Decision to add-on or move

While writing about our construction project, I thought it would be important to talk about our decision to either add-on to our house or to buy/sell.  I have a friend in a local mom’s group (Chelmsford Mothers’ Club) who is currently making this decision.  She was asking for advice recently and it got me to think back to that first decision.


We love love love our property. The town, the location within town, and the land itself. We have no close by neighbors looking into our kitchen, like in places we’ve rented in the past. We don’t share a driveway. We can’t hear when the neighbors get home and close their car doors.  We also didn’t want the stress of going through the home selling and buying process at the same time! I can’t imagine trying to sell a house with kids.  Their stuff everywhere and also having to clean everything clean all the time. And then having to take them somewhere whenever someone wants to see it.  Plus having to not look seriously at houses until you have an offer on your own house. Then a rush to find something when an offer is accepted.  No thank you!  We decided to just rough it for an entire summer and get the project done.

We lucked out being able to do it during the summer, with doing a majority of the cooking outside on the grill.  We were able to stay in our house the entire time.  Part of the project was converting our bedroom closet into part of the new bathroom upstairs. Because of that, we had to move out of the bedroom a few weeks after the start. We moved across the hall into Tony’s old office.

Another part of the process was that we felt really comfortable with Brian from ALC Design, the company we decided to do the project with. We spoke to a few other companies in the past, and tried to get other people to come and talk to us and of the ones that actually showed up, none of them ever followed-up with an actual quote. Another friend from the Chelmsford Mothers’ Club used ALC Design a few years ago. She still talks very highly of them and she hosts lots of events at her house, so I’ve seen their work. She also has a very old house (even older than ours) which they converted and updated.


We really felt like we would be part of the process with ALC Design.  I’m looking back at their website, which I originally looked at probably almost a year ago, but it really does describe the process. We were able to do several things via email so we didn’t have to have a bunch of meetings. I think we had 3 face to face meetings with Brian before we “broke ground”.

These were the main thoughts around the decision process on whether to add on or buy/sell. We needed a 2nd bathroom, preferably on the 2nd floor. Our kitchen cabinets were from the 60’s, the counter tops from the early 80s but had somewhat modern appliances (except dishwasher that was probably 20+ years old but still worked). I’ll share the before pictures in the future. Our kitchen had a very low ceiling and there were no rooms above it, so if we added rooms above it, now was the opportunity to fix the kitchen ceiling. The cabinets were attached to the ceiling, so new cabinets would be needed. So that’s how our project ballooned into an addition and renovation. Our siding needed to be replaced. Plus, if they were adding on to the house, all the siding would need to match.

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