After viewing the house a second time on Wednesday to get a formal quote from the contractor, I am feeling much better about it. The first time I saw it, it seemed very funky and that it would take so much to actually like it. Slowly I am becoming charmed by it, and we decided not to change a lot of the things we had planned on changing originally.
The floorplan will change very little. The place that is supposed to be the dining nook is too small. Some people would be trapped until others were done eating, so we will knock down the wall that separates it from the living room. Doing this will also give us more flexibility with furniture placement so that the table does not absolutely have to go in that corner.
With the kitchen we will take out a few feet of wall between it and the living room. We would like to totally take out the wall to create an island, but that would mean losing too much cabinet space. We will remove one overhead cabinet above the bar that partially separates the kitchen from the former dining nook. It will make it seem less closed off, and the cabinet was just a big box, no shelves, and was really too high for me to reach any way.
Above all the cabinets is a sloped soffit covered in 1970s paneling. Why sloped? Why paneling? Why did they do this at all? I don't know. The answers (in order) are probably: We thought it looked cool. Everyone else was doing it. Then I won't have to dust up there any more. I totally get the last answer, but right now it feels like the ceiling is trying to come to a point right above your head. Also, any time you can take a sledgehammer to paneling is a good time. Plus, it will give me storage space above my cabinets.
We are putting a door between one of the bedrooms and living room. Right now, you can only get to the second bedroom by passing through the first bedroom. I see this a lot in old houses, and I cannot figure out the reason. Was it to keep a better eye on your kids? I guess before the rampant moral decay of our culture, being sure you knew where your kids were at all times was a very noble duty. I actually really like that the two bedrooms are connected by a door. It fits our family's values. It makes it more like one big family bedroom.
One big change is adding a half bath in what is currently a corner in the living room. Right now the one bathroom is only accessible by going through a third bedroom or by going through our bedroom plus a laundry room. Though originally we were going to add a full bath, we decided against it because 1.) We don't want to lose that much space in the living room, 2.) You can't run two showers at the same time anyway, 3.) it will save money, and 4.) any future buyers who find 1.5 bathrooms a deal breaker probably won't look at a 1300 square foot home anyway.
I will try to post some actual pictures next time. I only got a couple pictures because I started getting attacked by bees and running around like a crazy person and screaming "I don't like bees! I don't like bees!" Richard was outside with the kids at the time, so I am not sure who I was talking to, but it felt good to express myself.