With that realization, I've been thinking about staying. Like B says, this is probably going to end up being the kids' childhood home and we might as well make the best of it. I know what parts of the house don't work for us, and I know what we can change. So it looks like remodeling will be in our future no matter where we live.
For reference, here is our current layout.
I've had crazy pipe dreams of doing a big addition, where we turn the garage into a living room, the living room into a dining room, and add a new garage and foyer (I hate not having a decent-sized foyer; it's one of my biggest issues with this house), like this.
But even though I don't count money spent on the house toward some future sale price (a good thing in this house), the cost of that was too rich for my blood. Being very, very optimistic, ridiculously so, the cost for an addition on that scale would be north of $50,000, probably closer to $75,000 or more. I've read that if you're debating on a big addition or remodeling project and you're not sure if it's going to be worth it, compare how much your house will be worth after the work to houses for sale in that price range. The real formula is a little more complicated, taking equity and the money needed to sell your house into account, but this was close enough for me. Going up to double what we paid, there was nothing. Except for the house we have an accepted offer on, of course. Sigh. So in theory the addition could be worth it, but no matter how I tweak it, it feels a little like putting lipstick on a pig, or trying to make this house something it's not. That's one of my architectural pet peeves so I want to avoid it.
After thinking about what I wanted to accomplish with the house, and what I didn't like about it, I came up with this design.
The bedrooms aren't included on the new floorplan because nothing over there is changing.
The new design is rough, and things will change or not get done, but it's a start. First, the kitchen. The wall between the kitchen and living room has been opened up, with pass throughs on either side of a new wide doorway in the center of the wall. The kitchen now takes up the majority of the space, with the dining area in the corner where the current pantry is. I wouldn't have to be constantly kicking kids out of that kitchen because I can't turn around without running into them. Having the kitchen open to the living room is also a major plus, both for everyday life and for entertaining. I wanted a feeling that was more like "kitchen open to family room" and not "kitchen next to formal living room." I would like to have a formal dining area, but there's not a good spot for one in this house so we'll just go completely the other direction to a pretty informal banquette.
In the living room, the railing above the foyer has been replaced by a bookcase and a column for interest. I've also turned the coat closet and shortened it a bit so that the pass through on the left is looking out at more than a blank wall.
We have a pitiful deck right now. It's exactly big enough to open the door and walk down the steps, which is maybe 3' x 4'. Very sad and mostly useless. The house I grew up in had a screened porch that I loved, and that has always been a must have for my "forever house," so I hope to add one here. Even if we have to add a deck, then add a roof, then add screens, I want it. The uncovered deck in the new plan is a little too narrow, so I might widen that to eight feet. The deck design will probably change a little since I want it to go down to a pool. Yaya has been adamant that we get a real pool, not a blow up pool, and I agree with him. I grew up with one and it was awesome. We'll get an above ground pool that can have a deck and railing built around it, which will help with security both from the house and from the yard. Since the deck starts about eight feet above the ground, it shouldn't be too difficult to have that first set of stairs go down to a pool-surrounding deck instead of a landing. The pool is going to be one of the first projects we tackle, I think. We'll even pay someone to install it for us.
It's a little disheartening to plan all this, but I'm trying to prepare myself for not getting that other house by throwing myself into planning things here. We're not very religious people, but when things started happening (B's car dying suddenly and having to use our down payment money to replace it, the high foundation quotes, the complete lack of interest despite ours being more updated inside than several other houses in our neighborhood) I had a sneaking suspicion that we'd end up here. It's been B's and my experience that sometimes, if we see the opportunity for something we think is good, and we reach for that brass ring, we get smacked down. I choose to believe that this is the universe (or someone) letting us know that that is not the path we need right then. So maybe the universe is trying to tell me I should stay here and love this house for a few more decades. We love this neighborhood, we love the schools, and some days we love this house. I guess we can let it grow on us for a while more.