to deal with all the sub contractors, and a GC will get the job done faster. If that's the case -- how do I know a GC is good? Do I just get 2-3 quotes and call their references from prior projects?

2. Is there anything about the scope of the work above that stands out to you as something that can be improved upon or taken out?

3. How do you determine a good budget and know that the contractors are giving you an appropriate quote? I'm guessing the work could be anywhere from 400-600k maybe more from what I'm reading online?

4. We aren't sure whether to stay in the home during construction or move out. Any tips/experience from others who have been through this? Any other options, such as living in an RV on the property or "tiny home" in the backyard for part of the project?

5. If you've remodeled, were you happy with the end result? Disappointed? Anything you would have done differently?

Thank you in advance, really appreciate any insight.

FF
Notes:
1. This is an extensive remodel and addition that includes both cosmetic and structural work.
2. If you don't have familiarity with the construction process and don't want to supervise and oversea the G.C. (which everyone should), then perhaps you might want to have the architect handle project management and oversight.
3. Either way, pay an architect to meet with you as needed and draw up plans and specs and run your permit as needed. Then, put those plans and specs out to reputable licensed G.C.'s in your area. The most reputable ones will be very busy and backlogged.
4. The G.C. that you work with should be able to build entire custom homes in your area. Why? Because you project is extensive.
5. Get bid/proposals from at least 3 G.C.'s "after" you get the finalized plans and specs from the architect and engineers.
6. You can live in the home during construction if you break the project flow up in increments. Save the most intrusive part in one bundle, such as the kitchen/living area, and then seek nearby lodging, maybe vrbo, etc, during that time while also accessing your home as needed. It all depends on what you want to put up with.
7. You will be able to tell the difference between the G.C. "salesman" fast talker/bragger, and the working G.C. that is a straight shooter and has a zero B.S. level, and is professional and no nonsense and proud of his work.
8. Yes. Do verify licensing and insurance. Yes. Do ask for references and addresses of former projects that you can visit and look at from the street (do not intrude on residents). A busy G.C will have other jobs in progress so will give you permission to visit those job sites.
9. The scope of your work is extensive, as I mentioned earlier. It is vital that you get a G.C. that is up to the task and does it all the time.
10. Do not do this project as an "Owner - Builder" and run everything yourself, hire subs, contract for materials delivery, etc, unless you are seasoned in the construction industry, etc, or you will be taken advantage of.
11. When you meet with an architect (do use one), have a list of what you want and prioritize that list into; must haves, maybe gotta haves, and would be nice but not needed, depending on your budget.
12. You dont' have to do the project all at once. You can do the remods on the existing home, then treat the addition as another project, and so forth. That will give you more financial flexibility.
13. Realize that whatever is structural and load bearing is going to cost more than cosmetics and work on walls, etc, that is non load bearing.
14. Realize that when you have to move utilities; HVAC, Electrical, Plumbing lines, it will cost $$$.
15. As far as cost estimates, there's no way to do that unless you had existing plans and pictures, and so forth and a detailed list of what you wanted done, types of materials, fixtures, cosmetics, etc. Also, nature of the site. IE: level lot, logistics, etc.

j
Wiki Bogleheads Wiki: Everything You Need to Know
User avatar
Sandtrap
Posts: 12802
Joined: Sat Nov 26, 2016 6:32 pm
Location: Hawaii No Ka Oi , N. Arizona
Contact:

Re: Good (and bad) decisions/tips for home remodel?

Post by Sandtrap »

financial.freedom wrote: Tue Aug 04, 2020 4:07 pm We're planning a major home renovation:

1. Making floorplan more usable. We're knocking down walls and combining the kitchen and living room areas into one larger room. Also extending the house into the front yard area, which we don't use much. There's a sideroom (lanai?) that we don't use at all because it's not well insulated, doesn't have AC, and doesn't flow/has a separate door from the living room. So that will be combined as well in an L-shape.

2. Master bedroom and bathroom are small for us, so remodeling to make both bigger.

3. We have a nice view into the backyard/swimming pool area overlooking the city but want to enjoy the view more and have more indoor/outdoor feel by increasing the number and size of windows on the backside of house, and increasing the ceiling height from 9 feet to 14 feet at the back wall (center height increasing from 16 to 22 feet). It will be much higher, and the center of the living room will be vaulted rather than flat across.

4. Backpatio area - we have nice weather most of the year and would like to enjoy it outside more, so will probably need to do landscaping here to bring it up to the same level of the living room floor and make it more of a usable space with seating, maybe firepit etc for winter time.

5. Flooring - changing all of the flooring in the house from dark engineered bamboo and carpet to light hardwood.
Notes:
1. removing walls is simple if non load bearing. If load bearing, may require posts and beams which transfer the load below. What's below?
1b. Extending the house as in addition? Moving entire walls out on the same wall line is another whole thing altogether $$$
("Lanai" is used in Hawaii. Interesting you mention "lanai".)
2. Are these wall push outs?
3. Adding windows reframing for new windows. Increasing ceiling height from 9-14 feet is raising the roof? Hmmmm.
3b. Adding a vault to a flat roof? That means extensive roof reframing. Correct?
4. Landscaping. Non issue.
5. Flooring. . . cosmetic. Done last.

I may be visualizing this wrong, not having pictures of your home, but raising a ceiling and adding a vault to a flat ceiling is really tearing into a home. That means opening up the roof (demo) and taking precautions for rain, then reframe, structural mods where needed, then reroof. This can really turn into a "money pit" depending on what is going on.
If this is what I think it is, you're going to have to find a really talented G.C. to get it done in a really nice way and in optimal time. There's some real hacks and "wood butcher" G.C.'s out there. So go with the architect's recommendations for bids.

This is why it's good that you're using an architect and design people.

j :happy
Wiki Bogleheads Wiki: Everything You Need to Know
delamer
Posts: 10908
Joined: Tue Feb 08, 2011 6:13 pm

Re: Good (and bad) decisions/tips for home remodel?

Post by delamer »

I don’t have much expertise in these matters, but isn’t it likely that the very high ceilings will increase utility costs significantly and also make it harder to keep the rooms comfortable temperature-wise?

Or maybe the above depends on the local climate?
WildBill
Posts: 689
Joined: Wed Jun 29, 2016 10:47 pm
Location: San Antonio, Texas

Re: Good (and bad) decisions/tips for home remodel?

Post by WildBill »

financial.freedom wrote: Tue Aug 04, 2020 4:07 pm We're planning a major home renovation:

1. Making floorplan more usable. We're knocking down walls and combining the kitchen and living room areas into one larger room. Also extending the house into the front yard area, which we don't use much. There's a sideroom (lanai?) that we don't use at all because it's not well insulated, doesn't have AC, and doesn't flow/has a separate door from the living room. So that will be combined as well in an L-shape.

If you are removing/replacing structural walls this will be pricey and time consuming

2. Master bedroom and bathroom are small for us, so remodeling to make both bigger.

Ditto


3. We have a nice view into the backyard/swimming pool area overlooking the city but want to enjoy the view more and have more indoor/outdoor feel by increasing the number and size of windows on the backside of house, and increasing the ceiling height from 9 feet to 14 feet at the back wall (center height increasing from 16 to 22 feet). It will be much higher, and the center of the living room will be vaulted rather than flat across.

This will be very time consuming and expensive. I would not do this as it sounds like you need to tear out the roof to do it.

4. Backpatio area - we have nice weather most of the year and would like to enjoy it outside more, so will probably need to do landscaping here to bring it up to the same level of the living room floor and make it more of a usable space with seating, maybe firepit etc for winter time.


5. Flooring - changing all of the flooring in the house from dark engineered bamboo and carpet to light hardwood.

Overall, square footage will increase from ~2400 to ~3100. We had an architect meet with the city, draft it up, and next we're meeting with interior design team.

We purchased the house about 5 years ago for 1.5M. Current value is 1.8M. We've looked into buying another home with the type of floorplan we like, but if you can believe it - new homes in our area are hard to find and usually 3M+.

To me, this is not an investment but a consumer expense. We love our neighborhood. Great neighbors surround us who have lived there many years (many 15-20 years or more). We plan to live in the house at least until our kids are through with high school (minimum 12 years), maybe longer.

For retirement portfolio, we're ahead of schedule. I won't go into the details here, you'll just have to take my word for it. I'm selling my share in a business, so I've done the calculations and think we can afford it.

Questions:

1. Since my spouse and I both work full-time we should hire a general contractor, correct? From other posts I'm reading, the consensus is that we wouldn't have the time to deal with all the sub contractors, and a GC will get the job done faster. If that's the case -- how do I know a GC is good? Do I just get 2-3 quotes and call their references from prior projects?

2. Is there anything about the scope of the work above that stands out to you as something that can be improved upon or taken out?

3. How do you determine a good budget and know that the contractors are giving you an appropriate quote? I'm guessing the work could be anywhere from 400-600k maybe more from what I'm reading online?

4. We aren't sure whether to stay in the home during construction or move out. Any tips/experience from others who have been through this? Any other options, such as living in an RV on the property or "tiny home" in the backyard for part of the project?

5. If you've remodeled, were you happy with the end result? Disappointed? Anything you would have done differently?

Thank you in advance, really appreciate any insight.

