August, 2017

The decision to remodel is a difficult one. Determining the best solution to fit your short-term and long-term needs can be even more challenging. When considering multiple improvements to your home, is it best to do them all at once, or individually over time? It depends on the nature of the remodels, their proximity to each other, financial capacity and tolerance for disruption.

InterviewJoel and Christine Cherkis came to us requesting an addition to their home. “We had a lot of space in the back yard that wasn’t being utilized,” reported Joel “So we initially envisioned taking down the back wall to make our kitchen bigger”. Although their home had no restrictions for their vision to expand, it was determined that an ‘interior addition’ would be better suited for how they intended to live in their home.

When additional space is required, the natural instinct is to build an addition. Most requests for additions are for the kitchen, living and dining room areas with access to outdoor living. They are often the only solution for creating a master suite on the main floor, or increasing garage space. But additions are expensive and resource intensive. For homes built on properties with steep slopes, wetlands or zero lot line, they can be impossible. In this particular case study, the cost savings of not building an addition (excavation, foundation, drainage, walls, floor, ceiling, roof, windows, doors, etc.) was applied to the future outdoor living space.

Kitchen beforeIn this case, the dining room wasn’t being used in the traditional sense, so it became a natural solution for nearly doubling the size of the adjacent kitchen. During the design process, windows and exterior doors were relocated to accommodate a future outdoor living area. Designing both areas at the same time helped visualize the eventual integration of multiple construction phases. Christine reports, “Doing each project separately gave us the opportunity to focus on the details of that area. I don’t think we would have gotten the same results if we had taken on both projects at once.”

“The scariest part,” Christine continued, “was putting in a beam where the interior bearing wall used to be.” Making a family of five feel comfortable during a major renovation takes logistical planning and a great deal of courtesy. Creating a plan for security, weatherization, parking, material staging and debris helps increase trust and reduce stress. In many ways, the experience is as important as the results.