Thursday, April 14, 2011

Should we stay or should we go?

It's crunch time. When we bought our home, we knew it would need renovating to make it perfect for our family. But the location, the two plus acres of land, dotted with trees and high on a hill, was the clincher. And as I mentioned in one of my very first posts, the fact that we actually swapped houses with the previous owner meant that the whole move seemed meant to be.

Fast forward a few years, and we found quite a few surprises along the way. Water tanks that needed replacing, a leaking pool, non-existent drainage plans, kids falling through the bath surround where the water had rotted the timber.....the list goes on. We've done a heap of work on the place, with a new main bathroom, painting, pool reno, kitchen revamp, but there's a lot more that needs to be done. It's the domino effect - everything we decide to tackle unearths another dozen or so problems that need to be fixed too.

My husband has finally cracked. When he announced last week that he thought we should knock the house down and rebuild, you could have blown me over. But it makes sense, as vacant land in our area (which is scarce anyway) is worth at least three times what we paid for our house. And the possibilities.....!!!! I've had my dream home brewing for years now, and it looks a lot like a combination of all of these:

love everything....windows, verandahs, the lot

not quite the same view as ours, but I do love me a window seat

These next images are by my favourite architect, Walter Barda. Love the detail in every single one of his designs - simply perfect.

 Forget the decoration, but this room is gorgeous...those ceilings!






love the pocket doors - with a house full of teenagers I love the idea of shutting out all the noise and chaos 




So, has anyone demolished and rebuilt? Was it a nightmare, or have you renovated and wished you'd started from scratch? It's a big decision, and one we won't take lightly. But either way, there are changes ahead, and to me change is so exciting - can't wait!

42 comments:

  1. Wow, that is a big decision to make! I have no advice but I do really know what you mean about the renovating domino effect. You never know what's hiding!
    I love the style of the homes you show. Good luck making your decision!

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  2. Kerri absolutely love these images. We would have loved to have knocked down & rebuilt. Financially it wasnt on the cards for us (renting & building ) But if you can , go for it.
    The perfect location is just (if not more) important than the house. You sound like you have that.
    We have found the cost of renovating has made us think we probably could have rebuilt & had the layout & size rooms that could be our forever house , for not a lot more.
    We will need to sell & move as the kids get a bit older & the cost of stamp duty & sellers fees etc could have been put into creating the house we want & the location we love.
    Karyn x

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  3. Oh huge decisions Kerri but I know what you mean being a nearby neighbour. I love our house but I would love the opportunity to start from scratch with everything new (but with the older look) and everything square! You are right about the land and I know you would love to be beside the beach but you just can't find land these days. It is all snapped up or it will break the bank to purchase. I say demolish and build your dream. Perhaps you could still live in your house whilst the new one is being built? Can the new one go in a slightly different location perhaps? Good luck in your final decision. ;-)

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  4. Your ideas are lovely. It might be a nightmare during the process yet on the other side waking up in a dream home for years to come seems worth a year of waiting.

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  5. For someone who has renovated 4 homes, I do love the challenge of making ugly into unreal - but I would L.O.V.E. a brand new home that I could love from the start. Light switches that have never been switched. Rooms where I want them - rather than working around existing floorplans. A brand spankin' new home just the way I want. So, go for it. Not the old one down and build one of the homes you have posted above. Change is good. Change is fun. Good, fun change is the BEST (-:

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  6. I can feel a Walter Barda coming on for you. My friend is building one of his designs right now. I don't see why you couldn't use him from Sydney. Hey with this technology anything is possible. Just imagine. Your very own Walter Barda. Now that really would be something to blog about.
    I say live the dream.

    Best Carolyn

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  8. i do so love a great ''crunch time''! i say go for it darl xx

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  9. I've never built or renovated big style, so am most definitely not an expert here! but how exciting. I think if I was faced with fixing things up or starting from scratch, I would be tempeted to start again. To be able to put your own stamp on a property and incorporate all the things that suit you and your family sounds so good. That's the romantic side of things - I'm sure the stress and cost have to be factored in somewhere!Good luck.
    x

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  10. Wow, big decisions. You would need somewhere else to live if you were to knock it down - unless you first built an out building that you could live in while the house was being built and then you could use it as a studio/guest house. I would really consider doing it, because it sounds like the resale would make it worthwhile and it would be such awesome blog material ;)

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  11. As a builder I have worked on both, and let me say, starting from scratch it WAY easier. I always find that clients are having to settle with features and items when working with an existing structure, as well, the cost can sometimes be the same and even less to build form scratch.