FF
"Through chances various, through all vicissitudes, we make our way." Virgil, The Aeneid
carolinaman
Posts: 4504
Joined: Wed Dec 28, 2011 9:56 am
Location: North Carolina

Re: Good (and bad) decisions/tips for home remodel?

Post by carolinaman »

Given the major renovations you are doing, including structural changes, you will need a really good GC. Your architect should be able to recommend some. Interview and get bids from several. I would recommend doing a limited part of your renovation and if you are not satisfied with your GC, you can change GCs after phase 1. Hopefully with proper vetting, that will not happen, but you do not want to be committed to the GC for the entire project and find out early on he is not satisfactory.

IMO, you may be better off building a new home rather than doing this extensive a renovation, even though it might cost more money (it sounds like you can afford it).
rascott
Posts: 2450
Joined: Wed Apr 15, 2015 10:53 am

Re: Good (and bad) decisions/tips for home remodel?

Post by rascott »

This would be a monster project if doing it all at once.... particularly with the roof changes mentioned.

I agree that phases would be ideal, to make sure you are happy with the GC.

You can't beat a great location/ neighborhood. So can be a very worthwhile goal.
Last edited by rascott on Wed Aug 05, 2020 8:32 am, edited 1 time in total.
dbr
Posts: 34869
Joined: Sun Mar 04, 2007 9:50 am

Re: Good (and bad) decisions/tips for home remodel?

Post by dbr »

carolinaman wrote: Wed Aug 05, 2020 8:04 am
IMO, you may be better off building a new home rather than doing this extensive a renovation, even though it might cost more money (it sounds like you can afford it).
I am not expert enough that I should butt in but my thought on reading your list of renovations was also that you might tear down the whole thing and build a new house. You want to change the footprint of the house and the surrounding landscaping. I would guess you are in a location where houses are built on slabs and don't have basements? Is the existing house old enough that you can gain more doing everything new? What would your architect say about that?
Badger97
Posts: 65
Joined: Sun Jul 26, 2020 7:32 pm

Re: Good (and bad) decisions/tips for home remodel?

Post by Badger97 »

financial.freedom wrote: Tue Aug 04, 2020 4:07 pm
Questions:

1. Since my spouse and I both work full-time we should hire a general contractor, correct? From other posts I'm reading, the consensus is that we wouldn't have the time to deal with all the sub contractors, and a GC will get the job done faster. If that's the case -- how do I know a GC is good? Do I just get 2-3 quotes and call their references from prior projects?

2. Is there anything about the scope of the work above that stands out to you as something that can be improved upon or taken out?

3. How do you determine a good budget and know that the contractors are giving you an appropriate quote? I'm guessing the work could be anywhere from 400-600k maybe more from what I'm reading online?

4. We aren't sure whether to stay in the home during construction or move out. Any tips/experience from others who have been through this? Any other options, such as living in an RV on the property or "tiny home" in the backyard for part of the project?

5. If you've remodeled, were you happy with the end result? Disappointed? Anything you would have done differently?

Thank you in advance, really appreciate any insight.

FF
I have not done a remodel that extensive, but have done some decent jobs.

1 - Get a GC. Absolutely. They will not only get it done faster, but likely cheaper in the end.

2 - I would not go 22 foot vaulted ceilings, but that's personal choice. I really hate vaulted ceiling and we are building a new custom home with no vaulted ceilings. 10' or 11' max.

3 - Once the architect has it done, quote it out to several GCs. Cost to build is probably $500 sq ft in your area based on your numbers. So it's CLEARLY going to be $500K+ I would think. When you quote it out to the GCs, ask them what changes they would suggest making. Architects know how to design, GCs know how to build. They aren't always the same. The GC might tell you "I can do this wall the way the architect suggest and it will be $50K, or I can do it this way and you'll get 75% of the same effect and it will be $25K." Or "those windows are non-standard and will cost you 100% more because of the size, handling, and the header I have to put in. If you go with this size, which is 13' instead of 14' (for example) I can save you 50%." Be open to that and have a good conversation with the architect on the feedback.

4 - move out. No way do you want to be around all that.

5 - I have done some remodeling. Happy with the end result but hated the process. A good GC is the most important thing. I had one during a bath remodel that took the subs side in everything. We had to have most of it redone before signing off. He was allowing corners to be cut everywhere, most of which would not be seen after it was all buttoned up. Is your architect helping oversee the project?

Of note, big renovations like that on what is likely an older house is going to uncover LOTS of hidden issues. Just be prepared. Wiring, structure, plumbing, etc. all has to be brought to code when the walls are opened. Expect to find something you didn't expect, and it will cost you money and it is not the GC or architect's fault. It just happens. A simple example during a bathroom remodel is that when they tore down the ceiling they found the second floor rafters were running in such a direction that they couldn't vent the water closet without creating a drop ceiling. Not a big deal, but it was a $1000 cost overrun on a $50K bathroom. 2% just on one thing. There will be more!
pennywise
Posts: 826
Joined: Sat May 31, 2014 6:22 am

Re: Good (and bad) decisions/tips for home remodel?

Post by pennywise »

As has been noted, this is a gut remodel with some structural major changes so you definitely need a solid GC and architect. A few thoughts:

I wouldn't try to live in the house while doing the project at the scope you envision. For one thing and this may seem obvious: to replace the flooring you will literally need to remove every single item that rests on that floor throughout your home--ie, everything in the house! While the results can be more than worth it, from experience it's hard to overstate how much of a nightmare the process is! It's definitely one of the most disruptive remodel projects possible in terms of logistics, and you mentioned you have kids. Not to mention you are tearing down walls and lifting ceilings. It's really impossible to do the shift-stuff-around-in-stages plan on what you are envisioning. For both your and your family's safety and sanity sake, don't do that to yourselves.

If you are installing new windows, it wasn't clear whether you are already planning to replace all your doors and windows with insulated/double pane upgraded versions-but do that. This is a major functional and aesthetic improvement that will serve you well every day in terms of insulation and soundproofing.

Whatever time frame you are given, seriously double it to avoid the anger and frustration of not being back in the house when you expect to be. This is a cliche for a reason; construction will always take longer and cost more than you expect.

That said it wasn't clear what your time frame is for the project.We have just postponed a less structural but major project to replace all our flooring and gut/remodel both bathrooms and our kitchen. Right now there's no way I am comfortable having work crews in the house, and I'm concerned that at some point there is likely to be a shutdown anyway when someone tests positive for COVID (I live near Miami which is an epicenter right now). My contractor, with whom I've worked on several projects and who I trust, agrees with this decision.

Aside from pandemic considerations, although we have ample funds in place for the project the current COVID-and election-related financial outlook is so uncertain that I'm choosing to delay a major non-essential expenditure for awhile, to keep a bit more cash on hand and sleep a bit better at night. We will proceed when the health and fiscal picture clears up.

Good luck with your project. In a very HCOL real estate market, making your current home more comfortable and usable without having to move is a pretty good option :D
dandinsac
Posts: 209
Joined: Sat Jul 30, 2016 8:34 am

Re: Good (and bad) decisions/tips for home remodel?

Post by dandinsac »

We did a kitchen remodel a few years ago. This included everything but the floors - new walls, ceilings, replacing one load bearing wall. I would never have done this without a GC.

We lived in our house while the work was done. The contractor did "doorways" of thick plastic that we walked through for about 5-6 weeks. Most of the time, the workers left our back door open so the house was cold. Our beagles would sometimes walk through the plastic doorways and say hello to the workers. (So, if you have small kids, safety may be a concern.)

We originally set up a small "cooking" area with microwave in a bedroom, but found that to be a pain since we had to go back and forth through our plastic walls to get the food. It also wasn't convenient to the refrigerator in the living room. So I moved the microwave area next to the fridge and it worked out better. We used a lot of paper plates and plastic utensils and mostly ate frozen microwaveable dinners. I washed dishes in a bathroom sink by hand. We also ate out a lot since there was still a lot of dust, especially at first.

One benefit to be onsite was that we could identify issues and make decisions quickly. The project lasted about 4 months, but it did get old living like that.

Good luck!
Carefreeap
Posts: 2978
Joined: Tue Jan 13, 2015 7:36 pm
Location: SF Bay Area

Re: Good (and bad) decisions/tips for home remodel?

Post by Carefreeap »

Sandtrap wrote: Tue Aug 04, 2020 5:25 pm
Questions:

1. Since my spouse and I both work full-time we should hire a general contractor, correct? From other posts I'm reading, the consensus is that we wouldn't have the time to deal with all the sub contractors, and a GC will get the job done faster. If that's the case -- how do I know a GC is good? Do I just get 2-3 quotes and call their references from prior projects?

2. Is there anything about the scope of the work above that stands out to you as something that can be improved upon or taken out?

3. How do you determine a good budget and know that the contractors are giving you an appropriate quote? I'm guessing the work could be anywhere from 400-600k maybe more from what I'm reading online?

4. We aren't sure whether to stay in the home during construction or move out. Any tips/experience from others who have been through this? Any other options, such as living in an RV on the property or "tiny home" in the backyard for part of the project?

5. If you've remodeled, were you happy with the end result? Disappointed? Anything you would have done differently?

Thank you in advance, really appreciate any insight.

