Monday, 1 October 2012

We Have To Be Crazy Right?

Lately Roge and I have been house hunting for a brick "suburban home". Not because we don't love our current house but it's only two bedroom and although we could make do, I guess I've been thinking that having a little more space (especially if another child comes along) would be handy.

So I've been on for weeks, hassling poor real estate agents to take us through house after house. Each looks great in the photos but each is disappointing in reality. The last straw was last week when we saw yet another disappointing house which needed a full renovation and yet was already in the top of our ideal price bracket. At wits end, we decided to find a way to extend our existing house and create the space we need without moving.

An obvious thought you may think but alas, not as easy as it sounds. You see, we've made the house really really nice as is, and I guess I don't want to spend money undoing the good work (and money) we've already done.

Other factors to consider are that our house is not North facing and therefore doesn't get the best amount of sun through the day (brrr, can be cold). It's also weatherboard and needs painting every 7-10 years. The pros outweigh these issues though. It's in a location that we love, it's already the way we like it and we've only recently put a new double garage on the side of it. Plus, by not moving we've saved  in sale and purchase costs.

So in a nutshell, it's lacking is a bit of afternoon sun and a third bedroom. Our builder mate tells us, we can put a few new windows on the North facing side of the building (tick to getting more sun) and if we want a new bedroom, he can either build one in the roof HOWEVER for the same price as doing just that one room, he could do us a third bedroom AND ensuite for the same price if we keep the extension on one level by extending into the back yard.

Keen to put some ideas to paper, I've been starting some sketches:

So much to consider and today I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed by it. The first plan I've done seems to be the option that will flow the best and will be the cheaper option however, I'm still undecided. I like looking out my back doors into my yard and this design will not allow me to do that any more.

My friend Liv has also weighed in:

Hmmm, I don't mind the second design, that might work?

Anyhoo, as you can see I've got plenty to think about. This is a big decision and one I want to get right if we're going to stay here indefinitely.

On the plus side, by doing the research before putting pen to paper, I've saved quite a bit of money. The cost of selling exiting house and buying a new one I estimate to cost about $25K and by getting the builder involved now, I've saved a few thousand on engineers fees (because we won't need one if we extend into the back yard) and lastly, my Grand-dad is going to do the building drawings for council for us, thus saving us another $3500 (which I had priced by a professional drafter).

Exciting times ahead as you can see but when isn't it at our place!


  1. I think it's great that you're considering expanding your current house - aside from anything else, it'll increase the value of the property for when you do decide to sell in the future (if). I can see that you wouldn't want to block the view from the lounge room, it'd be good to avoid that. I haven't seen it so, is it built on a slope? Just wondering about the "lower level" bit. That wouldn't make it completely out of sight would it (drawing #3). Lifting the roof up to build on top would solve all those problems of course but I can understand that that would be hugely expensive. Where is your house, by the way?

    1. Not a big slope but enough of a slope that the back of the house is quite high up, and I thought that it might be better to lower the extension closer to ground level to maximise sun onto the deck. However I have since spoken to the builder again who said it would be best to keep the extension at the same level as the rest of it and said it wouldn't save much sun by doing it my way. I'm still considering doing the extension in the roof, just for the sun factor...

      So it's still very much a work in progress and I must admit I'm ignoring it/having a break from it for a few days cos otherwise I don't sleep, I keep on thinking about it all night!!

      We're in West Launceston, it's a great area and good schools etc.