The Lure of a Remodel


Remodel? We live in a Carlsbad home built in 1979, but most of the original fixtures, flooring, surfaces, landscaping and even the stairway are long gone. I know the prior owners did a remodel of the platform stairs, filled in a sunken living room, and perhaps moved a couple of walls around. Not usual for a vintage La Costa home.

San Diego Home Remodel

But over the years, we found ourselves unable to leave things alone–even initially, when there was a wood shingle roof to replace, tiles to lay outdoors, and a barbecue island to build.

Not fans of carpeting, we ended up laying lots of travertine and hardwood flooring, but only after a kitchen and bath remodel and repainting the entire home inside and out. Almost every year, it’s something.

But it appears we are not alone

It seems 1 out of 5 new homeowners take on a remodeling project each year. And that would include folks moving into new or relatively new homes. (In our case we moved into a home crying for help).

Looking at this chart, we can see that last year Americans spent $18 million on home improvement projects, both large and small. But kitchens are the main target, with 70% more likely to tackle this project first, followed closely by landscaping (68%), with room additions, bathroom remodels, and window replacement trailing.

Some of these home improvements are just that: Genuine improvements and enhancements to the original home. And sometimes, things like furnaces, air conditioning, dishwashers, stoves and other appliances just give out and new ones take their place. Most new homes beg for improvements in landscaping, hardscaping and lighting–and many new home owners can’t wait for the day when they can replace builder-grade carpeting and the ubiquitous white paint.

And because we live and work in coastal San Diego, most of the land was acquired and built out long ago. Even early settlers wanted to be ocean-close. Hence, many of the homes here in San Diego’s coastal band were built long ago and keep morphing with upgrades and remodels. And homes that once were clearly a Plan 1, Plan II or Plan III today reflect their own personality and that of all its owners.

Finally and sometimes, enough is enough. Not everything is screaming for an update. This lovely article, Give Me Gratitude or Give Me Debt might really hit home for many!

–Roberta Murphy