FF
Notes:
1. This is an extensive remodel and addition that includes both cosmetic and structural work.
2. If you don't have familiarity with the construction process and don't want to supervise and oversea the G.C. (which everyone should), then perhaps you might want to have the architect handle project management and oversight.
3. Either way, pay an architect to meet with you as needed and draw up plans and specs and run your permit as needed. Then, put those plans and specs out to reputable licensed G.C.'s in your area. The most reputable ones will be very busy and backlogged.
4. The G.C. that you work with should be able to build entire custom homes in your area. Why? Because you project is extensive.
5. Get bid/proposals from at least 3 G.C.'s "after" you get the finalized plans and specs from the architect and engineers.
6. You can live in the home during construction if you break the project flow up in increments. Save the most intrusive part in one bundle, such as the kitchen/living area, and then seek nearby lodging, maybe vrbo, etc, during that time while also accessing your home as needed. It all depends on what you want to put up with.
7. You will be able to tell the difference between the G.C. "salesman" fast talker/bragger, and the working G.C. that is a straight shooter and has a zero B.S. level, and is professional and no nonsense and proud of his work.
8. Yes. Do verify licensing and insurance. Yes. Do ask for references and addresses of former projects that you can visit and look at from the street (do not intrude on residents). A busy G.C will have other jobs in progress so will give you permission to visit those job sites.
9. The scope of your work is extensive, as I mentioned earlier. It is vital that you get a G.C. that is up to the task and does it all the time.
10. Do not do this project as an "Owner - Builder" and run everything yourself, hire subs, contract for materials delivery, etc, unless you are seasoned in the construction industry, etc, or you will be taken advantage of.
11. When you meet with an architect (do use one), have a list of what you want and prioritize that list into; must haves, maybe gotta haves, and would be nice but not needed, depending on your budget.
12. You dont' have to do the project all at once. You can do the remods on the existing home, then treat the addition as another project, and so forth. That will give you more financial flexibility.
13. Realize that whatever is structural and load bearing is going to cost more than cosmetics and work on walls, etc, that is non load bearing.
14. Realize that when you have to move utilities; HVAC, Electrical, Plumbing lines, it will cost $$$.
15. As far as cost estimates, there's no way to do that unless you had existing plans and pictures, and so forth and a detailed list of what you wanted done, types of materials, fixtures, cosmetics, etc. Also, nature of the site. IE: level lot, logistics, etc.

j
+1 So many great points.

I'll add that if the OP is in the SF Bay Area be prepared to find that contractors are VERY busy and are going to quote whatever they want. I just went through an insurance review and my mid-level cost to re-build is $450/sq.ft. Custom/high end are pushing $750/sq.ft.

Get the architectural plans finished and then get quotes from at least three contractors. Don't be surprised if you only get one quote. As Sandtrap says you need to have a contractor who can build a custom house because essentially that's what you're doing.

With respect to item 12 above: Plan on moving out for close to a year. Covid 19 is going to disrupt the project. Plan accordingly. FWIW we have done the serial remodeling; a new project nearly every year since we moved back into the house 8 years ago. We're still married but exhausted.
Every day I can hike is a good day.
quantAndHold
Posts: 5201
Joined: Thu Sep 17, 2015 10:39 pm

Re: Good (and bad) decisions/tips for home remodel?

Post by quantAndHold »

This is a massive, massive remodel. There is no way you want to attempt this without a very good G.C., and no way you want to try to live in the house while it’s happening.

Have you considered just tearing the house down and starting over? You’d probably get closer to exactly what you want, and the price might not be out of line compared to what you’re proposing.

Vaulted ceilings are hard to insulate, heat, and air condition. And 22 feet...are you really sure you want to do that part?
Yes, I’m really that pedantic.
User avatar
Watty
Posts: 21866
Joined: Wed Oct 10, 2007 3:55 pm

Re: Good (and bad) decisions/tips for home remodel?

Post by Watty »

When you are doing the remodel be sure that you make the house reasonably accessible if you need to use a wheelchair some day.

You may need this even before you are older. I know someone that was in a car accident and needed to use a wheelchair for a while. When they were discharged from the hospital they had to stay in a rehabilitation center while remodeling was done on their house to make it somewhat accessible.

Putting grab bars in the bath and shower are also often overlooked and even for younger people falls in the bathroom are more common than you might realize.

One risk of such a large remodel is that when you are done you may end up with a 40 year old house that has been remodeled and and ends up looking and feeling awkward. When it is being remolded they will also find additional work that needs to be done which will increase the price and time that it takes. It does not sound like there will be a lot of the original house left when you are done. It would be good to at least consider if it would make sense to do a tear down and replace it with totally new house. That way when you are done you could end up with a desirable new house. That might cost more but when you are done you might end up with a house that is a lot better and worth a lot more. I would suspect that a lot of your current property value is in the land and not the building.
Last edited by Watty on Wed Aug 05, 2020 11:51 am, edited 1 time in total.
jm1495
Posts: 80
Joined: Thu Feb 25, 2016 1:06 pm

Re: Good (and bad) decisions/tips for home remodel?

Post by jm1495 »

This guy on youtube is very knowledgeable. I'm not affiliated at all. Just impressed.

https://www.youtube.com/user/MattRisinger
User avatar
BruceM
Posts: 1845
Joined: Fri Aug 08, 2008 1:09 pm
Location: Manzanita, Oregon

Re: Good (and bad) decisions/tips for home remodel?

Post by BruceM »

1. Since my spouse and I both work full-time we should hire a general contractor, correct?
Yes. If you contract it, the subs....if you can find them....will see you as a one-off event and likely put you at the bottom of their priority....meaning they may not show up when scheduled. Worth it to pay a contractor who has his own subs he relies on.
4. We aren't sure whether to stay in the home during construction or move out.
If you were in a two story and only the first floor was getting renovated then I'd say stay upstairs. But on a major renovation I think I'd be looking either for family members as temp space, a motor home or a hotel that rents monthly.
5. If you've remodeled, were you happy with the end result?
Yes, quite happy.....but I did all the work myself :D

BruceM
Kompass
Posts: 248
Joined: Sat Oct 01, 2016 5:42 pm

Re: Good (and bad) decisions/tips for home remodel?

Post by Kompass »

jm1495 wrote: Wed Aug 05, 2020 11:35 am This guy on youtube is very knowledgeable. I'm not affiliated at all. Just impressed.

https://www.youtube.com/user/MattRisinger
+1
Valuethinker
Posts: 42151
Joined: Fri May 11, 2007 11:07 am

Re: Good (and bad) decisions/tips for home remodel?

Post by Valuethinker »

delamer wrote: Tue Aug 04, 2020 5:54 pm I don’t have much expertise in these matters, but isn’t it likely that the very high ceilings will increase utility costs significantly and also make it harder to keep the rooms comfortable temperature-wise?

Or maybe the above depends on the local climate?
It does depend on climate.

Warm weather homes tend to benefit from higher ceilings, especially if there are circulation fans. Cold air falls, so it's not a big issue if the peak is several degrees higher in temperature. (EDIT: I missed the point about 22'. That's really high. Also it's hot humid climates (when houses were built without air conditioning) that tend to benefit from the high ceilings).

Cold weather homes of course the other way. The key is make sure there's lots of insulation in the roof - *lots of insulation*. Windows are an awful weakness in any insulation, but it's worth paying out for good, argon-filled, glazed windows.

A related problem is overheating - even in a cold climate. This is why one has an architect - to work that out. Increasing the depth of the eaves, for example - in summer when the sun is higher that will block the light. But in winter when it is lower in the sky you still get the sun.

If overheating is an issue - and this is a flaw in homes I have seen in England, on the latitude of southern Alaska - then the best possible solution is external shuttering - keep the light out and thus the heat out. Brise soleil (vertical bars) for example. Also you can get glass which is good with visible light but screens out a lot of the incoming light at other frequencies and thus reduces solar gain.
Last edited by Valuethinker on Wed Aug 05, 2020 12:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Valuethinker
Posts: 42151
Joined: Fri May 11, 2007 11:07 am

Re: Good (and bad) decisions/tips for home remodel?

Post by Valuethinker »

quantAndHold wrote: Wed Aug 05, 2020 10:03 am This is a massive, massive remodel. There is no way you want to attempt this without a very good G.C., and no way you want to try to live in the house while it’s happening.

Have you considered just tearing the house down and starting over? You’d probably get closer to exactly what you want, and the price might not be out of line compared to what you’re proposing.

Vaulted ceilings are hard to insulate, heat, and air condition. And 22 feet...are you really sure you want to do that part?
Missed that about 22'. That's a really high ceiling. I was thinking 14'. English Georgian homes are sort of 12' and that's absolutely enough.

My sister did something similar and yes, in retrospect, it would have been better to tear down and start again. One problem is the contractors were incompetent at installing insulation, so there was ice buildup which eventually led to a ceiling collapse.

It's really important to get an architect involved. They will know stuff about how people use houses, the flow between the rooms, and the tradeoffs, that amateurs like us will just not see.
Valuethinker
Posts: 42151
Joined: Fri May 11, 2007 11:07 am

Re: Good (and bad) decisions/tips for home remodel?

