"When I first built the house in 1995, we did it on a tight budget. We couldn't afford what we can afford today," said Scott McCurdy, vice president of Coastal Reconstruction.
He also had an ulterior motive: "In the last five years, since the kids left home, I've taken up gourmet cooking. I wanted to get gas into the kitchen and give it a facelift."
Tearing out the original kitchen, pantry and adjoining office to upgrade the old kitchen was just a start. The master bathroom and guest bathroom also were gutted and reworked, the living-room fireplace was faced with slate and pebble, and the back porch was enclosed and incorporated into the home's living space.
"I thought the porch idea was a waste when my wife first suggested it," McCurdy admitted. "But we spend more time there than we ever did before."
The new space "takes advantage of our lake view and has given us many hours of enjoyment," said Evelyn McCurdy. "I really appreciate living in a home that truly reflects my design choices and tastes."
Although the renovation did not change the basic footprint of the house, it opened up the interior living space, creating a great-room effect. And once the remodeling was completed, the whole house was repainted, the carpeting replaced and a lakeside deck was built in the backyard.
The renovation came in at just under $400,000. "More than we spent building the whole house 15 years ago," said McCurdy.
His favorite remodeled room, not surprisingly, is the kitchen.
"It's been totally reconfigured," he said. "We moved all the plumbing. We moved the gas cooktop to the outside wall, to connect with the exterior propane tank. We changed every hinge, doorknob and light fixture. We added crown molding, wider baseboards and new trim around the doors. We replaced the bar with an island, improving the traffic flow."
Granite was used for the countertops and backsplash. A pot-filler faucet was installed. And instead of the original light-tan cabinets and floor, the new cabinets are a combination of black, chocolate-brown and white, and the floor has a darker stain.
Best of all, said McCurdy, all the appliances are new, including his baby: a Wolfe range with eight-top gas burner and grill and two electric ovens. Above it is "a vent hood that really works instead of just making a lot of noise."
The master bathroom also got a darker, richer look. The new whirlpool tub, set in an alcove, is finished with natural slate and pebbles. Simulated slate, which requires less maintenance than the natural product, was used in the shower. The vanity area features faux marble, and the old lights were replaced with glamorous chandeliers.
During the entire seven-month project, the McCurdys lived upstairs. They had two bedrooms, two baths and a study at their disposal — but no kitchen.
To survive living with the inconvenience, noise and disorder of such a major renovation, "You eat out a lot," said McCurdy. "And you'd better have a really good marriage."
Jean Patteson can be reached at 407-420-5158 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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