Here we go! We have a general contractor (GC) lined up to do the Big Scary Remodel we’ve been discussing for years. This is a two story house addition for the lake house, of the garage and the kitchen above it. The hardest parts of this have been lining up the GC — they’ve all been crazy busy the last few years — and just making the decision to spend this much money. Assuming we stick to budget (ha!) it will cost just under what we paid for the entire townhouse we live in, and more than either of the other two houses we’ve owned (both bought before housing prices skyrocketed in the 2000s, though).

We are expanding the garage (it’s a tandem one and we’re lengthening it) because we have a bunch of boats in it (kayaks and rowing shells) and would like to get a car in too. Also Ted does his woodworking in there and has been getting space limited. Above it we are likewise expanding the kitchen, because the one we have now is nice to look at and nice to cook in, but has no place to store food. Also, though we have a great deck, there’s nowhere to sit inside and enjoy the lake view when the weather is too crappy to sit outside, so the expanded kitchen will include a breakfast area by the big windows. I think we’ll mostly end up heating here, rather than in the dining room. Ted (and his parents, when they or we are visiting) tend to linger over meals until I get tired of sitting at a table, so my goal here will be to find the most comfortable chairs I can. I like hanging out and talking, just not sitting upright at a table. Once everything is back in place after the remodel, assuming we aren’t impoverished, I may also get club chairs and a lower table to put in the great room area, which currently holds only a library table, plus two low bookshelves flanking a china cabinet. That area may be more comfortable for me to sit and read and knit on rainy or cold afternoons … and maybe I can lure people from the table to there after dinner.

It has been difficult, deciding to do this. There were cheaper alternatives to reach some of our goals: we could turn the great room into a seating area by just buying furniture (which I will probably do anyway, as mentioned above), and turning a niche in the dining room into a small pantry. But this is the house we plan to move into as soon as we retire and live there until we can’t anymore, in addition to spending weekends there in the nearer term. I think we will get a lot of pleasure out of these additions. I’ll get a second oven for holiday meal cooking and a better stove. The current kitchen only allows either a cabinet-depth or a quite small fridge, so this will let us have a normal one. We’ll replace the formica counters with something prettier.

I am liking working with this contractor too; we wanted a carriage door into the garage, because an overhead door cuts into the boat storage space, but those are very expensive so we’d settled on a roll-up door. He’s found us a wood roll-up door, which should look a lot better than a metal one while still not taking up too much overhead space. He’s also found that it’s possible to match the beautiful wood flooring we currently have in the kitchen and great room – we hadn’t thought that was doable, so we were going to go with tile. I think the wood will feel better underfoot, be softer for when we drop things, and give a warmer look to the space, which is important on gray Oregon days.

I will try to get some good as-is photos when we’re there this weekend, so I can document the whole process. Now, off to draft the most tactful email I can to the contractor we didn’t pick.