Post by Valuethinker »

pennywise wrote: Wed Aug 05, 2020 8:44 am As has been noted, this is a gut remodel with some structural major changes so you definitely need a solid GC and architect. A few thoughts:

I wouldn't try to live in the house while doing the project at the scope you envision. For one thing and this may seem obvious: to replace the flooring you will literally need to remove every single item that rests on that floor throughout your home--ie, everything in the house! While the results can be more than worth it, from experience it's hard to overstate how much of a nightmare the process is! It's definitely one of the most disruptive remodel projects possible in terms of logistics, and you mentioned you have kids. Not to mention you are tearing down walls and lifting ceilings. It's really impossible to do the shift-stuff-around-in-stages plan on what you are envisioning. For both your and your family's safety and sanity sake, don't do that to yourselves.
Old houses can have some horrors, too. Asbestos & lead paint in particular. But even without that, the dust & mess is not good for health, and is not good to live with. Can also ruin clothes etc. Pets can be problematic, to the point of running away (the neighbour's cat has adopted us for that reason, but fortunately we are all good friends).

And one's presence makes it harder for the contractors - reduces their efficiency. One should not underestimate what hard physical labor construction is. We were the "Local Heroes" by providing tea & biscuits every morning - British building projects run on tea & biscuits ;-). If your builders like you, they are more likely to speak up when there is a problem or if they see an issue that you or the architect missed or go the extra mile to do something right the first time. My spouse grew up in a similar working class environment to our builders and it helped her communication with them to no end.

Some kind of rental solution is preferred. Put your stuff into storage (or give it to charity) & move into someplace functional for say 12 months (at least).
If you are installing new windows, it wasn't clear whether you are already planning to replace all your doors and windows with insulated/double pane upgraded versions-but do that. This is a major functional and aesthetic improvement that will serve you well every day in terms of insulation and soundproofing.

Whatever time frame you are given, seriously double it to avoid the anger and frustration of not being back in the house when you expect to be. This is a cliche for a reason; construction will always take longer and cost more than you expect.
Yes. And cost provision at least 40% for a remodel would be my guess. There are always things you did not think of, and that will increase the costs.

Totally agree with windows. This is an area where the latest technologies are on a different plane than the 20 or 30 year old ones. Good windows are expensive, but totally worth it.
That said it wasn't clear what your time frame is for the project.We have just postponed a less structural but major project to replace all our flooring and gut/remodel both bathrooms and our kitchen. Right now there's no way I am comfortable having work crews in the house, and I'm concerned that at some point there is likely to be a shutdown anyway when someone tests positive for COVID (I live near Miami which is an epicenter right now). My contractor, with whom I've worked on several projects and who I trust, agrees with this decision.

Aside from pandemic considerations, although we have ample funds in place for the project the current COVID-and election-related financial outlook is so uncertain that I'm choosing to delay a major non-essential expenditure for awhile, to keep a bit more cash on hand and sleep a bit better at night. We will proceed when the health and fiscal picture clears up.

Good luck with your project. In a very HCOL real estate market, making your current home more comfortable and usable without having to move is a pretty good option :D
The pattern, here in Europe, is of renewed outbreaks of Covid-19 even in places that seemed to have beaten it. Scotland was down to zero deaths, but they have just locked down the city of Aberdeen ("Houston on the North Sea") due to an outbreak. Similar patterns in France and other countries.

One should be wary of this because it is likely to keep happening, at least into 2021.
quantAndHold
Posts: 5201
Joined: Thu Sep 17, 2015 10:39 pm

Re: Good (and bad) decisions/tips for home remodel?

Post by quantAndHold »

Valuethinker wrote: Wed Aug 05, 2020 12:19 pm
quantAndHold wrote: Wed Aug 05, 2020 10:03 am Vaulted ceilings are hard to insulate, heat, and air condition. And 22 feet...are you really sure you want to do that part?
Missed that about 22'. That's a really high ceiling. I was thinking 14'. English Georgian homes are sort of 12' and that's absolutely enough.
Thinking about this some more. The highest part of our living room ceiling is 14’. The room already feels spacious, to the point of sometimes feeling awkwardly large when we have guests. And when we painted last year, I realized that we were at the max height to be able to paint it without bringing in scaffolding.
Yes, I’m really that pedantic.
Topic Author
financial.freedom
Posts: 577
Joined: Fri Oct 03, 2014 1:18 am

Re: Good (and bad) decisions/tips for home remodel?

Post by financial.freedom »

Sandtrap wrote: Tue Aug 04, 2020 5:41 pm
financial.freedom wrote: Tue Aug 04, 2020 4:07 pm We're planning a major home renovation:

1. Making floorplan more usable. We're knocking down walls and combining the kitchen and living room areas into one larger room. Also extending the house into the front yard area, which we don't use much. There's a sideroom (lanai?) that we don't use at all because it's not well insulated, doesn't have AC, and doesn't flow/has a separate door from the living room. So that will be combined as well in an L-shape.

2. Master bedroom and bathroom are small for us, so remodeling to make both bigger.

3. We have a nice view into the backyard/swimming pool area overlooking the city but want to enjoy the view more and have more indoor/outdoor feel by increasing the number and size of windows on the backside of house, and increasing the ceiling height from 9 feet to 14 feet at the back wall (center height increasing from 16 to 22 feet). It will be much higher, and the center of the living room will be vaulted rather than flat across.

4. Backpatio area - we have nice weather most of the year and would like to enjoy it outside more, so will probably need to do landscaping here to bring it up to the same level of the living room floor and make it more of a usable space with seating, maybe firepit etc for winter time.

5. Flooring - changing all of the flooring in the house from dark engineered bamboo and carpet to light hardwood.
Notes:
1. removing walls is simple if non load bearing. If load bearing, may require posts and beams which transfer the load below. What's below?
1b. Extending the house as in addition? Moving entire walls out on the same wall line is another whole thing altogether $$$
("Lanai" is used in Hawaii. Interesting you mention "lanai".)
2. Are these wall push outs?
3. Adding windows reframing for new windows. Increasing ceiling height from 9-14 feet is raising the roof? Hmmmm.
3b. Adding a vault to a flat roof? That means extensive roof reframing. Correct?
4. Landscaping. Non issue.
5. Flooring. . . cosmetic. Done last.

I may be visualizing this wrong, not having pictures of your home, but raising a ceiling and adding a vault to a flat ceiling is really tearing into a home. That means opening up the roof (demo) and taking precautions for rain, then reframe, structural mods where needed, then reroof. This can really turn into a "money pit" depending on what is going on.
If this is what I think it is, you're going to have to find a really talented G.C. to get it done in a really nice way and in optimal time. There's some real hacks and "wood butcher" G.C.'s out there. So go with the architect's recommendations for bids.

This is why it's good that you're using an architect and design people.

j :happy
Thank you for the thoughtful, detailed reply. Almost all of the walls are pushouts. We live in SoCal not sure what to call that space other than lanai. The living room walls will have large beams based on the architect's design. Yes, the current roof is vaulted but has an attic. We are increasing the height and no attic. We're meeting with the interior designers Friday, maybe the roof doesn't need to be quite so high. But looking at custom mountain homes in Lake Tahoe etc it looks really nice if we can afford it. Here's an example of the style we're going for:

https://www.jimmorrisonconstruction.com ... nvumpz8gqy
Topic Author
financial.freedom
Posts: 577
Joined: Fri Oct 03, 2014 1:18 am

Re: Good (and bad) decisions/tips for home remodel?

Post by financial.freedom »

delamer wrote: Tue Aug 04, 2020 5:54 pm I don’t have much expertise in these matters, but isn’t it likely that the very high ceilings will increase utility costs significantly and also make it harder to keep the rooms comfortable temperature-wise?

Or maybe the above depends on the local climate?
From what I'm reading it does depend a lot on the locale. We live in SoCal maybe 12 min drive from the ocean so pretty temperate year round. The house didn't even have AC when we first moved in 5 years ago. We'd put ceiling fans that help circulate the air, with changing the direction of the blades (summer vs winter).
Topic Author
financial.freedom
Posts: 577
Joined: Fri Oct 03, 2014 1:18 am

Re: Good (and bad) decisions/tips for home remodel?

Post by financial.freedom »

carolinaman wrote: Wed Aug 05, 2020 8:04 am Given the major renovations you are doing, including structural changes, you will need a really good GC. Your architect should be able to recommend some. Interview and get bids from several. I would recommend doing a limited part of your renovation and if you are not satisfied with your GC, you can change GCs after phase 1. Hopefully with proper vetting, that will not happen, but you do not want to be committed to the GC for the entire project and find out early on he is not satisfactory.

IMO, you may be better off building a new home rather than doing this extensive a renovation, even though it might cost more money (it sounds like you can afford it).
This is a good thought if the price is not much more. We'll have to get quotes. There isn't much land in this area, so we'd have to do a tear-down on the existing lot.
Topic Author
financial.freedom
Posts: 577
Joined: Fri Oct 03, 2014 1:18 am

Re: Good (and bad) decisions/tips for home remodel?

Post by financial.freedom »

rascott wrote: Wed Aug 05, 2020 8:31 am This would be a monster project if doing it all at once.... particularly with the roof changes mentioned.

I agree that phases would be ideal, to make sure you are happy with the GC.

You can't beat a great location/ neighborhood. So can be a very worthwhile goal.
We've lived all over, and in multiple states. Never been happier with the neighborhood in general and our immediate next door neighbors in particular. Glad to know it can be worthwhile.
Topic Author
financial.freedom
Posts: 577
Joined: Fri Oct 03, 2014 1:18 am

Re: Good (and bad) decisions/tips for home remodel?

