HOW TO RENOVATE THE SMALLER HOME FOR OUR COMFORT

This is the first of hopefully many blogs I hope to share. If you wish to have a topic discussed, please send me a message and I will do what I can to write about it.
JFF BLOG #1 10/6/16
HOW TO RENOVATE THE SMALLER HOME FOR OUR COMFORT
THROUGHOUT THE 1950’S AND 60’S THE TREND WAS TO CREATE COMFORTABLE, QUAINT MULTI-BEDROOM HOMES PERFECTLY SIZED FOR POST WAR OCCUPANTS. WE AS A SOCIETY DID NOT REQUIRE A GREAT DEAL OF SPACE AND WE DID NOT, NOR COULD NOT AFFORD THE PALATIAL HOMES OF OUR FOREFATHERS SO THE DEMAND CAME TO CREATE A SMALL SIZEABLE ALTERNATIVE BUT IN MASS QUANTITIES. WHY, BECAUSE THEY WERE EASY AND CHEAP TO BUILD. FAST FORWARD TO THE 80’S AND OUR LUST FOR BIG AND VACUOUS. THIS TREND CREATED A LOT OF BUSINESS FOR ARCHITECTS BECAUSE EVERYONE WANTED EITHER TO OUTDO THEIR NEIGHBOR OR SIMPLY WANTED IT TO JUST HAVE IT…THE BIGGER THE BETTER.

THIS TREND SEEMED TO COUNTER THE PHILOSOPHY OF MOST ARCHITECTS. WE STRIVE TO CREATE THE CREATIVE SPACES THAT FLOW INTO EACH OTHER WHILE EMBELLISHING DETAIL IN OTHER FORMS. THE LEVEL OF DETAIL DIRECTLY CORRESPONDS TO THE TYPE OF HOUSE EXISTING OR THE MANIFESTATION OF THE CLIENT’S NEEDS. THE CLEVER ADDITION OR RENOVATION IS ROOTED IN THE FAMILY NEEDS. WHETHER THIS IS A RESPONSE TO A GROWING FAMILY OR THE NEWLY PURCHASED DOWNSIZING OF THE EMPTY NESTER. WE HAVE HAD OUR SHARE OF BOTH AND EACH OFFER UNIQUE CHALLENGES AND SUCCESSES.

THE ADDITION FOR THE GROWING FAMILY IN SOME WAYS IS SIMPLER AND NOTABLE FOR A FUTURE BLOG. TODAY WE FOCUS ON THE MORE CHALLENGING EXERCISE OF CREATING “THAT” SPACE THAT SERVES TO TRANSFORM OUR LIVES…THE ONE THAT MAKES OUR HOME “THE” HOME FOR THE AGES….

I START BY ASKING OUR CLIENTS…IF YOU HAD A MILLION DOLLARS, WHAT WOULD YOU CHANGE ABOUT YOUR HOME? THAT OFTEN LEADS TO THE …I WOULD MOVE…RESPONSE. THAT SAID, THE INITIAL QUESTION HAS MORE TO DO WITH DISPENSING WITH OUR PRE-CONCEIVED NOTION OF DESIGN AND WHAT WILL WORK TO SOLVE OUR ISSUES TALK. OFTEN TIME THE EMPTY NESTERS NEED ONLY A WALL OR TWO REMOVED AND COMBINE SPACE TO MAKE THIS HOME “PERFECT” (IS THERE EVER A THING?). BELIEVE IT OR NOT, THIS SOMETIMES WORKS FOR THE GROWING FAMILY TOO! MANY A DISCUSSION BEGINS WITH TALKING OF AN ADDITION TO THE HOME ONLY TO FIND AN IGNORED SPACE THAT REMAINS PERFECTLY POSITIONED FOR ALTERATION INTO THE VERY FOOTAGE THEY WANTED IN AN ADDITION.

