Remodeling a Forever Home Versus a For Now Home

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One of the major things that has driven our focus during this endless remodel has been the fact that this is not our forever home. While we love the acreage and our neighbors (which include my awesome in-laws), this is not the house for us. It is a decent starter home for a young couple or perfect for a newly divorced parent who wants a basic home in their kid's school district for those weekend visits. It's not that great for an older couple with a toddler (and a dog and a cat). With that in mind, we really had to make our peace with the concept of remodeling a forever home versus a for now home.

Remodeling a Forever Home Versus a For Now Home #DIY #homeimprovement #remodel
Image Courtesy of: The Makerista

To clarify, a forever home commonly refers to the home that you plan to stay in for, well, ever. You want to bring home babies, then raise them, then enjoy an empty nest and spoil grandbabies in it. You're there for the long haul and don't mind investing in exactly what you want because you'll be around to enjoy it for a long time. A for now home is just that – your home for now. You know that you'll be moving (even if you don't know exactly when that will happen) and don't really want to dump a lot of money in the place even though you do want to make it function better and/or be prettier. It's all about return on your investment.

We've known since the beginning that we were going to move at some point. For one, this is the house that The Boy bought with his first wife and so it's never really felt like MY house. Also, I really miss four seasons and cold weather so we're always on the lookout for a great job further North. And last, it's getting too upper middle class and crowded around here for our taste. So every time we do some remodeling on this place, we always keep in mind that it's okay if it's not exactly what we want or as pretty as I'd like. Here's some examples:

  • The bathrooms. In our forever home, there will be stand alone tubs and wonderful walk-in showers with lots of wall to wall subway tile. In our for now home, we used MDF beadboard on the master bathroom walls and a tongue and groove treatment in the hall bath. The tub and shower are built-ins from Fiberglass.
  • The heating/cooling. In our forever home, this would be a highly efficient HVAC system with a tiny footprint and non-central location. The floors would be in-floor heating and we would also be able to use a wood fireplace/blower for those chillier winter months. In our for now home, the heat registers are in the ceiling (and since heat rises, this makes exactly ZERO sense) but they're staying because the cost to move/update them is ridiculous. We're working with a slightly updated HVAC system but it's an inexpensive one and located smack dab in the middle of our home. But, again, it's too expensive to update/move it for a place we're not staying in.
  • The water system. In our forever home, this would be gas powered and super efficient using a tankless water heater and in a non-central location. In our for now home, we did look into going tankless but couldn't find an affordable unit that ran on electricity (we're not connected to any gas at all) so we went with ye olde water tank heater. It is also located practically in the middle of the house but moving it was too much money/time.
  • Fancy kitchen appliances. In our forever home, this means all stainless or made to look built-in. We would have a full size fridge and freezer that stand independently next to each other. The range would be gas and backless and the range hood would be a focal point in the room. There would be double wall ovens. In our for now home, we did upgrade to all stainless steel appliances (since all ours died at once and we needed to replace them anyway) but there's no gas, the stove houses an oven and has a back, and the fridge has a built-in freezer.
  • Walk-in closets and pantry. In our forever home, we would each have our own walk-in closet and it would be fabulous! The pantry would either be butler's or the size of a small walk-in closet but with lots of function. In our for now home, we have one walk-in closet that's going to The Boy. We'll be adding a regular closet for me down the road. We did manage to add a small pantry during the kitchen remodel but it's a little narrower than a regular closet.
  • Designated pet areas. In our forever home, there will be spots in the laundry room for a cat's food and litter box and a dog's food. We'd love a small dog shower area plus some storage for food and supplies. Our future dog would also have specific spots in the living room and master bedroom for dog beds. In our for now home, the cat had a special cat cabinet for her food and litter (but this is getting shuffled around at some point so I can have a sink in that spot) but our old dog had a random corner of the kitchen for his food. I had no idea where to land his stuff but we did have a bit of storage for them in the banquette and pantry.
  • Amazing ceilings. In our forever home, there will be 10 or 12 foot ceilings that follow the lines of house and are covered in wood and gorgeous beams. In our for now home, the ceilings are 8 feet and it would cost a lot of money to remove the attic crawlspace to make them higher/prettier. We are using MDF paneling and 1x4s to create some pretty faux rustic effects though.
  • Designated rooms/areas. In our forever home, we'll have a lovely guest room with it's own small bathroom. The Boy will have his own small spot (with a door that I can shut) for all his ugly crap stuff. I'll have a niche off the living room for an office/craft area. We'll have a garage and either a basement or attic for storage. In our for now home, the nursery doubles as a guest room (we put a pack-n-play in our room when people come over). The Boy doesn't have his own Man Space and I have a small corner of the living room for my desk and printer but nothing else. I am carving storage out of every available space since we have no garage or basement and the attic is not set up for storage.
  • An open living area concept. In our forever home, the kitchen/living room/dining area would all be in one big room so our family can always be together (but retreat to a bedroom for alone time). We're not formal people so why live that way? In our for now home, there was never a dining area plus, the kitchen and living room are separated by a large wall that would cost a shit ton of money to relocate or change. We did add a small banquette dining area to the new kitchen remodel but the two main rooms will have remain separated.

Are your remodeling a forever home or a for now home? How has that affected your design choices?

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