Post by financial.freedom »

Watty wrote: Wed Aug 05, 2020 11:22 am When you are doing the remodel be sure that you make the house reasonably accessible if you need to use a wheelchair some day.

You may need this even before you are older. I know someone that was in a car accident and needed to use a wheelchair for a while. When they were discharged from the hospital they had to stay in a rehabilitation center while remodeling was done on their house to make it somewhat accessible.

Putting grab bars in the bath and shower are also often overlooked and even for younger people falls in the bathroom are more common than you might realize.

One risk of such a large remodel is that when you are done you may end up with a 40 year old house that has been remodeled and and ends up looking and feeling awkward. When it is being remolded they will also find additional work that needs to be done which will increase the price and time that it takes. It does not sound like there will be a lot of the original house left when you are done. It would be good to at least consider if it would make sense to do a tear down and replace it with totally new house. That way when you are done you could end up with a desirable new house. That might cost more but when you are done you might end up with a house that is a lot better and worth a lot more. I would suspect that a lot of your current property value is in the land and not the building.
You're absolutely right. The land value is ~1.3M and house value ~0.5M. And also correct about feeling and looking a bit awkward. About every 10-15 years there has been some type of remodel and the flow of the house is off. Not mentioned above, even though it's one level each room has step offs due to the additions over the years. And as I mentioned above the "lanai" which is pretty good size isn't even properly insulated, no AC, has a separate thinner roof, and we'd like that space to be open and more usable.
Topic Author
financial.freedom
Posts: 577
Joined: Fri Oct 03, 2014 1:18 am

Re: Good (and bad) decisions/tips for home remodel?

Post by financial.freedom »

Valuethinker wrote: Wed Aug 05, 2020 12:19 pm
quantAndHold wrote: Wed Aug 05, 2020 10:03 am This is a massive, massive remodel. There is no way you want to attempt this without a very good G.C., and no way you want to try to live in the house while it’s happening.

Have you considered just tearing the house down and starting over? You’d probably get closer to exactly what you want, and the price might not be out of line compared to what you’re proposing.

Vaulted ceilings are hard to insulate, heat, and air condition. And 22 feet...are you really sure you want to do that part?
Missed that about 22'. That's a really high ceiling. I was thinking 14'. English Georgian homes are sort of 12' and that's absolutely enough.

My sister did something similar and yes, in retrospect, it would have been better to tear down and start again. One problem is the contractors were incompetent at installing insulation, so there was ice buildup which eventually led to a ceiling collapse.

It's really important to get an architect involved. They will know stuff about how people use houses, the flow between the rooms, and the tradeoffs, that amateurs like us will just not see.
The design is vaulted with beams. So center is 22' and back wall along the patio has tall doors with windows above and 14' height. Here's an example of the backyard area we're going for:

https://www.jimmorrisonconstruction.com ... nvumpz8gqy
User avatar
Sandtrap
Posts: 12802
Joined: Sat Nov 26, 2016 6:32 pm
Location: Hawaii No Ka Oi , N. Arizona
Contact:

Re: Good (and bad) decisions/tips for home remodel?

Post by Sandtrap »

financial.freedom wrote: Wed Aug 05, 2020 5:31 pm
Sandtrap wrote: Tue Aug 04, 2020 5:41 pm
financial.freedom wrote: Tue Aug 04, 2020 4:07 pm We're planning a major home renovation:

1. Making floorplan more usable. We're knocking down walls and combining the kitchen and living room areas into one larger room. Also extending the house into the front yard area, which we don't use much. There's a sideroom (lanai?) that we don't use at all because it's not well insulated, doesn't have AC, and doesn't flow/has a separate door from the living room. So that will be combined as well in an L-shape.

2. Master bedroom and bathroom are small for us, so remodeling to make both bigger.

3. We have a nice view into the backyard/swimming pool area overlooking the city but want to enjoy the view more and have more indoor/outdoor feel by increasing the number and size of windows on the backside of house, and increasing the ceiling height from 9 feet to 14 feet at the back wall (center height increasing from 16 to 22 feet). It will be much higher, and the center of the living room will be vaulted rather than flat across.

4. Backpatio area - we have nice weather most of the year and would like to enjoy it outside more, so will probably need to do landscaping here to bring it up to the same level of the living room floor and make it more of a usable space with seating, maybe firepit etc for winter time.

5. Flooring - changing all of the flooring in the house from dark engineered bamboo and carpet to light hardwood.
Notes:
1. removing walls is simple if non load bearing. If load bearing, may require posts and beams which transfer the load below. What's below?
1b. Extending the house as in addition? Moving entire walls out on the same wall line is another whole thing altogether $$$
("Lanai" is used in Hawaii. Interesting you mention "lanai".)
2. Are these wall push outs?
3. Adding windows reframing for new windows. Increasing ceiling height from 9-14 feet is raising the roof? Hmmmm.
3b. Adding a vault to a flat roof? That means extensive roof reframing. Correct?
4. Landscaping. Non issue.
5. Flooring. . . cosmetic. Done last.

I may be visualizing this wrong, not having pictures of your home, but raising a ceiling and adding a vault to a flat ceiling is really tearing into a home. That means opening up the roof (demo) and taking precautions for rain, then reframe, structural mods where needed, then reroof. This can really turn into a "money pit" depending on what is going on.
If this is what I think it is, you're going to have to find a really talented G.C. to get it done in a really nice way and in optimal time. There's some real hacks and "wood butcher" G.C.'s out there. So go with the architect's recommendations for bids.

This is why it's good that you're using an architect and design people.

j :happy
Thank you for the thoughtful, detailed reply. Almost all of the walls are pushouts. We live in SoCal not sure what to call that space other than lanai. The living room walls will have large beams based on the architect's design. Yes, the current roof is vaulted but has an attic. We are increasing the height and no attic. We're meeting with the interior designers Friday, maybe the roof doesn't need to be quite so high. But looking at custom mountain homes in Lake Tahoe etc it looks really nice if we can afford it. Here's an example of the style we're going for:

https://www.jimmorrisonconstruction.com ... nvumpz8gqy
That's impressive!
Major structural work.
I think you're going to need a bigger boat budget.
j :happy
Image
Last edited by Sandtrap on Wed Aug 05, 2020 5:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Wiki Bogleheads Wiki: Everything You Need to Know
Topic Author
financial.freedom
Posts: 577
Joined: Fri Oct 03, 2014 1:18 am

Re: Good (and bad) decisions/tips for home remodel?

Post by financial.freedom »

quantAndHold wrote: Wed Aug 05, 2020 1:04 pm
Valuethinker wrote: Wed Aug 05, 2020 12:19 pm
quantAndHold wrote: Wed Aug 05, 2020 10:03 am Vaulted ceilings are hard to insulate, heat, and air condition. And 22 feet...are you really sure you want to do that part?
Missed that about 22'. That's a really high ceiling. I was thinking 14'. English Georgian homes are sort of 12' and that's absolutely enough.
Thinking about this some more. The highest part of our living room ceiling is 14’. The room already feels spacious, to the point of sometimes feeling awkwardly large when we have guests. And when we painted last year, I realized that we were at the max height to be able to paint it without bringing in scaffolding.
Good feedback, thank you. We're meeting with the interior designers on Friday. I'll ask about changing the ceiling height.
Topic Author
financial.freedom
Posts: 577
Joined: Fri Oct 03, 2014 1:18 am

Re: Good (and bad) decisions/tips for home remodel?

Post by financial.freedom »

Sandtrap wrote: Wed Aug 05, 2020 5:43 pm
financial.freedom wrote: Wed Aug 05, 2020 5:31 pm
Sandtrap wrote: Tue Aug 04, 2020 5:41 pm
financial.freedom wrote: Tue Aug 04, 2020 4:07 pm We're planning a major home renovation:

1. Making floorplan more usable. We're knocking down walls and combining the kitchen and living room areas into one larger room. Also extending the house into the front yard area, which we don't use much. There's a sideroom (lanai?) that we don't use at all because it's not well insulated, doesn't have AC, and doesn't flow/has a separate door from the living room. So that will be combined as well in an L-shape.

2. Master bedroom and bathroom are small for us, so remodeling to make both bigger.

3. We have a nice view into the backyard/swimming pool area overlooking the city but want to enjoy the view more and have more indoor/outdoor feel by increasing the number and size of windows on the backside of house, and increasing the ceiling height from 9 feet to 14 feet at the back wall (center height increasing from 16 to 22 feet). It will be much higher, and the center of the living room will be vaulted rather than flat across.

4. Backpatio area - we have nice weather most of the year and would like to enjoy it outside more, so will probably need to do landscaping here to bring it up to the same level of the living room floor and make it more of a usable space with seating, maybe firepit etc for winter time.

5. Flooring - changing all of the flooring in the house from dark engineered bamboo and carpet to light hardwood.
Notes:
1. removing walls is simple if non load bearing. If load bearing, may require posts and beams which transfer the load below. What's below?
1b. Extending the house as in addition? Moving entire walls out on the same wall line is another whole thing altogether $$$
("Lanai" is used in Hawaii. Interesting you mention "lanai".)
2. Are these wall push outs?
3. Adding windows reframing for new windows. Increasing ceiling height from 9-14 feet is raising the roof? Hmmmm.
3b. Adding a vault to a flat roof? That means extensive roof reframing. Correct?
4. Landscaping. Non issue.
5. Flooring. . . cosmetic. Done last.

