Saturday, April 10, 2010

Better Late Than Never

I don't know why I didn't do this sooner.  It finally occurred to me today to post pics of the laundry room and back bathroom, which makes it so much easier to understand what I'm planning.  Oh well, better late than never, I suppose.  The first photo is of the laundry room (aka the back porch) looking out from the kitchen door.
Please pardon all the junk.  City-wide cleanup day is coming up soon and all the stuff I want to throw away is stacked up in here.  It's a nice-sized room and gets a lot of light from the windows and the back door.  I like looking out the windows while I'm folding laundry.  I have bird feeders in the yard right outside the windows, and that shelf under the windows is one of the kitties' favorite spots.  Where the back door is now will become a window.  The new back door will be about 4 feet to the right of where the door is now, and directly across from the kitchen door.  You can just see the edge of the shingled walls around the shower to the right in this photo.  (The half-door you see there is junk and it's leaning against the shingled wall.)  We'll tear out the shingled walls and the shower stall behind them.
And here's the trap door to the basement, the location of which Libbi and Louis are helpfully marking by playing Smackdown on it.  You can see that the trap door's pretty much in the middle of the floor.  This is why I've decided not to go with Mare's plan to get rid of the trap door and put a railing around the hole.  I think it will chop up the space and make the side of the room where the washer and dryer are mostly unusable.  Think about it—to get over to that part of the room, if the trap door was an open stairwell, you'd have to walk all around the stairwell and back into the corner.  And what would I put there?  That space wouldn't be big enough for closets.  You'd be squeezing between the closet door and the stairwell railing to put anything away. 

Looking into the laundry room from the existing back door.  (Mean little Marie is in the kitchen.)  To the left of the photo is the shingled wall around the shower stall.  Again, that will be demolished.  Don't y'all think it would look weird to have an open stairwell instead of the trap door?  And look how the left edge of the trap door is almost right up against the right edge of the kitchen doorway.  How would you put a railing in there?  (By the way, that black thing on the wall is a winch that the previous owners used to crank up the trap door.  Higher up on the wall is the hook that holds the trap door.  I'd like to get rid of the winch because I don't use it and, well,  it's ugly.)

And speaking of ugly, here are some photos of the bathroom.  I don't know what I was thinking when I painted it that awful blue.  The first photo was taken looking in from the laundry room.

The doorway with the mirror on it goes into the spare bedroom.  If I expand the master bathroom all the way to the back wall of the house, the wall behind the vanity would be torn out and the vanity and toilet would go away.  If I don't expand the master bath, then this room stays pretty much as is (with a new vanity and different paint) as a half-bath accessible from either the spare bedroom or the laundry room via that doorway you see in the foreground of the photo. 

What is destined to be demolished is this:
To the left in the photo is the shower stall.  Thirty-one inches wide, with grab bars all around that reduce the usable size to about 27 inches, it's too small to comfortably use on a daily basis.  If you've ever rented a small camping cabin with a little shower stall or taken a shower at a truck stop, that's how small it is.  It's goin' bye-bye.  The back door will be relocated to that wall where the towel bar is now, which is where the door was when the porch was originally closed in. 

Now let's talk those two dreaded words:  resale value.  Like Jan said, we all think we're going to live in our old houses forever, but you never know.  And even if I do live here until I croak, I'd still like Dylan and Sarah to get as much money out of this house as they can.  So with that in mind....

Someone asked how many bedrooms I have, and the answer is three:  mine, the spare bedroom, and the room I've been calling the "second parlor" because that's what I'll use it as.  So right now my house is a 3-bed, 2 bath.  My idea is to get rid of the shower stall, move the back door, and remodel the master bath but leave it the same size so the house would then be a 3-bed, 1½ bath.  Mare's idea to expand the master bath, turn the spare bedroom into a walk-in closet and open up the basement stairwell would make it a 2-bed, 1 bath with a basement laundry room, which I think would be less appealing to buyers.  What do you all think?


  1. Oh wow, I'm going through the exact same thing right now (well, not the trap door thing, but the #bedrooms vs. resale thing).

    I just found out the wall between two bedrooms was put in *after* the floor and ceiling, which means it has to come down, which means I could change the floor plans, and make the house (currently 3 bed, 1 bath) into either a 2 bed, 2 bath, or just replace the wall and stick with the original reno plan of 3 (small) bedrooms, 1 full bath and one teensy little 2-piece bath.

    Functionality for me, vs. resale value. It's a hard one, and I keep changing my mind. Wish I was of more help :(

    BTW, I can't remember if I've commented here before. If not, I love your blog!!

  2. You're right. Three bedroom 1 1/2 bath would appeal to more buyers.

  3. Take it all in steps. You are right about the re-sale thing, but move the door to it's original position, get rid of the mini-shower, and then hold off on the trapdoor thing till you can get a better look with more finished product in place. Personally, I would never buy a house with a trap door, but perhaps when more is settled, you could find another spot to put in the stairs, even just a few feet over that could put the railings etc. next to a wall instead of smack in the middle.

