Retirement Remodel – Preparing to Retire in Place

A while back, I shared that hubs and I had decided during our Minimalist Epiphany to sell a plot of land we had purchased.  We realized that having more – a bigger house, more land, more stuff – was just not going to work for us.  Plans change, we adapt.

Which prompted for us the following conversation:

What were we running to?
What were we wanting to achieve by moving?
What do we need to do to this place to make it work for us?

We decided that our current home of almost 30 years has a great deal going for it.  We have wonderful neighbors and a great sense of community.  We are within 5 minutes of almost anything we need.  We can be downtown and to most cultural events in 15 minutes.  We can be to the airport in 7 minutes.

In the past 10 years, we’ve done some minor remodeling that makes our home even more comfortable.  New appliances and filtered water in the kitchen, a master bath remodel (complete with grab handles in the shower) – all items that we love and don’t really want to leave.

And so it begins…

We decided that we need just a tiny bit more space – just enough to seat our guests more comfortably around the table.  A few more square feet to be able to invite in some friends.

And remember when I said that if you marry an architect, you should use him at least once in your life?

3 sided patio

Well, a week ago, we started converting our three sided patio into a type of three-season room.  It will have new tile, and a giant 24 foot bi-fold glass door which will allow us to have an elegant patio in the summer, while continuing to utilize the space during the winter. New sliding and French doors, and updated insulation will make the house more energy efficient.

Heart on the beam
(New steel beam to hold up the big-assed door!)

Eventually, we hope to put up a garage/shop for hubs, where he can play with his cars and hobbies while reducing the amount of lawn to be cared for.

We are making these decisions with the intent of staying in this house for the foreseeable future – until the day that health or physical demands make it necessary for us to move.  We’re not looking at our remodel as an investment strategy, or as a preparation for a flip.  The changes we are making will not pay off at resale – we don’t care! Our decisions are based on our desire to have our home function the way we like and to serve us for as long as is possible.  I’ll try to keep you posted on our progress!

Lynn

28 thoughts on “Retirement Remodel – Preparing to Retire in Place

  1. Kate Crimmins

    Sounds so familiar. We looked to downsize. We have 4 bedrooms (unneeded) and two floors but we love the neighborhood and access. Over the past few years we have done some things that make it more comfortable for us. If we could put a bedroom/bath on the first floor (and take down that second floor) we would stay until physically unable. Right now we are good but keeping our eyes open for a better opportunity. Relocating means that we will have to work to recreate those things that we love about our current house so we continue to dust, heat and pay taxes for extra rooms we don’t need until something perfect (or close to it) comes along.

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  2. Dan Antion

    This is the path we have chosen as well. My remolding includes getting rid of as many surfaces as possible that need to be painted. When we added a partial 2nd floor (not built out yet) we resided the house in vinyl siding that looks like shakes and PVC trim. The garage will get the same treatment. Getting it right for retirement is a perfect goal.

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      1. Dan Antion

        It was actually my wife’s idea. When she saw me at the top of a 24′ ladder, she said “you’re putting up vinyl, but the stuff that looks like shakes” – she didn’t want me back up there on a regular basis.

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  3. MrFireStation

    We’re just finishing three projects at our house that have been timed with my early retirement escape (Friday!). We’re not downsizing at this point – our son is leaving for college in the fall, but we’ve decided to stay in our current home for 4 years, until he is done. Then we’ll decide. In the meanwhile we will enjoy our home improvements.

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  4. vanbytheriver

    Smart move….I always thought we’d move south, to a warmer climate. Then, menopause hit, and I’m kind of loving the cold, and 4 full seasons !
    I love the heart from 81. Wish we had done that on our house. I guess we still could, we have been the only residents. ❤️

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  5. Retirementallychallenged.com

    How exciting! Having an architect on permanent retainer is so handy. Your new room sounds perfect for what you need – I’d love to have more space for entertaining but we can’t quite do it on our lot. I think getting rid of that other land makes so much sense. Please post pictures of your progress and, of course, the final reveal!

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    1. Encore Voyage Post author

      I sure will! Sometimes having the architect around is interesting. He has a strong design sense. Every time I leave town, I come back and he’s changed out a light fixture or something… 😉

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  6. Run Wright

    I love this, “Mom”! When you know what you want, it’s value isn’t dictated by money. Investment potential isn’t the best reason to remodel – making your home comfortable for you is the best reason.
    Enjoy!

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  7. our next life

    I’m glad you’re making your house the way you want it to be! We still can’t decide if we’re going to stay put or downsize when we retire, so it’s hard to want to invest any time or money. But there are certainly a few things I’d love to do if we’re going to stick around here!

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    1. Encore Voyage Post author

      Well, Susan, the outside is going to sort of become “the inside” – a great big folding door is going across the opening, blurring the lines between inside and out. For now, the only real mess is keeping the dog from tracking in too much dirt! 🙂

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  8. Terri Webster Schrandt

    Lynn, you are a retired woman after my own heart! Great idea to stay and remodel…we just did! Almost an empty nest, and hubby still works (I’m part-time professor). My dream for the last 15 years in my home of now 28 years(!) was to add on to the master! Got us another bathroom (in a 1 BR house), a walk-in closet, and a massive bedroom with windows and room for my home office. Here is the link to a post I wrote about it. http://terriwebsterschrandt.com/2015/10/25/weekend-coffee-share-making-room/ I will look forward to your progress!

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    1. Encore Voyage Post author

      Terri, if we were having coffee, I would tell you that I love the warm, rich look of your wood floors! Just beautiful! I enjoyed your post so much – I can relate to talking with the contractor daily about this or that…our private joke has become, “CHANGE ORDER!” (The bane of architects everywhere!) And finally, I wish we really could have coffee because it would be nice to have access to your blogging expertise. I am so new at this and I don’t want it to become more hassle than joy. So far I’m loving the connections, but it does take lots of time!

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      1. Terri Webster Schrandt

        Gosh, if you lived in Northern California, we could so get together. Thanks for all your kind words. You are doing a fab job with your blog. If you get the chance to take WordPress’ Blogging 101 course, do it…I learned tons!

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  9. joanneeddy

    What a great choice! It sounds like you found an ideal solution! We are looking at retirement in the next year and will have to relocate.(My husband is a minister and we have always lived in a manse.) We will move closer to our kids and grandkids, but I will really miss this house, my garden and our little charming town. Trying to think positive about bigger venue with life in Raleigh…lots of shopping, entertainment and seeing family a bit more…and a home that will actually be our own!

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  10. Life With The Top Down

    Oh Lynn….I don’t know if I want to laugh, cry or start a support group. My husband should have been an Architect, although he would never let a contractor bring any of his work to life because lord knows they wouldn’t “do it right.” I look forward to seeing the finished project … yours & mine!

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