2.15.2006

extreme makeover - row home edition

for those of you who don't know, sean and I own a row home in a philadelphia suburb. it is our first house, and we'd never buy it again today if we knew what we know now about it. as you do know, we just got a new heater, which is a nice thing for when we want to sell. it got us to thinking about all the other projects that we want or need to do in order to maximize our living arrangements and, ultimately, to sell it to some other unsuspecting yahoo.

we know we need to get some sort of home equity loan or line of credit in order to finance everything we want and need - a new stove (a need), a new deck (a want), to finish the kitchen, etc. and when it comes to matters of the wallet, specifically having to do with our home, we pretty much have to consult with my father. not because he holds the purse strings or anything (I wish) but because that's the way it has to be done.

my dad and I have a great relationship. now. growing up, let's say we didn't see eye to eye. not that I had alot of interaction with him. he and my mom were usually too busy with hating each other, loudly, or ignoring each other, pointedly, to have much to do with me. he has always been very opinionated and very controlling, and though he's softened quite a bit, there's still a little of that mean old dad in him. and of everyone I know, he knows the most about how to handle money. he'll definitely want to help us figure things out, but only if he's ultimately calling the shots.

(and by the way, that is the nicest, most understated paragraph about my father and his termperment and my childhood that I think I could possibly write. I'm kind of proud of myself.)

so I figured I'd broach the subject with my dad over the phone when he called - again - to ask how the heater was working and if I got my money's worth. I knew I wanted a deck and a new stove so I told him that sean and I were thinking of looking into home equity loans. and then I braced myself. I quickly added, "ofcoursewewanttoaskyouropinionfirst" before anything bad could be said. he did agree and then said something really quite extraordinary. he suggested that we put a new addition on our house.

I was floored. I mean, I always wanted to do that (we have room to build overtop of our kitchen - we'd have to bust out the back wall of our house and move our bathroom but it so totally could happen) but I honestly thought he'd laugh at me if I mentioned it. and I'm positive that he would have if I did, as this kind of thing usually has to start with him or it's not a good idea, if you know what I mean. but having his support of it without my even bringing it up was really exciting.

sean's not quite on board, and we'd have to make sure that we weren't fixing our house up so much that we'd never recoup our investment, but I can't tell you how great it would be to have a bigger, newer, more non-life-threateningly-wired bedroom than the extremely tiny one we have now. and a new bathroom? fageddaboudit. I'd be in heaven.

anyways, this weekend, we're going over to my dad's to discuss the pros and cons. I put together a list of all the things that need to be done to the house - it's 35 items long. I categorized them as big ticket, contractor, and DIY. there's not a ton of big ticket stuff, but a nice amount of contractor (ie, we can't do it ourselves) stuff and a long list of DIY (meaning I have to do it.) but when it's all done...we'll be living in paradise.

I can dream.

9 validations:

Missuz J said...

We're in the middle of the EXACT same thing. We've done a few home improvements, and are trying to decide if we should do what we can, when we can, or go for the gusto, hire a contractor, and just go for it--adding a bedroom, bathroom, and laundry room.

Everytime E brings it up, I just change the subject. It's too scary to even think about!

NME said...

WOW! That is so exciting. An addition. That would be amazing. Can't wait to hear all the details.

And excellent job of the very mild description of the Dad dynamic.

We need to make a list like that someday. I have a dream one in my head but it will be a few years.

~A~ said...

Isn't home ownership fun. My honey and I were out today looking at new houses because we want to build, or at least get a half way decent modular on here. The one we're in now is 33 years old and pointless in trying to "fix" up let alone add on.

Good luck to you. I hope that everything works out.

Rebecca said...

Hey Patrice-- I would have emailed you this but I don't have your address. You mentioned that you'd like to see owls but wouldn't know where to look. I don't know how serious you were, but in case you're interested, here is Rebecca's tip on owling: they like pine trees. To see them during the day, find a grove of tall evergreens and look for them sitting close to the trunk.

The main way I know of to see them at night is to play a tape of owl noises/make owl noises yourself, if you can. I haven't done this, but apparently they answer you. You might be able to find a nature center or something that puts on owl programs.

Ta-da! That is my entire knowledge of the subject. Good luck with the remodeling.

lonna said...

The idea of really working on a house scares me so much. My parents always live in houses until they fall apart. Then they move and let someone else deal with it. I can't even imagine who would buy their current piece of crap, I mean house.

If you have the nerve to go forth, good for you. I hope that everything works out and it looks beautiful and is comfortable too.

Stine said...

Man, do they cover all these things you have to know in "First time homebuyers class"?

That's great you have your dad's support, difficult as he may be.

OldMotherHubbardSharesAll said...

Gotta say the most fun I have ever had was "redoing" a house for a mission home at our previous church. My best friend and I did probably 75% of the work and enjoyed it very much (except the deadline part). I guess the best part of it all was that we were given a Home Depot credit card by the owner of the home (a very very wealthy widow) and told to make the house livable.

We cleaned out furniture and attic crap that had been in a unlived in for over 10 years home. Painted, stripped and redid all the hardwood floors (best friend and my husband). Redid the cabinets (contractor). Retiled the kitchen, revitalized (cleaned and oiled) the paneling in the family room. Bought all new appliances. All this in less than 60 days.

Was really fun but only because someone else was footing the bill and no one was trying to live in the house while we worked.

Jaws said...

Must be a the season for home improvemnts. Been spending the weekends at my friends trying to help her with her new sunroom. Honestly I think am just in the way though.

TD said...

Maybe we'll just add on to our house vicariously through you.

Seriously, good luck. I know what a huge, complicated decision it is. I also know how appealing it can be, especially if your current living space is less than stellar.