I may be visualizing this wrong, not having pictures of your home, but raising a ceiling and adding a vault to a flat ceiling is really tearing into a home. That means opening up the roof (demo) and taking precautions for rain, then reframe, structural mods where needed, then reroof. This can really turn into a "money pit" depending on what is going on.
If this is what I think it is, you're going to have to find a really talented G.C. to get it done in a really nice way and in optimal time. There's some real hacks and "wood butcher" G.C.'s out there. So go with the architect's recommendations for bids.

This is why it's good that you're using an architect and design people.

j :happy
Thank you for the thoughtful, detailed reply. Almost all of the walls are pushouts. We live in SoCal not sure what to call that space other than lanai. The living room walls will have large beams based on the architect's design. Yes, the current roof is vaulted but has an attic. We are increasing the height and no attic. We're meeting with the interior designers Friday, maybe the roof doesn't need to be quite so high. But looking at custom mountain homes in Lake Tahoe etc it looks really nice if we can afford it. Here's an example of the style we're going for:

https://www.jimmorrisonconstruction.com ... nvumpz8gqy
That's impressive!
Major structural work.
I think you're going to need a bigger boat budget.
j :happy
Image
You think more than 400-500k?
User avatar
Sandtrap
Posts: 12802
Joined: Sat Nov 26, 2016 6:32 pm
Location: Hawaii No Ka Oi , N. Arizona
Contact:

Re: Good (and bad) decisions/tips for home remodel?

Post by Sandtrap »

Also:
For every housing lot, there is a building code "envelope" that restricts building height.
So, you might want to check that when it comes to raising the roof height.

j :happy
Wiki Bogleheads Wiki: Everything You Need to Know
User avatar
Sandtrap
Posts: 12802
Joined: Sat Nov 26, 2016 6:32 pm
Location: Hawaii No Ka Oi , N. Arizona
Contact:

Re: Good (and bad) decisions/tips for home remodel?

Post by Sandtrap »

financial.freedom wrote: Wed Aug 05, 2020 5:45 pm
Sandtrap wrote: Wed Aug 05, 2020 5:43 pm
financial.freedom wrote: Wed Aug 05, 2020 5:31 pm
Sandtrap wrote: Tue Aug 04, 2020 5:41 pm
financial.freedom wrote: Tue Aug 04, 2020 4:07 pm We're planning a major home renovation:

1. Making floorplan more usable. We're knocking down walls and combining the kitchen and living room areas into one larger room. Also extending the house into the front yard area, which we don't use much. There's a sideroom (lanai?) that we don't use at all because it's not well insulated, doesn't have AC, and doesn't flow/has a separate door from the living room. So that will be combined as well in an L-shape.

2. Master bedroom and bathroom are small for us, so remodeling to make both bigger.

3. We have a nice view into the backyard/swimming pool area overlooking the city but want to enjoy the view more and have more indoor/outdoor feel by increasing the number and size of windows on the backside of house, and increasing the ceiling height from 9 feet to 14 feet at the back wall (center height increasing from 16 to 22 feet). It will be much higher, and the center of the living room will be vaulted rather than flat across.

4. Backpatio area - we have nice weather most of the year and would like to enjoy it outside more, so will probably need to do landscaping here to bring it up to the same level of the living room floor and make it more of a usable space with seating, maybe firepit etc for winter time.

5. Flooring - changing all of the flooring in the house from dark engineered bamboo and carpet to light hardwood.
Notes:
1. removing walls is simple if non load bearing. If load bearing, may require posts and beams which transfer the load below. What's below?
1b. Extending the house as in addition? Moving entire walls out on the same wall line is another whole thing altogether $$$
("Lanai" is used in Hawaii. Interesting you mention "lanai".)
2. Are these wall push outs?
3. Adding windows reframing for new windows. Increasing ceiling height from 9-14 feet is raising the roof? Hmmmm.
3b. Adding a vault to a flat roof? That means extensive roof reframing. Correct?
4. Landscaping. Non issue.
5. Flooring. . . cosmetic. Done last.

I may be visualizing this wrong, not having pictures of your home, but raising a ceiling and adding a vault to a flat ceiling is really tearing into a home. That means opening up the roof (demo) and taking precautions for rain, then reframe, structural mods where needed, then reroof. This can really turn into a "money pit" depending on what is going on.
If this is what I think it is, you're going to have to find a really talented G.C. to get it done in a really nice way and in optimal time. There's some real hacks and "wood butcher" G.C.'s out there. So go with the architect's recommendations for bids.

This is why it's good that you're using an architect and design people.

j :happy
Thank you for the thoughtful, detailed reply. Almost all of the walls are pushouts. We live in SoCal not sure what to call that space other than lanai. The living room walls will have large beams based on the architect's design. Yes, the current roof is vaulted but has an attic. We are increasing the height and no attic. We're meeting with the interior designers Friday, maybe the roof doesn't need to be quite so high. But looking at custom mountain homes in Lake Tahoe etc it looks really nice if we can afford it. Here's an example of the style we're going for:

https://www.jimmorrisonconstruction.com ... nvumpz8gqy
That's impressive!
Major structural work.
I think you're going to need a bigger boat budget.
j :happy
Image
You think more than 400-500k?
Not sure. The architect will know.
In the picture, look at the main roof trusses and follow the load down the posts/columns between the windows and doors. Take that load down to the foundation. This is a post/beam construction. The roof is 2x+ material T&G with 5/8-3/4 or more sheathing overlay on that. This is different than if your home right now has a stick built/framed wall with trusses on a top sill plate and shingles. So, the architect/structural engineer is going to calc the different loads and shear that's needed per code.

Even if the existing, if stick built, framed load bearing walls have a "pony wall" built on them to raise the wall line, then up from there, that's an increased load so that will have to be calc.

The idea of things is this. Changing the roof material on a standard home from fiberglass shingles to concrete./clay roofing tiles is often not possible because the original roof trusses were not spec'd for that load and often the roof sheathing thickness wasn't either. So, when you change a fundamental structural design, it effects everything down to the foundation. And, foundation work or retro structural work is $$$$$.

Your architect/engineer will be able to juggle designs that you like and what is possible within a certain budget.
The look/design that you have in mind is beautiful and breathtaking. And, anything can be done, for a price. Your team is going to have to figure out how to get the results you want within your budget.

j :D
Wiki Bogleheads Wiki: Everything You Need to Know
BradJ
Posts: 448
Joined: Sun Jan 21, 2018 6:06 pm

Re: Good (and bad) decisions/tips for home remodel?

Post by BradJ »

Interview several good general contractors. If at all possible, do not hire someone you know. You will argue and butt heads, much easier to do this with someone you don’t know.
User avatar
LilyFleur
Posts: 1632
Joined: Fri Mar 02, 2018 10:36 pm

Re: Good (and bad) decisions/tips for home remodel?

Post by LilyFleur »

A friend did a similar remodel but her doors and windows were big areas of glass without metal dividers. The effect is much more spacious and less divided from the outdoor space than your reference photo.
https://www.dwell.com/article/floor-to- ... 3-f11fba35 If you're going to spend the money, why not get the maximum impact? Just my two cents... 8-)
hoffse
Posts: 163
Joined: Wed Aug 03, 2016 7:47 am

Re: Good (and bad) decisions/tips for home remodel?

Post by hoffse »

I’ve done 3 remodels and am about to embark on my 4th.

As others have said, this is going to be a ton of money. I personally would not want to live in the house with that much construction, especially if you have kids.

I skimmed some of the other responses, but a few suggestions I did not see mentioned:

(1) Get a kitchen and bath designer to help with the layout. GCs are not designers. Architects are not designers. Even interior designers might not do a good job in a kitchen or bath because there are rules to follow for things like aisle clearance, landing zones, etc. If you opt not to have a KD help, at the very least post your layout on Houzz and let the KDs that frequent that forum help you. They will probably tear it apart, but they will put it back together again in a way that is better than you could have ever imagined.

(2) Depending on location, custom work can be cheaper than big box work. Where I live, I can get custom cabinets made by a guy for less than HD charges for semi custom. So I have always gone custom. Same is true for stone and iron work here. In fact, I’m in the process of having a metal guy make a desk for us that is a duplicate of one I like from Restoration Hardware. RH charges $3-4K for it, and my guy is going to hand forge it in exactly the dimensions I need for about $1000 (delivery included). It pays to shop around and look local.

(3) Consider clearances that will allow you to age in place and enjoy your home if one of you needs a wheelchair or assistance. That means wide aisles in the kitchen, no steps (or option to add an elevator), and enough clearance in the master bath for an attendant to help. It’s not sexy, but it’s practical.

(4) Make a decision and stick with it. Change orders cost $$.

Finally, as I’m sure others have mentioned, give yourself at least a 10-20% pot for overages. Even if your contractor finds no problems (which is unlikely in a project your size), in my experience contractors will often bid out a job assuming contractor grade materials, and then the price goes up once you are in the project and have committed. The guy I use has always done this, and we are always several thousand over on counters and tiles. Other than that I really like him though, so I keep going back to him. On our next project I’m just going to tell him to assume I want marble (that’s professionally sealed) and not low grade granite when preparing the bid. But be realistic about the fact that there will be structural overages as well as overages driven by you due to design or the inevitable “well if we are doing this anyway, we might as well...”
Thegame14
Posts: 1838
Joined: Mon May 07, 2018 11:53 am

Re: Good (and bad) decisions/tips for home remodel?

