Our 1952 ranch needs a bit of work even as is; we were a little surprised to see it is kind of a dump in spite of our initial excitement when we decided to buy it. Nevertheless, we have a great quiet location backing to a nature preserve and situated among almost entirely more expensive houses. We have 1.3 acres with a good number of mature trees. The back of the house faces South. The house is functional and has a relatively new roof, so we are making do but looking forward to improving the house to fit the location and provide some beauty of its own to go along with the scenery.
We'd like covered parking for 3-4 vehicles/boats/trailers and some workshop space.
We'd like a master bedroom suite with better storage and our own bathroom; it is not necessary to increase the number of rooms, but we are open.
We'd like to redo the kitchen and dining area, perhaps making a great room and having a place to eat in the kitchen.
It would be nice to have main floor computer/ office area (current office is in basement with no windows).
We need a new style of siding. The brown shingles are pretty lame looking and mismatched anyway, and that's only 1 of the 5 different styles present on the structure (board & batt, brick, tongue/groove wood, painted cinderblock, wood shingles). We were considering galvanized steel or perhaps metal mixed with something else.
We like having a mud room, but it doesn't have to stay where it is.
We'd like it to look beautiful, which is a tall order for ranches. Our hope is glass and siding can make it happen.
Problem of old work and roof: It appears the house used to end at the edge of the kitchen and living room with current dining and family areas occupying what used to be a patio between house and garage (low ceilings in there, and an awkward step down inside, not to mention another bigger one into the mud room). Part of original 2 car garage was reclaimed for mud room. Could be reversed, but then there is the matter of stairs down to the garage. They used to be at edge of patio, but now are in the mudroom itself and would interfere with a car parking there. Roof is already choppy so that integration should be carefully made.
Problem of egress stair: Exterior stairway to basement starts right outside kitchen sink window and goes down under the bathroom window. The patio outside backdoor of kitchen is over basement space, except for the part outside the dining area, which seems to be a continuation of the old slab on which the dining and family areas sit. The exterior stairway is currently the only egress for the basement.
Size: Our sweet spot is probably around 1800 sq. feet, but with the current 1400 and the usable basement space, it should not be said we are absolutely committed to that. 3 bedrooms upstairs is fine and we can use the basement room for guests. We know we need to add space, but have lived in a too-big house before.
Trees: Note two big trees (a sugar maple and a birch) in backyard, relatively close (17-22'). The birch is really pretty. The maple is so big we don't really see it, but still.
Budget notes: Owner can do a lot of the work, so the budget may go further than it otherwise might. We tend away from carpet.
Kitchen notes: We almost certainly will go with granite for countertops. We like the single bowl sinks and pull down faucet style. Doesn't even have to be a big sink. We are open on cabinets, but not likely to go too premium (else, I'd just make them myself). Stainless appliances.
Lifestyle: 2 kids (grl 12; boy 6). Running, bicycling, boating. Large dog. 3 cats. Sometimes we foster animals. Mud room and easy bike parking are important. Lower Michigan climate. We all like a good soak in a hot bath. We need to live here during renovation.
1. Elegant or innovative in solving the problems of integrating with existing.
2. Best handling of how it will feel to live in the new space (reducing friction, increasing comfort).
3. Resource and financial efficiency.
We tend not to like houses; they are generally sort of boring. We have seen newer large custom homes that we would not want even if we were in that price range. So, the point is perhaps to make the design pop in some way. I'm hesitant to say that because it's subjective. We like glass and light. The point of this house is the natural surroundings. In any case, we know we cannot think of everything, and have lot of faith in this process of turning to outside brilliance.
Thanks for considering our project. Ask questions on the wall and I will respond quickly.