  4. I'm a bit confused, so I'll just chime in about the trap door. The winch serves no purpose, so it could come out, and that's one improvement.

    How often do you have to go into the basement anyway? Maybe just making the trapdoor less obvious would be okay. Maybe put in two hooks to hold the trapdoor as a failsafe.

    In my 1000 sq ft house by myself, two bedrooms and one bath was just the ticket, but I can see why 3 and 1 1/2 would be more appealing with more people. Now I'm also seeing why they put in a shower.

  5. p.s. You could always hide the trapdoor with a rug.

  6. K, That's exactly the problem! Functionality for me vs. resale value. I'm going back & forth about it too. Oh well, I have plenty of time to think about it.

    Melanie, Good idea.

    Karen Anne, I go in the basement maybe 3 times a year, so the open stairwell isn't a necessity. It's not like I'm running up & down the steps all the time. Usually there is a rug there over the trap door. It makes sense that Charline added a shower; I just wish she'd added a nicer one. :)

  7. What's your square footage?

    More beds and baths are obviously a good thing, but nobody's going to be fooled into moving a big family into a tiny house just because it has a lot of bedrooms.

    If your reasonable target audience does not involve kids, I wouldn't worry about getting rid of bedrooms - more modern amenities like walk-in closets may be more meaningful to them than extra bedrooms anyway.

    That said, I would not go below 1.5 baths. We have a single bathroom, and it's awkward for several reasons - guests have to see all your shower supplies, sometimes two people living in the same house really do both need it at once, and I live in fear of it clogging, since our only alternative is a bucket.

    I don't like the idea of moving the laundry to the basement either. Not the stairwell placement, and not having to cart dirty clothes up and down stairs.

  8. Wow - pictures helped a lot!

    Leave the laundry where it is.

    Unless you can move the stairs to the basement, opening them up with a railing will chop up that room too much and may not be terribly safe. You wouldn't really have much usable space left.

    I would be inclined to keep the half bath and bedroom arrangement. Based on the floor plan I think more people would use the house as you do - 2 bedrooms, 2 parlors rather than 3 bedroom, 1 parlor.

    Not an easy decision - good luck.

  9. Pictures helped a lot.

    I think a 1 1/2 bath is a better deal than 1 bath.

    Your back porch/laundry room will be a nice room once that shower stall is removed and the door is moved. I bet the half bath will be used more once that shower stall is gone.

    I think an open basement stairs in the middle of the room would totally undo all the greatness you would be doing by removing the shower and relocating the door.

    Is your basement heated? I just keep getting a visual of the lights being turned off and someone walking through the laundry room and taking a header into the basement aka Rob Petrie tripping over the ottoman.

    Plus, you gain no additional floor space by putting the laundry room in the basement because you lose footage with the staircase.

    Rather than storing stuff in the attic, your house stores it under the floor. If you use it only three times a year I say it's not big deal.

    I agree with the put a rug on it.

  10. Jayne, Before I share my opinion, LOL, can I ask you what the closet situation is like in your house?

  11. What's this about storing stuff under the floor? Shall I spin stories of people in my area losing everything in their basements due to flooding?

  12. Planting Oaks, My square footage is a little over 1400, not including the 2 bathrooms and the basement.

    Jan, I have the same fear about someone (probably me!) taking a header into the basement!

    Milah, Usable clothes closets: 3, one in each bedroom, not original to the house. In the second parlor is a big clothes-press--a shallow-depth, double-decker closet right next to the chimney. In the laundry room I have a closet-sized storage cabinet that I use for pet food, yard tools, etc. and a broom closet. Oh, and the kitchen has a closet about the size of an entryway coat closet that I use as a pantry. None of the closets are terribly big.

  13. I think you are right, a 2 bedroom, one bathroom, and laundry in the basement will make it less appealing to buyers. So my vote is to keep the laundry upstairs, keep a 1/2 bath and the spare bedroom.
    I think that spare bedroom with entrance into the 1/2 bath would make a nice guest room. Who knows, someday your mother may have to stay with you and that would make a nice room and bath for her.
    Also, I like your laundry room. It's a nice size and the light in there is great! I tried so hard to squeeze a larger laundry room into our new addition but we couldn't figure out how to do it, so my laundry room turned out really small. ;(

    I also want to mention that I think the idea Mare has to remove the basement door and put railing around the hole is not a bad idea. You can build a wall on one side if you don't want railing all the way around. Finish off the stairway and put a door at the bottom of the stairs. Since the basement is dry, that would be a great place for more storage.
    I'm going to work on a post soon about my daughters craft room/office and show some pictures of my daughters attic remodel. I might even post pictures of my basement door which was formally on the floor. Maybe this might help you get a visual of what it could look like.

  14. I'm liking Milah's post about how she finished off her basement door. Hmmmm...I may need to rethink my opinion...