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One thing leads to another

For years we’ve been considering a kitchen and bathroom renovation. When a key benefit of staying in a hotel is the ability to shower without water blasting Beej right on top of his head, you start thinking about ways to make it an every day occurrence. Our kitchen counters are well worn, and the cabinets could use a refresh as well. So, we figured while we were exploring bathroom renovations, we’d just see what it would cost to do the kitchen and bath together. A few months ago, we had a couple contractors and a designer in to look at our place and tell us what they could do.

The short answer to bathroom renovations was to dormer the roof. While we have no philosophical problem with changing a 300 year old roofline if it meets our needs, we weren’t too keen on being the ones to pull the trigger on this house. We started looking at places that had already been renovated, and that opened the can of worms: We’ve been in this house almost 10 years. How have our needs and priorities changed, and what do we value now?

I love being able to walk around town – to terrific restaurants, the library, coffee shops, and various errands like the CVS. It’s made my commute bearable to be able to leave my car in the driveway all weekend. But the commute has been wearing on me, and my first week of multiple meetings in NH brought the commuting discomfort to a new level. Instead of going to NH once a month, I’m expecting to go at least once a week due to my new position, and on those days I’ll spend 2.5 – 3 hours in the car. We value having those 10 hours a week to do something else.

Obviously a soaking tub and nice shower are high on the list. We cook a lot, often together, so the kitchen layout and features are important. We also need a guest room for friends and family to stay over, and another full bath would be really nice.

We enjoy entertaining, both casual get-togethers like cookouts and football, as well as fancier dinner parties. This house has been a good place for that, particularly with the landscaping we’ve done in the back yard. We definitely want to keep a fireplace, a formal dining room, and a casual living room where we can watch TV.

Even with this list of attributes, the idea of finding a new place seemed more hypothetical than real. I was still having trouble envisioning a place I would like as much as our current home. So, a few weeks ago, we went to a bunch of open houses and started exploring towns along the Rte 3 corridor. In our first trip, we saw several homes in Lowell, one in Chelmsford, and one in Groton. The first one we saw in Lowell convinced me that we really could find a place closer to work that would fit our needs, so we decided to put our house on the market.

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