The quick answer was that remodeling was a better option than moving, but the whole story is a little more complicated.
It started in the middle of the night a few years ago, as I stepped on a small toy on my walk in the dark to the bathroom in the back of the house. Our room wasn't a traditional master bedroom with an attached bath, in fact, it was once a one car garage. There was a bathroom closer, right next to the kids' rooms, but I didn't want to risk waking them up. This wasn't how I imagined life nearly at age 40.
Our house started as part of a neighborhood of cozy weekend bungalows for San Francisco families. It was two bedrooms, one bath, a small living room, kitchen, and a tiny one car garage. By the late 1970s, the neighborhood had transitioned into full time residences, and most of the bungalows were adjusted to reflect year round living. The previous owners of our house - remarkably a family with four children - added space, turning the garage into a bedroom, bumping out to turn a side patio into the kitchen, making the old kitchen a dining room, then adding a large family room, a fourth bedroom, and another bathroom. The house was a modest four bedrooms/two bathrooms, but when we bought it, we came from a tiny, 830 sq foot, two bedroom/one bathroom house that made this home look huge.
The house was great, but it didn't feel like ours. We were one mention in the long history that belonged to the house. The giant rock fireplace, cheap wood paneling, and rod iron scones had the signature of the hunter two owners prior to us. The massive gold and crystal chandelier and thriving jade plant were put in by the Chinese national who sold us the house. The house belonged to its past.
When we moved in, now nearly nine years ago, we quickly said goodbye to the sconces, chandelier, and wood paneling. This has always been a good house, and we tried to give it the love it needed, but there came a point when too many improvements were tied to other improvements. We couldn't take out the fireplace without rebuilding the wall and changing the flooring. We couldn't expand the kitchen without strengthening the structure, and unfortunately, we couldn't add a bathroom to our room without major construction. We live on a hill with a view, and while we could have possibly added a bathroom to the front of our room, it would have cut off our view, and it would have required the garage downhill, to which our room now slightly overlaps, to be rebuilt for structural support. It made no sense, which meant for the second time in our house's history, the kitchen needed to move, and again, to an exterior patio.
We did consider moving and we looked around at our options. We found plenty of homes in our range (what we paid for our home + the amount we expected to spend on the remodel), but none were right. Either the location was good, but the house was dated and needed improvements or the house was updated to someone else's tastes, but the location was awful. None had a view or large property like our house does now, which we found is nearly impossible to give up.
We like our location, we love our view and the peacefulness of our laid back, slightly rural-in-a-suburban-way neighborhood, and we weren't ready to go. We weren't ready to remodel, either, but it was my in-laws who suggested it as a solution, back when we thought it was going to be a simple, straightforward process of relocating the kitchen and building a bathroom. That was back before we know about the brutality of the county permitting and design approval process, which ended up changing everything. But that is for another post.
This house is now ours. No longer are we a mere mention in the long history of this house. We put our stamp on it in a significant way. This house flows the way we want it to, and is designed with our needs and tastes in mind. We own this house.