Friday, February 11, 2011

Should we stay or should we go?

When Mr. W bought this house in 2000 he intended it to be his starter home and to stay here for 10 years. Well, that time line has passed and he has house fever and is often bring home fliers or sending me links to real estate listings. The problem is that after I moved in and we started making renovations to the bungalow, I got it into my head that we shouldn't move. The location is great, albeit we should have a driveway, and the bungalow is a great size for two people so once we become empty nesters; we wouldn't have to move again. I really hate moving! When I was in high school and my parents moved us from our bungalow in Irvington to our new construction house in Sylvan I acted as if they had ruined my life. Since I was going to St. Mary's I didn't have to even have to change schools, but crossing the river was so traumatic for me.
So back to our current bungalow, I designed all of our renovations with our permanent residence in mind. All that money spent on Bradbury wallpapers, bought with my discount because I was working. All the money spent stripping the near century of lead paint from the originally stained fir woodwork. The extra thick cork tiles in the nursery and hall so that they could be refinished in the future. Switching out the perfectly fine, but mauve vinyl tile in the upper bath for ceramic hex tile. Not to mention the custom built-ins in the nursery. I don't think of houses as investment properties; rather I see them as living , breathing entities that need love. But if wee sell this house would we get anything back from all that we have put into it? Do others even see the value in these things?
My thought was we would convert the basement to living space. We'd add another bedroom, make a proper laundry room, a tv room with a bar which would act as a second kitchen, a wine cellar for Mr. W, and a powder bath with a urinal in it (also at Mr. W's request). Over the years as I designed the basement in my head I realized that in order to have legal access to the basement we'd have to reconfigure the stairs. I decided a small one story addition which would include a breakfast nook and mudroom would allow for the extra space needed for wider stairs. The future basement conversion is what drove all my remodeling decisions in the house. Plus why would Mr. W want to move me now? I was almost halfway finished with this house, did he really want to start all over from scratch in another? Why would he want to do that to himself?
As a way to prevent a future move I created an elaborate list of features that would be required in a new house in order to tempt me to move:
1) A garage, or at least off street parking
2) A fireplace in the master bedroom
3) A butler's pantry (we've got a whole lot of china, glassware, and dishes)
4) A functional sleeping porch
5) Original, stained woodwork (I don't want to live through the process of stripping again)
I assumed these requirements would make it difficult to find thus preventing a move. But somehow Mr. W finds all kinds of houses that meet them. And the more he sends me links to great, old houses, the more I vacillate on my decision to stay here and remodel. Some of these houses are really awesome! More space could really come in handy, especially now that I have two sons and I envision two teenage boys clomping around upstairs in the bungalow.
We've always been of the mindset that it would be fine to have our children share bedrooms. Large families were raised in these modest working class homes, there is no reason why we need to obsess over having a separate room for each child now. In fact, a smaller house would help us cut down on acquiring too much stuff. But boys are big, and what if they have sleep overs? While I have added lots of built-in drawers to their room, there is no closet. Will sloping dormer ceilings, two beds, two desks, and two teenage boys be compatible? We really want a third child so the middle bedroom upstairs, which is currently Mr. W's home office, would function just fine for one child but two others would have to share the current nursery. Unless we move our bedroom downstairs to either the current tv room or the proposed basement bedroom, which means that Mr. W may lose his office.
So many variables! It is such a big decision to make. I just wish I could look into the future to see what is the right choice.


  1. I have also redesign my bungalow, so I hope your experience would be helpful for me. cork tile flooring

  2. We used Expanko cork tiles which I purchased from Environmental Building Supply. Thy have since changed their store name to Ecohaus.