WHEN FIRST APPROACHING THIS TASK, THE PURPOSE OF THE SPACE IS THE OBVIOUS BEGINNING. ARE WE OPENING A WALL TO ALLOW A KITCHEN TO EXPAND OR CREATING THE MASTER SUITE THAT OFFERS THE CHALLENGE? THE TWO ARE QUITE DIFFERENT IN USE, OBVIOUSLY, BUT QUITE SIMILAR IN APPROACH. WE OFTEN TAKE THAT UNUSED BEDROOM SPACE THAT WOULD QUALIFY MORE AS A CLOSET VERSUS A BEDROOM BUT THE REALTOR SWORE THERE WERE FIVE CHILDREN SLEEPING IN THAT ROOM FOR TWENTY YEARS….THAT PERHAPS WAS TRUE IN THE 50’S BUT NOT TODAY. SO, THE FIRST QUESTION HERE IS IF THIS BEDROOM CAN BE SACRIFICED AND WILL IT REALLY IMPACT MY RESALE. THE ANSWER IS YES, IT WILL IMPACT THE RESALE BY LIMITING YOUR MARKET SHARE, BUT WHAT IF THE NEXT EMPTY NESTER COMES IN OR THE COUPLE THAT HAS YET TO START A FAMILY THAT NEEDS ONLY A TWO BEDROOM VERSUS A THREE…OBVIOUSLY EACH SITUATION IS UNIQUE BUT THE ANSWER SHOULD BE NOT TO WORRY UNNECESSARILY ABOUT THE NEXT OWNER OF YOUR HOME BUT RATHER YOUR NEEDS ARE SATISFIED…YOU ARE, AFTER ALL, PAYING THE BILL!! THAT IS NOT TO SAY THROW CAUTION TO THE WIND BUT IS THAT THIRD, HALF-SIZED BEDROOM REALLY TO BRING THE ADDITIONAL 100k MORE THAN THAT MASTER SUITE? AGAIN, EACH SITUATION IS DIFFERENT BUT THAT IS A GOOD QUESTION TO HAVE ANSWERED IN YOUR THOUGHTS. ESPECIALLY IF THE NEWLY RENOVATED HOME WILL BE THE PLACE YOU EITHER RETIRE TO HAPPY ACRES OR SIMPLY THE GREEN GRASS ABOVE!! FYI THAT THIRD BEDROOM NORMALLY TRANSFORMS INTO A KILLER DRESSING ROOM AND MASTER BATH ENSUITE!!

JUMPING TO THE KITCHEN…NORMALLY THE KITCHENS IN THE 1950’S RANCH ARE TOO SMALL TO CHANGE YOUR MIND LET ALONE CREATE A MEAL. THEY USUALLY HAVE A DINING SPACE THAT IS REALLY TOO SMALL FOR DINING FOR EIGHT BUT IF THE TWO ARE COMBINED THEN WE NOW HAVE THE CHANCE TO MAKE THAT SOCIAL SPACE FITTING FOR A NIGHT OF ENTERTAINING GUESTS. TODAY WE ARE ACCUSTOMED TO SOCIALIZING WHILE WE PREPARE. GONE ARE THE DAYS OF THE DINNER COATS AND COOKING SMOCKS. WE LIKE TO SHOW OFF OUR COOKING PROWESS AS THE NEXT GIADA OR BOBBY FLAY….THIS USUALLY LEADS TO A DISCUSSION OF THE FAMILY MEAL AND WHETHER IT IS A WEEKLY, MONTHLY OR TWICE ANNUAL EVENT FOR HOLIDAYS. IF THE LATTER, THEN NORMALLY THE CONVERSION TABLE SUFFICES FOR THOSE FEW TIMES. IF THE WEEKLY OR MONTHLY EVENTS ARE MORE IN STEP THEN WE LOOK TO CREATE THE MULTI-LEVEL COUNTERS THAT SERVE AS A TABLE OR AN ERGONOMICALLY COMFORTABLE SPACE FOR KNEADING DOUGH. COUPLED WITH A HIGH TOP FOR THE SERVICE OF A CHOICE ZINFANDEL WILL HAVE YOUR GUESTS OFFERING YELP REVIEWS FOR ALL YOUR FRIENDS AND NEIGHBORS.

THE POINT TO ALL OF THIS IS TO HAVE FUN WITH WHAT YOU HAVE. LOOK SERIOUSLY AT THE NEEDS OF YOUR FAMILY AND SEE WHAT YOU MAY BE ABLE TO SACRIFICE IN ORDER TO HAVE THE SPACE YOU ALWAYS WANTED. CONSIDER THAT EVEN THOUGH THEY WILL LEAVE, THE KIDS OFTEN COME BACK BUT FOR HOW LONG? AGAIN, EACH SITUATION IS DIFFERENT BUT MORE COMMON THAN YOU MAY THINK. THIS BLOG ONLY HOPES TO SERVE AS A MENU TO THE QUESTIONS YOU NEED TO ASK…NOT NECESSARILY HAVE ANSWERED…BEFORE YOU ENGAGE AN ARCHITECT. IF YOU HAVE NOT DONE YOUR HOMEWORK AS SUGGESTED, THE PROFESSIONAL SITTING BEFORE YOU SHOULD BE ASKING YOU THESE QUESTIONS. IF NOT, THEN PERHAPS SET UP ANOTHER APPOINTMENT WITH ANOTHER….I AM ALWAYS AVAILABLE!!

…UNTIL OUR NEXT PEN…I HOPE TO SEE YOU IN YOUR HOMES….

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