February 1, 2023

As soon as once more, although I do know higher, these 4 little phrases, typically uttered within the throes of a house rework, obtained me: “So long as we’re” transforming the kitchen, let’s replace the visitor rest room! Yeep!

That innocuous little phrase, “so long as we’re,” and its falsely implied comfort, additionally masquerades because the equally harmful (and costly) 4 phrases: “Whereas we’re at it” … After these humble phrases typically come the phrases why don’t we, or we must always, or let’s. Subsequent factor you recognize, your complete home is torn aside.

My husband and I have been within the course of of transforming our kitchen and had picked new stone for the counters. For those who’ve by no means finished this, it entails shopping for slabs of the rock the dimensions of freeway ramps. To keep away from unseemly seams in your counters, you typically want to purchase extra slab than you technically want, which suggests you’ll have items left. Typically huge items. Which you personal and can go to waste, except …

True to my Scottish blood, I couldn’t abandon all that good bought-and-paid-for quartzite, however the place? How? Ding! The upstairs visitor bathtub!

A protracted story brief

Right here’s the place the tailspin begins. Once we purchased the Happier Yellow Home 5 years in the past, I knew I wished to transform this Jack-and-Jill rest room. Designed with youngsters in thoughts, the double-sink self-importance was solely 31 inches excessive. Normal counter top is 36 inches.

Even I, at a towering 5-foot-3 with footwear on, really feel like a basketball participant in that room. As a result of most of our company are over 4 ft tall, I wished a regular top self-importance with new counters. The prevailing countertop was a molded marble-wanna-be materials that flowed proper into the sink basins. Cool 20 years in the past, I suppose.

Nonetheless, the considered tearing out the outdated (barely used) self-importance, discovering a brand new one, shopping for new sinks and taps, and pulling out the plated glass mirror that would want to go if the counter moved up, appeared daunting and costly. By my psychological estimate, which normally falls brief, it rang in at round $5,000. So we did nothing.

Till, ding!

Overcoming obstacles

When the lady from the stone set up firm got here to measure for the kitchen counters, she talked about the stone remnants. Figuring out the potholes, cliffs and brambles that lay forward, I virtually mentioned nothing, however earlier than motive intervened, the phrases have been out. “Simply curious, would we have now sufficient stone left to do a rest room upstairs?”

“Let’s look,” she mentioned.

We stood there, two giants, surveying the scenario. “You’ve gotten greater than sufficient stone,” mentioned the counter lady, who has been doing this for 30 years. “Builders don’t do these child-high sinks anymore,” she added. “Youngsters develop up.”

“In the meantime, they’ll use a stool,” I mentioned.

Then, as if studying my thoughts, she eliminated one venture impediment after one other. The identical contractor who can be doing the carpentry work within the kitchen may take away the present counter and lift the self-importance to plain top. Her firm may present new porcelain basins. We may reuse the present (once more barely used) chrome taps.

The price counts

This was beginning to make sense, however the sinking concern remained. How a lot? She labored up a worth. To make and set up the quartzite counters and backsplash, $850, together with sinks. For the carpenter’s half, to take away the outdated counter and mirror, elevate the present double self-importance 5 inches, put in a brand new toe kick, and reconnect the taps as soon as new counters have been in, $875.

My coronary heart was skipping. I imply, when was the final time a house design venture value lower than you thought? What’s extra, I wouldn’t be destroying a wonderfully good self-importance, or throwing away good stone. Plus, I had each the employees and the supplies in hand. On this day of provide chain delays and labor shortages, when that occurs, you seize the second.

I had just one hurdle left. “Honey?” I approached my husband. “So long as we’re …”

Taking over a further residence enchancment when you find yourself in the midst of one other one generally is a huge, costly mistake. However not at all times. Right here’s what to contemplate subsequent time these 4 little phrases cross your thoughts:

THINK IT THROUGH: Watch out of creating impulsive transforming strikes. If the venture is one you’ve been fascinated with and desirous to do, however the timing or worth haven’t been proper till now, think about going for it.

KNOW THE COSTS AND SCOPE: Be certain you’ve gotten an excellent deal with on the labor and materials prices to your current venture in addition to the brand new one earlier than you begin. So prices don’t spiral, know earlier than you commit what you have to to purchase, what you may reuse, and who will do the work for the way a lot.

HAVE WORKERS AND MATERIALS IN HAND: An enormous upside to doing two tasks without delay is effectivity. Staff can do the work at one time. When you’ve got trusted contractors able to go, and the supplies can be found, you might come out forward in time, cash and problem.

KEEP DISRUPTION TO A MINIMUM: Suppose twice earlier than tearing up an excessive amount of of your private home without delay. The inconvenience might not be value it, particularly if it’s a must to transfer out.

DOES THE IMPROVEMENT FIT THE HOME?: Be certain the replace will combine with the remainder of the home. Adjustments have to harmonize or the upgrades will look misplaced.

DOES THE IMPROVEMENT FIT THE NEIGHBORHOOD?: If resale worth issues, and it ought to even for those who’re not planning to maneuver, then be sure your neighborhood can assist your private home enchancment. You by no means wish to be one of the best home on the block. Nonetheless, if everybody round you has up to date their decades-old kitchens however you, you could wish to step as much as meet market norms. 

Marni Jameson is the creator of six residence and way of life books. She might be reached at www.marnijameson.com.

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