The finer details of hauling one's husband and three children across the seas
A not particularly informative Thumbprints update.


Phillip and I have kind of sort of decided that we maybe might be able to remodel our bathroom next spring and the kitchen the year or two after that. Or we could reverse it - kitchen first - except I potentially want to do way more with the kitchen than I want to do with the bathroom, and the bathroom feels like a nice smaller (but not small) project to do first. Possibly? 

Also I went to see my friend's brand new freaking ginormous house last night and now I want a massive island in my kitchen JUST LIKE HER. 


I need some help. Or ideas. Or experience.

1. We are hiring out. Everything. ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING. That being said:

2. How do we go about it? 

I have purchased myself a membership to Angie's List and I have a reasonable list of highly rated contractors and remodeling companies to contact for bids. My questions are more about what I want them to DO on their first visit to my house. 

Because for both the kitchen and the bathroom, there's the Smaller, Keep The General Footprint remodel and then there's the Hey, We Found A Money Tree, Let's Make This Amazing remodel. Except the Amazing remodel we would need, like, significant design help. I wouldn't be able to say, "This is exactly where we want things to go," because I'm not sure if it's even possible for those things to GO there. You know? 

So when I invite someone over to give me a bid... can I ask those things? All the companies we're looking at come with design service. And I feel like I would have to ask about BOTH, because even though we plan to do the kitchen second, if it turns out it doesn't make sense to change the footprint, then I'd have more money to potentially do the bigger remodel on the bathroom. Right? 

Are my remodelers going to hate me before I even hire them? 

Am I worrying too much about wanting them to not thing I'm crazy? 

Do I hire a kitchen designer separately from all this? Find that out first? I would prefer to go crazy on the kitchen as opposed to the bathroom. Phillip might feel differently, but let's be honest, I will win this conversation. 

The simple plans:

BATHROOM: Keep the existing space, but divide it so that there is a small powder room with a door to the hallway and a bigger-but-not-much-bigger master bath with a door to the master bedroom. (Right now it's a jack and jill into the master and hallway. Annoying.) 

KITCHEN: Keep the existing footprint, but gut. New everything. 

The not so simple plans:

BATHROOM: Divide the current bathroom to create a small powder room and master bathroom, but add pointless hallway space plus master closet to create a Big Master Bath/Closet. Would require moving the bedroom DOOR. Not the best idea, but would be interesting to see how a professional would make it work. 

KITCHEN: Gut. Take down a half wall and post. Create brand new kitchen and kitchen table area with expanded opened space. Potentially makes a lot more room for dining AND opens up the space for parties and gatherings. 

I've read a lot of places that "kitchens are usually designed a certain way because THAT'S THE WAY THAT MAKES SENSE" but you guys, my house is weird. WEIRD. There MIGHT be possibilities. I would like to find out! For kicks! And potentially thousands of dollars!

I just... I want to ask all my questions, but I am afraid of looking stupid. Which, okay, really really eye rolly thing to worry about, but this is my hang up about absolutely everything. Is there anything you can share with me to make me look less stupid? Maybe? 



You don't have to meet the contractors with an exact idea of what you want, especially since all your options include design services. Lots of people have only vague ideas. (Mine currently is "I want to knock that wall down and add more storage.") It is perfectly OK to tell the potential person that you have a couple general ideas and would like some input on any obvious potential issues (like: you can't take the post down b/c it's holding up the roof. That kind of thing). You can then ask for a quote for the simple project and the not-so-simple project. You should then add on another 25% AT LEAST mentally because things always end up being more expensive once you start choosing finishes etc. If you need design services, they will wrap that into the quote for you.

Don't panic! :)


We found our contractor (who has worked in many projects for us) through friends. We loved how he did their basement so we hired him to do ours 8 years ago. If you ask local friends, I'm sure they will tell you who is good and who to stay away from. I drive him a little crazy, I'm sure with all my ideas and questions but I think they are used to it. As for your kitchen, ask if it can be rearranged. Why should you have to stick with someone else's plan when you it could be improved.
Of course, we will want pictures!


Obviously, I shouldn't post from my phone or forget to proofread. Forgive my above typos. I just get so excited about reno projects!


I had to redo my house after tornado damage, so lots of working with contractors. My experience is: they are experts and we are not. It's almost expected that we have these questions and they have the answers. That's why they're the experts and we are not. :)

Also... I've found that people actually like when you ask them questions so they can explain it. People like to be the experts at things and feel like the authority on a subject.

You'll do great! Just make sure you have a paper bag to breathe into after they deliver the quote. I needed one, and I wasn't even spending my money -- State Farms'!


Sounds like it would be easier to burn it down and start over. Or just move.

I'm helpful :)


I'm currently paralyzed by Don't Know Where to Start-itis myself, but here's one simple and fun suggestion... Go on and start folders for your kitchen and bathroom and just surf around and favorite all the ones you like. The contracts are all on that site now and they love it if you can show them the kind of stuff you like. I've seriously had multiple contractor people tell me to go that site and do that. And honestly I like houzz way better than pinterest for that kind of thing. But then, I think I have an allergy to pinterest so maybe that's just me.


ps... my comments tonight are full of grammatical and typing errors. If there were an "edit" button I'd be making use of it. Multiple times, probably. Many apologies. :p

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