Post by Thegame14 »

most important is not to think it is an investment and you will get your money back or make money... most likely you will not and even if you are lucky and do, it doesnt matter. For a major renovation you have to do it for your enjoyment assuming you will live there forever.
Dottie57
Posts: 9747
Joined: Thu May 19, 2016 5:43 pm
Location: Earth Northern Hemisphere

Re: Good (and bad) decisions/tips for home remodel?

Post by Dottie57 »

financial.freedom wrote: Wed Aug 05, 2020 5:44 pm
quantAndHold wrote: Wed Aug 05, 2020 1:04 pm
Valuethinker wrote: Wed Aug 05, 2020 12:19 pm
quantAndHold wrote: Wed Aug 05, 2020 10:03 am Vaulted ceilings are hard to insulate, heat, and air condition. And 22 feet...are you really sure you want to do that part?
Missed that about 22'. That's a really high ceiling. I was thinking 14'. English Georgian homes are sort of 12' and that's absolutely enough.
Thinking about this some more. The highest part of our living room ceiling is 14’. The room already feels spacious, to the point of sometimes feeling awkwardly large when we have guests. And when we painted last year, I realized that we were at the max height to be able to paint it without bringing in scaffolding.
Good feedback, thank you. We're meeting with the interior designers on Friday. I'll ask about changing the ceiling height.
Why interior designers ( decorators, people skilled putting together the look of a room) when deciding on ceiling height?
Topic Author
financial.freedom
Posts: 577
Joined: Fri Oct 03, 2014 1:18 am

Re: Good (and bad) decisions/tips for home remodel?

Post by financial.freedom »

LilyFleur wrote: Wed Aug 05, 2020 9:57 pm A friend did a similar remodel but her doors and windows were big areas of glass without metal dividers. The effect is much more spacious and less divided from the outdoor space than your reference photo.
https://www.dwell.com/article/floor-to- ... 3-f11fba35 If you're going to spend the money, why not get the maximum impact? Just my two cents... 8-)
Thanks for the suggestion. we like that look too, but doesn't seem to fit well with our style of modern ranch house/modern farmhouse. that link has really nice homes, most look contemporary/ modern. We'll ask the interior designer
Topic Author
financial.freedom
Posts: 577
Joined: Fri Oct 03, 2014 1:18 am

Re: Good (and bad) decisions/tips for home remodel?

Post by financial.freedom »

Dottie57 wrote: Thu Aug 06, 2020 6:00 pm
financial.freedom wrote: Wed Aug 05, 2020 5:44 pm
quantAndHold wrote: Wed Aug 05, 2020 1:04 pm
Valuethinker wrote: Wed Aug 05, 2020 12:19 pm
quantAndHold wrote: Wed Aug 05, 2020 10:03 am Vaulted ceilings are hard to insulate, heat, and air condition. And 22 feet...are you really sure you want to do that part?
Missed that about 22'. That's a really high ceiling. I was thinking 14'. English Georgian homes are sort of 12' and that's absolutely enough.
Thinking about this some more. The highest part of our living room ceiling is 14’. The room already feels spacious, to the point of sometimes feeling awkwardly large when we have guests. And when we painted last year, I realized that we were at the max height to be able to paint it without bringing in scaffolding.
Good feedback, thank you. We're meeting with the interior designers on Friday. I'll ask about changing the ceiling height.
Why interior designers ( decorators, people skilled putting together the look of a room) when deciding on ceiling height?
They have both interior designers and interior decorators. They do floorplans, layout, CAD, 3D etc that can help visualize the changes.
Dottie57
Posts: 9747
Joined: Thu May 19, 2016 5:43 pm
Location: Earth Northern Hemisphere

Re: Good (and bad) decisions/tips for home remodel?

Post by Dottie57 »

financial.freedom wrote: Thu Aug 06, 2020 6:51 pm
Dottie57 wrote: Thu Aug 06, 2020 6:00 pm
financial.freedom wrote: Wed Aug 05, 2020 5:44 pm
quantAndHold wrote: Wed Aug 05, 2020 1:04 pm
Valuethinker wrote: Wed Aug 05, 2020 12:19 pm

Missed that about 22'. That's a really high ceiling. I was thinking 14'. English Georgian homes are sort of 12' and that's absolutely enough.
Thinking about this some more. The highest part of our living room ceiling is 14’. The room already feels spacious, to the point of sometimes feeling awkwardly large when we have guests. And when we painted last year, I realized that we were at the max height to be able to paint it without bringing in scaffolding.
Good feedback, thank you. We're meeting with the interior designers on Friday. I'll ask about changing the ceiling height.
Why interior designers ( decorators, people skilled putting together the look of a room) when deciding on ceiling height?
They have both interior designers and interior decorators. They do floorplans, layout, CAD, 3D etc that can help visualize the changes.
Interior design is the clothing and jewelry. Maybe start working with an architect wh can build the body and tell you what can actually be done on your budget. Architects and builders use CAD TOO.
Topic Author
financial.freedom
Posts: 577
Joined: Fri Oct 03, 2014 1:18 am

Re: Good (and bad) decisions/tips for home remodel?

Post by financial.freedom »

Dottie57 wrote: Thu Aug 06, 2020 8:20 pm
financial.freedom wrote: Thu Aug 06, 2020 6:51 pm
Dottie57 wrote: Thu Aug 06, 2020 6:00 pm
financial.freedom wrote: Wed Aug 05, 2020 5:44 pm
quantAndHold wrote: Wed Aug 05, 2020 1:04 pm

Thinking about this some more. The highest part of our living room ceiling is 14’. The room already feels spacious, to the point of sometimes feeling awkwardly large when we have guests. And when we painted last year, I realized that we were at the max height to be able to paint it without bringing in scaffolding.
Good feedback, thank you. We're meeting with the interior designers on Friday. I'll ask about changing the ceiling height.
Why interior designers ( decorators, people skilled putting together the look of a room) when deciding on ceiling height?
They have both interior designers and interior decorators. They do floorplans, layout, CAD, 3D etc that can help visualize the changes.
Interior design is the clothing and jewelry. Maybe start working with an architect wh can build the body and tell you what can actually be done on your budget. Architects and builders use CAD TOO.
We have the design from the architect, he doesn't know how much it'll cost. Believe me, we asked him first.
confusedinvestor
Posts: 913
Joined: Thu Mar 15, 2012 11:04 am

Re: Good (and bad) decisions/tips for home remodel?

Post by confusedinvestor »

Very happy with our remodel (500 sq-ft addition with Master Suite and expanding dinning area flowing with kitchen)

My cost was ~ 125K (quoted price was 100k - 250K) but I'm in So-Col (Remodel Contractors curtail zone)

My recommendations:

1. Get a designer hourly fee in-home design consultation
2. Get a drafter to draw up plans per your design Step 1
3. Get city permits yourself (not by the GC or Design Built Firm)
4. Must get a General Contractor - Get 10-15 soft bids/quotes once Step 2 is completed and get 3 hard bids (from your top 3 screened GC) once Step 3 is completed
5. Expect surprises along the way both cost and timelines
Topic Author
financial.freedom
Posts: 577
Joined: Fri Oct 03, 2014 1:18 am

Re: Good (and bad) decisions/tips for home remodel?

Post by financial.freedom »

confusedinvestor wrote: Fri Aug 07, 2020 1:54 am Very happy with our remodel (500 sq-ft addition with Master Suite and expanding dinning area flowing with kitchen)

My cost was ~ 125K (quoted price was 100k - 250K) but I'm in So-Col (Remodel Contractors curtail zone)

My recommendations:

1. Get a designer hourly fee in-home design consultation
2. Get a drafter to draw up plans per your design Step 1
3. Get city permits yourself (not by the GC or Design Built Firm)
4. Must get a General Contractor - Get 10-15 soft bids/quotes once Step 2 is completed and get 3 hard bids (from your top 3 screened GC) once Step 3 is completed
5. Expect surprises along the way both cost and timelines
Thank you, greatly appreciate it. Those are the main things we're looking for too - expanding master suite and dining area flowing into the kitchen (and making the lanai more a part of the living room space).

We re-drafted the design with the architect and he couldn't give us an exact number but says ~500k. The roof will be lower (still vaulted) at 15' 4" and the walls of the front entry and backyard will be 9' 8". Also a minor reduction in overall size of the addition to 600 sq ft.

We'll show the new design from the architect to the interior design group for floor planning etc then start interviewing GCs for bids.

Thank you again!
goos_news
Posts: 108
Joined: Mon Jun 10, 2019 7:14 pm
Location: Northern California/French Riviera

Re: Good (and bad) decisions/tips for home remodel?

Post by goos_news »

Glad to read that you've been working with your architect. I am also happy to see your ceiling height has come down. We have ceilings that high in one of our places and they feel cavernous. I have friends with taller ceilings in great rooms --- but you need to have much more square footage ovreall to make it feel in scale. You've gotten great feedback above, I've been through two major remodels but nothing quite to the 500K level. We contemplated a major ceiling transformation but decided not to, and kept the total cost to 200K.

