Home Improvement

Full renovation – what am I not thinking of?

By May 8, 2019 16 Comments

Hi! Long time reader, first time poster here.

So my wife and I are going to be trying to buy the house we currently live in, which was built in 1952 by her great grandparents and currently owned by her grandfather.

We’re planning a total renovation, like down to the studs, with an addition etc.

The house is in terrible shape overall as well just not being big enough. Anyway the main renovation or whether or not that’s a good idea is not what I’m interested in, that’s happening. What I am interested in is making this house have as many modern creature comforts as possible. I’ve already got on my list to add networking cable to every room, obviously all new wiring at the same time…new plumbing etc etc. I intend to have heated bathroom floors, intercoms (gotta be able to yell at the kids), and camera security.

What can I add to make our lives better and more convenient while I have the whole house opened up? I want a “smart house”, and I assume there’s no better time to do that than while the walls are nothing but studs. So please all suggestions are welcomed and I’ll add them to my plans if I like em.

Thank you!!!

Edit to add: were in Southern California so no basements or extreme weather or anything


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16 Comments

  • Justa_duck says:

    Zoned hvac is good. You may also want to check out This Old House online. The current build is a mid century modern. May be a source of ideas.

  • Skynet_lives says:

    Zoned a/c and or ductless mini split systems. Networking everywhere. Spray foam insulation. Rain capture system, and or grey water recycling system. Solar with battery back up.

  • zeronetenergyhome says:

    Insulation! Now’s your chance!

  • bunfunion says:

    Do not skimp or cut corners on the finishes of your home (flooring, cabinets, fixtures, etc.). Chances are you are only doing the finishes once and you will regret it later if you cheap out and don’t get exactly what you want. That being said if you are getting new cabinets please make sure you visit a local custom cabinet shop. Always support local!

  • hillbillie88 says:

    We added a lot of outlets to run cabinet and drawer lighting when we renovated our ’59 kitchen. We widened hallways and doorways. Next phase will be bathrooms: curb-less showers and wall-mounted toilets– for universal access and easier cleaning. Thumbs up on your heated floors. We really enjoy ours.

  • wrongotti says:

    Do yourself a favor and use as many outlets with USB ports as you can. I only put two in the living room when I remodeled. Over the last year since we finished, we added a couple to every room except the kitchen.
    If you use, or plan on using, surround sound at all, run the speaker wire through the walls now. That and wherever your going to have your television, put a 4 gang box for your outlets.

  • saracellio says:

    Think about the natural light that comes into the space now. Is it enough so that you don’t have to turn on any lights during the day? If not, consider adding skylights or solar tubes or more/larger windows. Natural daylight picks up your mood, and not running lights during the day can help a bit with the power bill.

    Also, consider the airflow through the house. Are there any spaces that get hotter or colder than the rest of the house? Best to deal with that now, not later.

  • bmc2 says:

    Probably how long it’ll take. Take your best estimate and triple it. Especially if you’re planning on doing the work yourself. Plan on how you’re going to live in the house in the interim. Living in the middle of construction sucks. So, plan on keeping part of the house construction free at any given time so you have something to live in.

    I’m 3 years into a gut reno and I’m not finished yet.

  • CORedhawk says:

    New plumbing. If you are opening everything up you will have access to the pipes and most materials have an expected life span of about 50-60 years so they are due. (copper last closer to 100). I offer this as many people take it for granted and that it will last forever. (and you already mentioned all new electrical) Good luck

  • the_anal_reaper says:

    A central wiring closet, open conduit / cable runs. While the walls are open make it easy on yourself to pull new and different cables in the future. Get conduit up in to your attic and down to your basement / crawl space. And pull strings in all of it as well.

  • ritchie70 says:

    A few thoughts

    1. Stop and think about where the switches are. Half our house is 70 years old and the switch placement is hideous.
    1. If this is a grow old house, consider a switch height outlet or two in each room. Makes vacuuming easier once your back/knees/hip start up.
    1. Switched outlets under eaves for holiday lights.
    1. CAT6 to anywhere you might want a TV, a security camera, or a network WAP.

  • Newtiresaretheworst says:

    Fir the walls out and install 2×6 insulation

  • Hi-iaka says:

    Run conduit to every room for infinite future proofing.

  • OutOfMyMind4ever says:

    Central vacuum systems are nice, and now is the time to consider one.

    Baseboard vacuum systems are great for kitchens.

    Soundproofing insulation around bathrooms, bedrooms, and rooms with sound systems or TVs.

    Maximize closet and storage spaces whenever possible.

  • friendly_hendie says:

    I would focus on little things like this:
    https://odditymall.com/pull-out-cabinet-step-stool
    to make your lives easier. Also to-ceiling kitchen cabinets.

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