Monday, January 10, 2011

Renovating - Investment or Vanity?

Renovating is an expensive business. It costs you money, even if you do most of the work yourself, but it also costs you time, stress and general disruption. So why do we do it?

Renovating your home can add considerable value to your property if done properly. It can also detract from the value of your property if the renovations are poorly designed, the workmanship is below standard or it's not tastefully decorated. You can also over-capitalise by spending more on the renovation through sheer vanity, than can be gained in extra dollars when you sell.

Renovating your home can also add considerable value to your life. If the renovation makes it easier to do the things that are important to you then it has a value beyond that of the purely financial.

For me, the area of my home that didn't work was the kitchen. The one room I probably spend the most amount of time in! It was tiny: 2.5 metres by 2 metres. Too small for the fridge/freezer to fit into and a bench for preparation that was not much bigger than a chopping board. For someone who values cooking from scratch as well as preserving produce from the garden, the kitchen was a daily frustration.

The effort to create a new kitchen has been huge because I was not in a position to just add a bigger kitchen, I had to work within the existing footprint of the house. That meant relocating the bathroom to the third bedroom (which was really just a junk room) so that the kitchen could expand into the space made available once the old bathroom was removed.

Cinnamon Scrolls - The first batch of baking from the 'almost finished' kitchen.

The work hasn't come cheap and it's been a major disruption for months and months, but it's much easier to reconcile the costs (financial, physical and emotional) when the benefits are more than cosmetic. And, the financial investment pays dividends each time I cook from scratch rather than rely on ready-made convenience.

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