3797 N. Steele Blvd., Ste 380 | Fayetteville, AR 72703

I’m doing a remodel

I’m in the process of remodeling my home, and since this site is about Arkansas property, I thought sharing my own experience with my Arkansas property might be useful. A little background – I have a 2150 sq ft, 4 bedroom, 3 bath home in Fayetteville, lived here since 2002 when I moved back. Purchase price was around $85/sq ft. I have, in addition to a wife, two little beasts, 5 and 2. The master bedroom is good size, and the master bath is ok, but the vanity area is dated and the closet is small. The kids’ rooms are somewhat small, particularly when you consider there is no playroom.

(Quick caveat – I grew up in a much smaller house, having two brothers and our mom all in a 1000 square foot home, so I realize that when I use the term “too small” in this series that it’s the American version of “too small”, meaning 5x the size of what most of the world lives in and what I actually NEED.)

What prompted this was a desire to have two things. One, a separate living space so if the kids have friends or cousins over, they can play somewhere separate from the adults. We have a great backyard to kick them in to, but that only works when the weather cooperates. And with four cousins also in town who are under 7 years old, we often have 6 little beasts eating, fighting, playing, screaming and generally terrorizing each other throughout the house.

The second thing was a new kitchen. My wife is an excellent cook, and likes doing it, but our kitchen is tiny. And as everyone knows people hang out in the kitchen, and if they’re little people, they’re always underfoot. But even without them it’s hard for two adults to really function in our kitchen as it stands now.

So we’ve spent the last year or so idly looking, and sometimes not so idly. Priced a lot of houses and had a lot of conversations/arguments. Although I will say it’s been a lot easier than the first time around when we bought this house. It was right before we got married, and I remember pulling over on the road after looking at one house that one of us liked and the other didn’t and her announcing that I was a stubborn jackass and I replying she was a stubborn snob. Only much more colorfully. This house was literally the only one we could agree on after months of looking, and it wasn’t so much the house as the neighborhood and the yard. I like to think we have improved our ability to communicate with each other, though. I guess we’ll find out.

But enough digressing. What it has come down to is that to get a house with those two things we want, we have to spend quite a bit more money and face the real possibility of being house poor. We’ve been house poor and neither of us want to go back. It wouldn’t be as daunting if I weren’t self employed, and the nature of my practice is a little boom to bust, but as it is we really want to keep our recurring monthly bills as low as possible.

We love our neighborhood, as it’s just close enough to town yet just far enough on the edge of town to make it easy for me to get to the Eureka Springs office. Plus, the neighborhood was developed in the 80s when lots were much bigger than they are now, so we’ve got a good size yard, nearly 1/2 an acre. And a neighborhood park and neighborhood pool for just a few hundred dollars a year.

So we’ve got some preliminary plans and are meeting with builders just to get an idea if it’s doable. This series will cover the process as we go through it, and hopefully give you some insight if you’re thinking about doing the same.

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