Sunday, December 5, 2010

Should We Stay Or Should We Go?

Our family is currently in a predicament; the four of us have outgrown our two-bedroom house.  Should we renovate the house we have or move to a bigger place?

Matt and I labor over our big decisions for a long time.  It took us a year to find our living room couch and even longer to find a bedroom set that had just the right design.  We met with an amazing architect team over the summer and became very inspired to design our dream house.  However, further reflection brought to light that a complete home renovation would uproot our family for the better part of half a year.  It seems that we seem set to renovate on week and flip-flop to move the next week.  When faced with such a quandary we have to make a pro/con list. 

What we love about our home
1.  The sun porch - It definitely does not get used as much as it should.  We especially love summer evenings with all the sliding doors open and cold winter mornings when sunlight bathes the room is amazing heat.  It feels surreal to eat breakfast out in the snow!

2.  The bay window -This is the best place for the kids to play once they could stand independently.  Cars and trucks roll effortlessly from one end to the other, a spot to wave hello and goodbye to family and friends, additional seating for entertaining, the spot for Santa's cookie plate.

3.  This is everyone's first house - This is the first house we bought together.  I vividly remember the day we saw and bought this house.  It was very scary and exciting all at the same time.  M & G also know no other house.  We brought them home from the hospital to this house, and I will be sad the day we leave knowing that so many memories were made here.  Holidays, parties, projects, togetherness, bring on the tissue the day we leave this place. 

4.  Our lot - Our house is situated on a curve so we benefit from being the second largest lot on our street.  This provides us with an obnoxious amount of space for a potential expansion.  We could practically build our house again in the backyard and still be within the village guidelines for renovation.   

5.  Location, location, location - We are in the perfect spot to catch the train into the city, walkable to our town's downtown, fast access to the expressway, M's school is in the neighborhood.  We have looked at other neighborhoods in our city, and, in our opinion, none compare with what we have.  There may be one neighborhood that comes close, but it's the one I work in and that's a conflict of interest. 

6.  The master bedroom - Our house was originally built as a three bedroom ranch.  Long ago someone decided to remove the wall between two of the bedrooms to make a large master.  Along with the sun porch, this helped to seal the deal on this house.  We have a four-piece bedroom set along with a dresser for G and other miscellaneous items.  I could not imagine being in a smaller bedroom. 

7.  The whole house fan - The most amazing solution, ever.  This keeps us cool in the summer when we're not quite ready to turn on the air.  It also saves our noses when dinner does not turn out so well and we need to evacuate the smell, fast.  I also have great memories of Matt up on the ladder laying the ugly orange sleeping bag over it for winter insulation.

8.  East/West exposure - No matter the time of year the sun greets us in the kitchen and dining room in the morning and says good night in the living room and master bedroom in the evening.

9.  Our yard - Matt has spent countless hours and dollars on making our yard beautiful.  I have to say that it's the best on the block.  So much thought and care has been put into what plants to buy and how to care for them.  We are also blessed that our house is flanked by two huge oak trees.  They block the sun at the height of the day allowing us to stay cool while others are boiling in their houses. 

10.  The noises - Our house has personality that can be seen, heard, and smelled.  The furnace makes a distinct "thud" when it turns off, the slotted cover on whole house fan has to shake violently before it pops open (I suppose some WD-40 would solve that, but it's been 10 years why change now?), the nails of the squirrels as the jump from the oak trees to the roof over our master bedroom, and the dry, chalky smell of the air conditioning the first few uses of the year.  Finally, the squeaks in the floor.  We have learned where to step in the kids' room so we can still check on them while not waking them.  The front door......  the outlets that pop....... the cracks in the garage.....

What we dislike about our home

1.  The neighbors - I won't go into detail, but they are prime candidates for many, many reality shows.  Super Nanny, for one - 'Nuff said.

What we would like out of a new home
1.  Closer location to downtown of our current city - At our current house we can walk to downtown, but it's a haul.  The kids could ride bikes, but I would guess they would not be making it back unless one of us forged ahead to get the car.  Our downtown has changed a lot, maybe not for the better, since we moved in but there is still a draw.  I'd love to walk to the summer concerts and take the kids to the fountain more often.

2.  Four bedrooms - the kids need their own space and Nana should not have to sleep on the Aero Bed when she comes to visit.

3.  An office for Matt - Now that he works from home a lot more it is important that he can "leave work" at the end of the day.

4.  A dedicated space for my stuff (or crap as Matt calls it) - Currently the dining room table and the counter are the first drop spot for my stuff.  Not too appealing for everyone else.

What we could get out of a new house and the potential pitfalls

1.  We could find a place closer to our downtown

2.  Houses closer to downtown in our price range will absolutely need renovation.

3.  We'd have to rent a house or apartment during the renovation (which we'd have to do for a house renovation)

4.  We could wait forever for a house on the market that is a good starting point for a renovation.

As I said we labor over decisions for a long time.  I have a feeling it's going to still be a while....Stay tuned!


  1. I say move and only because I know your neighbors. If you do decide to renovate, I know someone that rented a house and could get you the info. The house is located near South.

  2. It's not an easy decision. We have a pretty equal pro/con list going.