Thursday, January 2, 2014

Renovation Roundup

I felt like I had one or two images of our master bedroom renovation, and I found them in this opening post on the subject.

Sandwich those images in the middle of my recent post about the finished project, and that's about as much of a visual as I can give.

But I felt the need to underscore some points about the project.

Amanda and I were fortunate to be able to afford the renovations. We re-financed our mortgage because I was retiring, and the rates were incredibly low. We also had a number of folks that put their hands in their pockets to help out.

To save on labor costs with the construction firm, friends demolished the old bathroom for us. Definitely not something that should be done without the advice of someone with experience in the building trades; structural load, electrical  concerns, plumbing concerns, and heat and AC concerns should be approached with particular care. From a budget standpoint, a screw up during any stage equals more money. Still, demo is fun and cathartic!

The cost of our materials was very reasonable. A personal contact was key for us. Not everyone has close ties with a building materials supplier, but there are other option...some states and even some NGOs offer grants or low interest rate loans for home modifications. Sadly, I don't have a list of these programs, but I would strongly recommend asking your doctors for advice - this aint their first rodeo.

We were fortunate with the layout of our home. Firstly, it's a single-story property, so simple ramps made the property accessible. Secondly, we had an extra bedroom. We stayed in our old bedroom while work continued on the renovation. A simple plastic sheet really kept the level of disruption to a minimum.

The renovated bedroom/bathroom/closet/entrance space turned out to be a previous renovation to convert a garage to a master suite. When we removed the en-suite floor we discovered the crawl space was a finished concrete slab. Looking at the window placement, we are pretty sure the windows are where the garage door used to be.  ... All of which meant that the guys doing the work had very good access to the entire space, which saves a lot of  time for construction workers.

My last bit of advice is rather bitter. Depending on your circumstances, and the rate at which your symptoms progress, a renovation may not be the best bang for your buck. Maybe a luxury trip, as an example, would be better. Or a trip to see old friends. Or notch something off your bucket list.

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