It is never a good when the plural form is used to describe a renovation plan. That indicates that at least one plan has been thrown out. How expensive the change is depends on where one is in the process. Fortunately, we didn’t even break ground before we made the decision.
Before we discuss the plans, let’s talk about the 30,000 foot view. What is our ultimate goal? We are adding a garage. Once we add the garage, we can reclaim the existing garage for living space and convert it into the new kitchen/dining room/living area. Then the existing kitchen/living area will become a new master suite.
So, why are we going through this? When we purchased the house, Evan was an abstract idea, “What do you think about having a second kid?” “Might be fun to have two kids” There are only two bedrooms on the living level and there is minimal separation between the bedrooms and the living/kitchen/dining. By doing this remodel we will have 3 bedrooms on a single level and the living area separate from the bedrooms, giving the house better functionality for our family.
This involved excavating the hillside in front of our house and building a new garage in the gaping hole that would be produced. A huge garage would have resulted and we would have parking for Abby. Perfect! But this is the plan that was abandoned. First there was the fact we had to dig away the hillside at the front of out house (good way to gain infamy is making your own house collapse into a hole). And it would have required a retaining wall that was shotcreted into existence with anchors being driven into the rock under the house. And we would have had to relocate all utilities (water, gas, electric, internet). And finally, the aesthetics. We would have completely lost the mountain character of our home.
This plan moves the garage to the rear of the house. Still a significant excavation. But no utilities to move. No loss of the hill side in front of our house. Simple poured retaining walls, no shotcrete. The downsides? A slightly smaller garage and no parking for Abby. We would encroach on the set backs and would need to obtain a variance. This plan is a compromise, but the best plan we have (besides building a house from the ground up, but we are far past that point).