Home Remodeling and Personal Finances

Now that our mortgage is paid off, my wife and I are finally able to tackle some of the home remodeling projects we’ve talked about over the last 10 years.  Even though we designed our home ourselves, there are a few things we wished we had done differently before construction was finished in 2006.

In the spirit of my successful 21 Day Personal Finance Challenge series, I’ve decided to write a series about our home remodeling projects to help inspire others who may be harboring similar home improvement or remodeling ideas.  Throughout this series I hope to answer personal finance questions relating to home remodeling including:

How Much Can You Afford to Spend on a Home Remodel?

Setting a Budget for your Home Remodel Project

How Much Does the Average Home Remodeling Project Cost?

Are Home Remodel Projects Worth It?

What’s the Best Way to Pay for a Home Remodel?

Should I Hire a General Contractor?

Should I Hire an Architect or Interior Designer?

Should I Pay to Have a Draftsman to Draft Renderings of the Remodel?

These questions (and more) will be wrapped around two particular home remodeling projects.

Living Room Fireplace Makeover:


Before picture of our fireplace mantel and surround. Notice how high up the mantel rises forcing the TV to come up even higher (9 foot ceilings). We also don’t like having the clunky black speakers mounted on the wall.

The first project is a relatively easy DIY project involving a makeover of the fireplace mantle and surround in our living room.  The objective of this project is to lower the mantle height by 8” to allow the mounting of a new 60” 4K HDTV and improved sound system.

Kitchen to Livingroom Wall Opening with Built-Ins:

Here's the awkward wall opening between the living room and kitchen areas.

Here’s the awkward wall opening between the living room and kitchen areas.  The plan is to widen this wall opening and include built in bookshelves.

The second project is more complex involving the removal and partial widening of a load bearing wall between our kitchen and living room.  We believe this project will help open up the downstairs area of our home and corrects the awkward entryway that currently exists between the two spaces.  Due to the complexity of this project, we will be using a general contractor and interior designer to oversee the project to ensure it is both aesthetically pleasing, functional and structurally sound.

So there you have it, we’ll look at the personal finance issues involving a minor DIY home remodel project and compare them with using a licensed general contractor for a more involved home remodeling project.

Hopefully this home remodeling blog series will help give you some ideas and pointers to make your home remodeling project go as smoothly as possible.

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