Reno Diary: 11/2/18
I am so excited to start renovations I have been pinning on Pinterest like crazy, dreaming up decor ideas, prepping myself to live in a disaster zone and everything in-between! We do have some steps to take before it all happens but I thought I would share where we are with it all. I will keep updating this blog post, kind of like an online diary, so the full process will be recorded here which will be so helpful to anyone that is interested in doing the same or just understanding the ins and outs of it all!
So, when we saw this house and began to see the vision of what we could do with it we knew pretty early on that we wanted to add on square footage for it to be right for us. Once we got confirmation from my dad that adding on was an option, (he owns a construction company and is doing the renovation with us) I was more comfortable with moving forward. With that comes permits and with permits comes a waiting game.
The house did not come with a site plan which is a bird’s eye view of a property, drawn to scale to show property lines, setbacks, driveways landscaping, surrounding streets etc., so we had to hire someone to draw one. He also did some consulting with us about the process to file permits and put together the exact pack of papers we would need to file. We decided that instead of paying him to go and submit the paperwork we would save money and I will go with my dad to do it. I am very interested in learning this process so it is the perfect chance for me to do so.
We had to work with a notary to get some paperwork completed and I have scheduled an appointment to bring in the permit papers and get this process going. We have been told that it will take around 2-3 months if everything goes well but it could take longer if there are any issues. So, we are hoping to start renovations at the beginning of 2019! The holidays are coming up and things get so busy that time will fly by — I am happy about that!
When we moved in and the weeks after we were settling in and really excited to be taking on this adventure. But now that we are comfortable here I am beginning to get a tiny bit frustrated living in this space. We have boxes everywhere and it is not how we want it BUT we feel so lucky to be able to take this on and it is going to be a crazy ride. I know the process of renovations will be hard to live through but I am just anxious to get started!
There are a few things that we can do to get started without a permit like revamping the fireplace, adding hardwoods in the bedrooms and taking down the wall between the kitchen and the living room so we are hoping to start on those projects to get the process going.
Once I get all of the paperwork submitted and get some more information I will give another update about what we hear! I am putting together a few blog posts about interior design which I am so excited to do. This will be a first for me so adding this into my blog is so much fun!
Reno Diary: 11/8/18
On Monday morning my dad and I went to submit the packet we had put together to zoning in Baltimore County, we had the first appointment of the day which is always nice to get things done quickly! We sat down with the guy who goes thru everything in this cold, lifeless room and waited for him to come in. He seemed less than thrilled when he saw us and was on the side of rude. In pure Rick (my dad) fashion, he tried to talk to him and get him to loosen up but nothing was working, he was stone cold and did not want to interact with us unless he was demanding papers one by one (my dad got him to talk a little and he said he was retiring in 22 days!). It was actually really interesting because there are these big rule books they have to go by so depending on what we wanted to do he had to go thru the book and write down the rules that applied to the situation. That took the most time but it is basically doing the research and pulling out the key rules for the judge so it is easy when it gets in their hands. It is crazy because you need multiple copies of all of the paperwork so I was counting out copies praying we had enough. Overall we were pretty good to go — he did go to his office and retype up the description of what we wanted to do because he didn’t love the one we had, it was nice of him to do that and print out all the copies. In the end, he asked for pictures with descriptions and we realized we didn’t have that in the packet of stuff, he was not happy but told us to get the photos and descriptions and drop it off the complete the packet! I went across the street and gave a $75 check to process our requests and that was about it!
My dad and I decided to get the pictures right away so we went back to our house and in the pouring rain we stood outside and got pictures of both areas where we want to add square footage to the house. We had to get different angles and show where those areas are compared to our neighbors so when the judge got the packet they could get a feel for exactly what we were doing. I printed each picture out on a regular size piece of paper so the top was the photo and there was room on the bottom. My dad drew in what we are planning on doing on the picture and then wrote the descriptions in the blank space at the bottom. I ran the pictures back to the building (luckily it is only 2 miles down the street from our house) and submitted them to the man we worked with earlier in the day!
He gave me 2 sheets of paper, one was a list of people to hire to post the variance on our property and the other was the timeline in which it should go up and what needs to be written on the signs that will be posted. Basically, our neighbors have 15 days to protest the renovations we are doing during the time the signs are up. It costs about $250 for the hired person to do this for us, they write up two signs and post them on our property and submit it to the county. They then come and pick them up at the end of the 15 days and we proceed from there.
I am not exactly sure what the next step is after that, I am guessing everything gets in the judge’s hands and if everything goes well with the sign postings I am hoping things move quickly! But we are really just taking this process one step at a time and we have no expectations on time.
Reno Diary: 12/19/18
The signs are down! I went to our front door to get a package at the beginning of the month and noticed that someone came and took down the signs from our front yard. A few days after that two letters came in the mail from different departments, one sharing that everything looks good on their end and the other saying there possibly a little issue. We spoke with the person that helped us put the papers together originally and he said to wait on a few more letters from other departments…and we are still waiting. Since we are in the swing of the holidays we are focusing on our trip to Chicago and spending time with family! I am praying that it is nothing serious and we will be able to proceed as scheduled but I cannot control the outcome so I am trying not to focus on it too much.
My dad came over and he measured our kitchen and brought it to the guy he works with, Harvey, at Home Depot to get that process started! We are going to start doing the inside work — taking down the wall between the kitchen and the living room, redoing the fireplace, gutting and renovating the kitchen and adding in the front mudroom. I got to go meet with Harvey the other day and start talking details with him and it got me SO excited! I was able to get lots of questions answered and start to get a feel for what we are able to do in the space we have. It was so fun to hear his thoughts and brainstorm different ideas to make my vision come to life. He gave us some homework, we have to decide between three different cabinet manufacturers depending on the features that they offer and what we are looking for and in the meantime, he will be putting the CAD together! We have another appointment with him after we get back from Chicago to nail down some details, I can’t wait! We definitely have some decisions to make but I couldn’t be more thrilled about it!
Reno Diary: 1/8/19
This is probably the most exciting update to date, lots of progress has been made in a few different areas in a short amount of time and it is surreal! On my birthday we went to Home Depot and worked with Harvey to finalize our cabinet layout for the kitchen. We have everything set and costed out (wow, what an expense) and now we are just getting a second opinion and should be making a decision sometime soon! We have started a vlog about the whole process so that will be a super fun way to share how the whole thing went from beginning to end!
When we dreamed up what this house could be and took a chance on purchasing it without knowing that we were able to make those dreams a reality we were taking a risk. Personally, if the house had to stay the way it was I didn’t want to get it at all, the layout is all wrong, the outside is outdated and it is on the smaller side. But those are the things that make it the perfect first-time fixer upper for us! We consulted with a few experts and with all of the information we were given we went for it. I have a vision for what I want to do, there is so much potential for this little rancher to completely change the footprint and style of the house and increase square footage and I have always wanted to take something like this on.
Well…we found out yesterday that we get to make all of those dreams a reality!! Less than a month after submitting all of the paperwork to zoning to add on square footage to the house, getting a few questionable letters that worried us about what will happen, writing a letter back pleading our case then waiting a little bit — it happened! We were granted the ability to file the permits to get started on all of the renovations! I am beyond excited and ready to get started. Once we have more of a timeline I will add another update!