    I think the only thing that would make me want to tackle a reno rather than a demo would be a wonderful heritage home with features that can not be duplicated in today's market.

    Can't wait to find out what you decided to do!

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  12. I did. Created a blog about it. :) Am going to do it again so it's not that bad.
    Just get a good builder who understands your vision. Mine just wanted to be on his boat and not on my building site.... silver spooned son of the company. I ended up running the show which was tricky with only a BSc in Biochemistry as my knowledge base. Good builder, good builder. And when you find one, would love his details.
    A-M xx

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  13. Your inspiration pictures are divine! I am sure you will create something magical, good luck planning! Thanks for all your support with the online store! XX

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  14. Building is so great, if you have a healthy budget :-)
    A little stressful too, especially when you are one week away from moving in and your house isn't finished.
    The first house is stunning. My Brother did the same thing. Spent years and lots of money renovating then pulled it down and built a new house.
    He is very happy with his choice.
    Mekaela

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  15. Hi Kerri, we sort of did. Knocked down and old farmhouse that was not liveable. It is lovely being in a new house. You need to weigh up what you need to spend to completely fix up your house versus rebuilding completely, sometimes the $ are not that different! LOVE all of those images. Letitia xx

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  16. Kerri, how exciting indeed! I love the pix of the room with a view and the one after it...why not? go for it!! sounds like a great creative challenge...looking forward to seeing what happens!! :))

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  17. I know what you mean about renovating, after renovating a number of houses (and being in the middle of a renovation now), I have recently said to Stu, 'Let's build something new, with no-one elses mistakes in it'! Can't wait to see what you end up deciding. Whatever way, it will be great!

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  18. I have several good friends that remodeled older homes and by the time they finished they said they should have just torn down the houses and rebuilt for the money they spent. Both of their homes are gorgeous now and the character of their original homes still shines through, but that's a tough question. These images you've shown make me say build...so gorgeous!!

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  19. Be still my beating heart! gorgeous images kerri,they have inspired me today and beyond. I think I would definately think of rebuilding if these images were the outcome. Have a lovely thursday xx

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  20. I have not...BUT if I was your age (I think Im old enough to be your mom) I would rebuild. I am living in a 55 year old home that I love but it is constantly something. Lots of things were hidden from us and missed in the inspection. If you have kids and can make some sort of stable/calm place to live until its done...I say go for and it build your dream home..or close to it anyway.

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  21. Well I haven't done either so I will be of absolutely no use other than to cheer loudly from the sidelines no matter what you choose to do! I love your inspiration files...so I'm sure whatever the direction it'll be brilliant my friend!

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  22. We originally purchased acreage with visions of building a dream home in Brisbane, but sold it due to our dream home build cost being too expensive. So move forward and now on our second renovator... I'd certainly be keen to build from scratch OR purchase a house that needs little to nothing to be done in the reno department!
    Good luck with your decision. It's a good problem to have! :)

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  23. i have not started from the dirt but i did completely remodel my home and made it my own... i know it sounds like alot but you will love it... just know you need to be patient with one another and with those working on it.
    you will be so glad you did it... for you. xx pam

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  24. oh my gosh if those images are anything to go by i would be unable to sleep i would be so excited by these plans. Mel xx

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  25. Oh yes, building a house from scratch should be on the bucket list! so exciting.

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  26. We spent $$ on architect plans for a reno. Got an estimate on the build and nearly fell over. We could build new for a little over half the cost of the reno. And with the reno I still would have had a ground floor layout that I didn't love and a too small laundry. Needless to say we started again from scratch which meant we got everything we 'd always wanted and couldn't be happier although as my taste evolves I'd like to do it all again. We also sold our old house and had it removed from the block that meant we received money instead of spending it to get the block ready for the build and we kept the old place from becoming landfill!