Just a few word to add: local codes vary, and your architect should know -- but even things like glazing % can require a variance, adding time and delays to the planning process. Prepare for the unexpected. We once ended up doing foundation work before proceeding into order to achieve what we wanted. Scope creep is a real thing, especially once you think you have a design and the ID or KD comes in later with an issue or late idea. Make sure you interview the GC references -- they can be enormously helpful and candid -- especially ones they don't list.

Way down the line, just a note on custom cabinetry -- there are also a lot of schlock shops there that deliver stuff that is no where near the fit and finish of high end cabinetry lines (especially true in states like California with painted finishes). But I agree that you can often get custom pieces, especially in modern styles, that are better and better fitted to your space than purchasing alone. Our kitchen table is designed to fit and was half the cost going through a metal artisan for the base.
stan1
Posts: 9820
Joined: Mon Oct 08, 2007 4:35 pm

Re: Good (and bad) decisions/tips for home remodel?

Post by stan1 »

One thing we told our designer for a much less ambitious remodel (no walls moved) in a VHCOL tract house with no view was that we wanted a contemporary but eclectic style. Specifically for a remodel that word eclectic gives the designer creative license to blend multiple styles together to make it more timeless and also accommodate the fact that there were parts of the structure and design that weren't changing. We did not replace stair railings. The designer wanted to remove the bullnose corners on drywall and replace interior doors that had arches, but when I laughed and said "no" she agreed that was getting crazy and responded by incorporating a few more curves into the new work (such as baseboards) so it would integrate better with the more linear style of the new kitchen cabinets and fireplace mantle..

Make sure you have a kitchen/bath designer on your team. It's an important specialty. Cabinets are expensive and more complex than you might think. High end appliances (Miele, Wolf, Sub Zero) have quirks that can impact the cabinet design that need to be taken into account up front. Especially in a high end house with custom cabinets the options are limitless. That said I'd go with Miele wall ovens for sure. Nothing comes close.

One thing we appreciated with our designer is that she would tell us when we were making a bad decision. She was very patient in giving us choices but if we saw something in a showroom she'd frown and just say "I don't think you would like that when it is installed". She was right, and we appreciated her advice. If your designers are "yes people" or protective of the purity of their design that's a caution flag to me.
confusedinvestor
Posts: 913
Joined: Thu Mar 15, 2012 11:04 am

Re: Good (and bad) decisions/tips for home remodel?

Post by confusedinvestor »

financial.freedom wrote: Sat Aug 08, 2020 12:18 am
confusedinvestor wrote: Fri Aug 07, 2020 1:54 am Very happy with our remodel (500 sq-ft addition with Master Suite and expanding dinning area flowing with kitchen)

My cost was ~ 125K (quoted price was 100k - 250K) but I'm in So-Col (Remodel Contractors curtail zone)

My recommendations:

1. Get a designer hourly fee in-home design consultation
2. Get a drafter to draw up plans per your design Step 1
3. Get city permits yourself (not by the GC or Design Built Firm)
4. Must get a General Contractor - Get 10-15 soft bids/quotes once Step 2 is completed and get 3 hard bids (from your top 3 screened GC) once Step 3 is completed
5. Expect surprises along the way both cost and timelines
Thank you, greatly appreciate it. Those are the main things we're looking for too - expanding master suite and dining area flowing into the kitchen (and making the lanai more a part of the living room space).

We re-drafted the design with the architect and he couldn't give us an exact number but says ~500k. The roof will be lower (still vaulted) at 15' 4" and the walls of the front entry and backyard will be 9' 8". Also a minor reduction in overall size of the addition to 600 sq ft.

We'll show the new design from the architect to the interior design group for floor planning etc then start interviewing GCs for bids.

Thank you again!
Design is the key. It took us at least 5 iterations (change in plans/sketches) before we finalize the design. It is typically a good idea to get a second opinion on the design from a "Design Built" company, preferably, the top company of your town (you can find them in Houzz) or a good architect.

Changes in plans during constructions phase is often not possible or extremely expensive.
Topic Author
financial.freedom
Posts: 577
Joined: Fri Oct 03, 2014 1:18 am

Re: Good (and bad) decisions/tips for home remodel?

Post by financial.freedom »

confusedinvestor wrote: Sat Aug 08, 2020 2:56 pm
financial.freedom wrote: Sat Aug 08, 2020 12:18 am
confusedinvestor wrote: Fri Aug 07, 2020 1:54 am Very happy with our remodel (500 sq-ft addition with Master Suite and expanding dinning area flowing with kitchen)

My cost was ~ 125K (quoted price was 100k - 250K) but I'm in So-Col (Remodel Contractors curtail zone)

My recommendations:

1. Get a designer hourly fee in-home design consultation
2. Get a drafter to draw up plans per your design Step 1
3. Get city permits yourself (not by the GC or Design Built Firm)
4. Must get a General Contractor - Get 10-15 soft bids/quotes once Step 2 is completed and get 3 hard bids (from your top 3 screened GC) once Step 3 is completed
5. Expect surprises along the way both cost and timelines
Thank you, greatly appreciate it. Those are the main things we're looking for too - expanding master suite and dining area flowing into the kitchen (and making the lanai more a part of the living room space).

We re-drafted the design with the architect and he couldn't give us an exact number but says ~500k. The roof will be lower (still vaulted) at 15' 4" and the walls of the front entry and backyard will be 9' 8". Also a minor reduction in overall size of the addition to 600 sq ft.

We'll show the new design from the architect to the interior design group for floor planning etc then start interviewing GCs for bids.

Thank you again!
Design is the key. It took us at least 5 iterations (change in plans/sketches) before we finalize the design. It is typically a good idea to get a second opinion on the design from a "Design Built" company, preferably, the top company of your town (you can find them in Houzz) or a good architect.

Changes in plans during constructions phase is often not possible or extremely expensive.
Do you think it's worth it to pay another architect for a second opinion?

We have done 3 iterations with our current architect and plan to show the latest one to the interior designer. But we're willing to get a second opinion if it's worthwhile.

At the same time, I'd hate to get a second opinion if it doesn't change much and costs thousands of dollars.
Broken Man 1999
Posts: 5834
Joined: Wed Apr 08, 2015 11:31 am
Location: West coast of Florida, inland on high ground!

Re: Good (and bad) decisions/tips for home remodel?

Post by Broken Man 1999 »

One thing we liked about our GC was his subs worked strictly for him. He managed several projects, so he kept his subs always working, so they weren't spending time looking for their next job.

When he said sub X would be at our home at a certain time, they were there when scheduled. Since he kept them all working, they were very loyal.

Broken Man 1999
“If I cannot drink Bourbon and smoke cigars in Heaven then I shall not go. " -Mark Twain
Mr.BB
Posts: 1530
Joined: Sun May 08, 2016 10:10 am

Re: Good (and bad) decisions/tips for home remodel?

Post by Mr.BB »

Whatever time frame they give you, add at least a couple of weeks to it.
"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit."
confusedinvestor
Posts: 913
Joined: Thu Mar 15, 2012 11:04 am

Re: Good (and bad) decisions/tips for home remodel?

Post by confusedinvestor »

financial.freedom wrote: Tue Aug 11, 2020 4:32 pm
confusedinvestor wrote: Sat Aug 08, 2020 2:56 pm
financial.freedom wrote: Sat Aug 08, 2020 12:18 am
confusedinvestor wrote: Fri Aug 07, 2020 1:54 am Very happy with our remodel (500 sq-ft addition with Master Suite and expanding dinning area flowing with kitchen)

My cost was ~ 125K (quoted price was 100k - 250K) but I'm in So-Col (Remodel Contractors curtail zone)

My recommendations:

1. Get a designer hourly fee in-home design consultation
2. Get a drafter to draw up plans per your design Step 1
3. Get city permits yourself (not by the GC or Design Built Firm)
4. Must get a General Contractor - Get 10-15 soft bids/quotes once Step 2 is completed and get 3 hard bids (from your top 3 screened GC) once Step 3 is completed
5. Expect surprises along the way both cost and timelines
Thank you, greatly appreciate it. Those are the main things we're looking for too - expanding master suite and dining area flowing into the kitchen (and making the lanai more a part of the living room space).

We re-drafted the design with the architect and he couldn't give us an exact number but says ~500k. The roof will be lower (still vaulted) at 15' 4" and the walls of the front entry and backyard will be 9' 8". Also a minor reduction in overall size of the addition to 600 sq ft.

We'll show the new design from the architect to the interior design group for floor planning etc then start interviewing GCs for bids.

Thank you again!
Design is the key. It took us at least 5 iterations (change in plans/sketches) before we finalize the design. It is typically a good idea to get a second opinion on the design from a "Design Built" company, preferably, the top company of your town (you can find them in Houzz) or a good architect.

Changes in plans during constructions phase is often not possible or extremely expensive.
Do you think it's worth it to pay another architect for a second opinion?

We have done 3 iterations with our current architect and plan to show the latest one to the interior designer. But we're willing to get a second opinion if it's worthwhile.

At the same time, I'd hate to get a second opinion if it doesn't change much and costs thousands of dollars.
Nah, I'd think it would be overkill and not worth the cost, given you already have 3 iter and getting your final plan reviewed by your designer (which is your aka "Second Opinion") as long you are happy with the final plan.
I never went with the architect route as my addition was simple, i went with a drafter and that is what my city (who issues building permits) recommended.
Post Reply