Should I Stay or Should I Go could have been the theme song for Jim and Shari McGuire for years before they put their house on the market. The growing needs of their infant son highlighted the clash with available space, but the housing market clinched the final answer to their indecision.
Just south of Weaver Lake Park, the McGuires had built a house in a beige, cookie-cutter neighborhood. “We had gone back and forth on finishing our basement, versus buying a different home,” says Shari McGuire. They finally put the house on the market and placed a contingent bid on another house.
After few reasonable offers and second thoughts about a larger mortgage, they took their house off the market in August 2009. By the end of December, all the remodeling was done. “It feels like a new house,” says Jim McGuire.
McGuire has been a stay-at-home dad since the birth of his son Trevor, so four months of remodeling, although speedy by normal standards, didn’t seem quick. He lived amongst the work done on the main level and kept their son out of harm’s way as the rest of the house was completed. “Trevor gained lots of respect and admiration for the people doing the work,” Shari says.
The McGuires found it impossible to shop for contractors based on price, so it came down to design ideas—and Andrea Corbin, owner of Contract Design and Company, had plenty. An interior designer with a general contractor’s license, Corbin made the design and renovation seamless.
The kitchen got a new sink and appliances, along with pendant lights above a breakfast bar created by lowering a half wall. Jim loves the Southwest, so earthen colors predominate in the backsplash tile work and granite that adorns the counters and center island. A larger pantry with pullout drawers was also added. “It’s so useable, I don’t know how we ever got by with less space,” Shari reflects.
Space was created in the laundry room as well with the addition of a stackable washer and dryer. This left room for custom locker cabinetry that holds coats, boots and bags just inside the garage—the family’s main entrance.
The main floor bathroom now sports white wainscoting and rich chocolate-colored walls. “I found a cabinet at Goodwill—it’s a 1940s sewing machine cabinet that we repurposed to hold a vessel sink,” explains Shari. “A beautiful chandelier was added too. Something the guys gave my husband a hard time about,” she chuckles.
New carpet welcomes the descent to the basement and flows throughout the newly renovated space. A large entertainment and gathering room serves as play area and toy storage for Trevor, and is just a hop and a skip from reclining theatre seats that face a custom entertainment wall. Along with a large screen television, it houses remote-operation media equipment and merges into a tiled fireplace. Dimmable lights complete the entertainment atmosphere.
Instead of bringing the kitchenette and bar area into the main family room—taking up floor space—Corbin snugged it under a low hanging beam. “We added an archway and tiled the wall behind, complete with accent lighting for ambiance,” says the designer. It includes a microwave, pizza oven, refrigerator, sink and ample counter space for holiday decorations.
The entertainment space was also enlarged by the relocation of plumbing. Flanked with ceramic tile that also frames the mirror, this bathroom is an oasis of peace tucked into a corner. Glass tile accents in light blues and greens give it a Caribbean feel, highlighted by pictures of the ocean.
Another haven in this renovation is a “man cave.” “Jim has some amazing artifacts and collections that warrant a room,” Corbin says. Jim’s space is anchored by a Lazyboy and TV, surrounded by signed and framed sports memorabilia of all types. Displays cover every wall and counter surface. A rack of over 300 hockey fight tapes sits within reach of the enviable center-ring chair.
Shari gained her own territory too. “Closets by Design understood the workflow of a scrapbooker and designed what I needed,” Shari says. “I can have a friend over to scrapbook and there’s plenty of room for both of us.” A stand-up work area for cutting complements pullout drawers for paper and supplies. Deep counters and a peninsula mean she can finally spread out and be creative.
“The final cost, including new appliances and custom cabinetry, totaled $75,000,” Shari explains. In a project this big, many variables move the bottom line up and down. The McGuires held out for a specific slab of granite in the kitchen and added additional tiling in the bathroom, which made things more expensive, but also more customized.
By remodeling, the McGuires not only increased their livable square footage, they created favorite places to hang out. The Clash tune could still serve as theme song, If I go there will be trouble—which they realized early on, and, If I stay there will be double—double the space that is.