What Major Project Should We Tackle First?

The small projects have already begun -- getting a new lamp here, re-arranging furniture there, installing 500 feet of goat fencing back there -- but we're holding off on any big projects for a year.

"Why a year?" you might wonder. Let me enlighten you.

There are many reasons to wait and ponder our options. Here are a few of them:

  • This is a gigantic house and it will take a while to get to know her -- her quirks, her hidden disasters-waiting-to-happen, and (hopefully) her pleasant surprises. Before we invest large amounts of time and money into upgrades, we want to make sure we're prioritizing the right things.
  • Plus, she's old. And it terrifies us to think that we might jump into something precipitously and ruin her charm. They don't make homes like this any more and we want to be respectful of any changes that we make.
  • Waiting a year means that we'll get to experience the house in all four seasons. As Bill has mentioned before, some of the options we're considering will have significant impacts on heating and cooling -- which are one of the biggest expenses we have (after the mortgage payment).
  • Oh, also, these projects are going to be expensive. And we need plenty of time to save our pennies before embarking on anything major.

So what are the major projects under consideration?

There are four major projects under consideration, each briefly described below. (These are old pictures from before we moved in -- just FYI.) 

Renovate the attic -- finish the walls and floor, add insulation, and create a kids' paradise. The primary focus is to make this space livable year-round and help us better manage our heating and cooling bills.

Renovate the attic -- finish the walls and floor, add insulation, and create a kids' paradise. The primary focus is to make this space livable year-round and help us better manage our heating and cooling bills.

Renovate the kitchen -- knock down the wall separating the kitchen from the breakfast room, add a double wall oven, gas stove-top, and side-by-side fridge and freezer. Create a massive island with a separate prep sink and seating for at least six. 

Renovate the kitchen -- knock down the wall separating the kitchen from the breakfast room, add a double wall oven, gas stove-top, and side-by-side fridge and freezer. Create a massive island with a separate prep sink and seating for at least six. 

Renovate the backyard -- create a large vegetable garden with raised beds, build a better chicken coop and goat pen, put up a gazebo (?), create a patio space for outdoor dining, and do something with the remaining tennis court area.

Renovate the backyard -- create a large vegetable garden with raised beds, build a better chicken coop and goat pen, put up a gazebo (?), create a patio space for outdoor dining, and do something with the remaining tennis court area.

Renovate the basement -- replace the dropped-ceiling acoustical tiles, pull down the ugly paneling, fix up the laundry space, upgrade the party kitchen, run better wires for the TV, and refinish the flooring.

Renovate the basement -- replace the dropped-ceiling acoustical tiles, pull down the ugly paneling, fix up the laundry space, upgrade the party kitchen, run better wires for the TV, and refinish the flooring.

Breaking News! Bill and Jennifer Disagree...

I think the primary focus should be on the kitchen, since we are there ALL. THE. TIME. Especially because we work from home, we're cooking in that kitchen at least 18 times a week. While I like the idea of all these projects, making the kitchen comfortable and functional (I mean, the refrigerator isn't even in the room!) is my #1 priority.

Bill thinks we should do the attic first, because he thinks we'll save a ton of money on lower heating and cooling bills. And because he is deathly afraid of wasps -- which are currently enjoying easy access to the attic through the un-insulated roof.

Your turn.

So, dear reader -- if you had a pile o' money laying around and got to tackle one of these projects, which one would you pick first?