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  27. Oh I forgot to say I LOVE your taste, all those photos are divine. I hope you build again and blog the journey I'm sure the end result will be some lovely eye candy.

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  28. LOVE your inspirational images ;)

    We are super close to the end of a knock-down rebuild in Sydney, which I have documented fairly thoroughly on my blog. We are building with a volume builder which would differ slightly from building a custom designed home. I would do it again - but only if we lived in our own space throughout the process (we have lived with my in-laws...).

    Good luck, look forward to reading about what you decide to do!

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  29. Super exciting Kerrie, hope you get lots of great advice, and I love those images. Just one of those homes by the beach would be nice to make a change from my Tuscan farmhouse, and French Villa - I wish.

    x

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  30. You have some stunning ideas here!
    It sounds like knocking down (given the current headaches) and rebuilding (given the cost of similar land) is definitely the way to go! We plan to build next year and I am so excited to get to pick everything out. For someone like you with such design savvy, I would think it would be a fantastic experience. I say: GO FOR IT!!!!
    http://bjdhausdesign.blogspot.com/

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  31. Sounds like you got a great deal on the land value and love your position so why not build a forever home.. I think this might just be your year...go for gold I say.. we have done both and reno obviously cheaper than knock down but results on a knock down are 10 to 1 on a reno x

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  32. Have not long moved back into our home after demolishing and rebuilding a new one. It took longer than we thought, cost a heap more than we planned, but now we are home it is lovely to be back with our beautiful neighbours in our brand new home, where everything works and doesnt creak and the windows open easily and we are just enjoying it instead of constantly repairing things. No regrets! We made the best choice! Good luck with your decision making! :)

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  33. Oh my goodness Kerri they are all gorgeous! Mimi xx

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  34. Hi Kerri, that first photo is absolutely breathtaking - who wouldn't want to live in that home!

    To renovate or rebuild is a huge decision that only you and your family can make. Either way it is incredibly exciting!

    We have just renovated most of a 1906 Queenslander, I say most as we could not afford to replace some elements that were renovated only ten years ago and in need of a refresh. They can wait a little longer. I love the process and know the excitement that lies ahead of you.

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  35. We're extending at the moment.
    What I've noticed is that if you want something that isn't exactly the way it's done at your nearest housing estate, it costs, and sometimes you builders just don't want to do it, because it's not what they're used to. I had one builder go all funny because I wanted to use HDPE instead of PVC pipe! Another didn't even bother to put a quote in because it was obvious his English would be a problem. I think I've struck gold with the ones we picked -- thorough, painstaking and up-to-date with new methods, and just a nice bunch of blokes.
    I'm sure you know this, but -- just keep thinking about what you need, what you want, and what would be nice. And use an architect -- if nothing else, they're a good way to find a builder!

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  36. Sounds like you're contemplating an exciting prospect, Kerri. I am sure you'd design an amazing home! Have a great wknd. xo

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  37. We have renovated, but not built from scratch. Scarey, but very exciting, and what beautiful visions you have. I say, go for it! I LOVE that window seat! I've never seen such a deep one before - it's just inviting you to curl up with a glass of wine and a good book.

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  38. Oh my this is fabulously exciting - I vote for stay where you are and demolish and build your dream.

    Whatever you choose though, I just know it will be amazing. Can't wait to see this journey.

    Keren
    xx

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  39. I haven't detonated or renovated anything except our kitchen. That was enough for me to realise I wasn't born to renovate. Listen to your inner voice, it won't let you down. Whatever you decide, feel supported by all your blogger friends. best wishes, Jane

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  40. Whatever you decide, I'd definitely incorporate that window seat -- no, window bed! If I came to visit I'd probably never leave that space in photo 2.

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  41. We will never, ever renovate again (fed up with fixing other idiot's mistakes!) but we will build from scratch. A-M's advice is spot-on about finding the Builder-From-Heaven not Hell.
    Millie x

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  42. Well Kate and Minnie Millie - you all need a Walter Barda experience

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