Reader southswell sent in this comment:


Thanks for your continuous housing education for the regular folks.   I bought my house last year in Palos Verdes area (close to Redondo Beach) and was wondering if you had any links or posts related to home renovation suggestions.  The home is about 4k sq feet in a gated area but hasn’t been updated since it was built in 1979.

My wife and I are starting to upgrade the home but we are not sure if our understanding of “high end” improvements is out dated.  Would you and/or your readers be able to provide some guidance on what type of materials (mostly in bathroom and kitchen) are expected in a 1.6m home?

It sounds like you need a full renovation.   

It is best to devise a complete plan in writing.  Then have a competant architect draw plans, and have your city/county approve them before having your favorite general contractor turn the old rambler into a showplace.

Learn from my clients featured here:

Their 6-month project turned into a 12-month when they had to upgrade the plans with a better architect, which you’ll appreciate if you are making structural changes.

When planning the upgrades, think about what the next buyer is going to want to buy.  If you plan to be there for 20-30 years, you may just want to make it comfortable for you, and wait until you sell to include the latest upgrades.  But I believe in doing the max improvements now so you can enjoy them, and make whatever changes later if your new digs grow old.

If you are constrained by the current floor plan and just want to improve what’s there, I’d spend as much money on the kitchen as your budget allows, and then bathrooms and closets:

Shop around for the most unique yet neutral granite slabs you can find.

For PV, you’d want to buy the full set of top-of-the-line stainless appliances (Viking, Wolf, etc.).

Minimum 18″ (and 24″ preferred) travertine laid diagonally on the floor.

Buy quality faucets and lighting.

Supplement/update surfaces like the fireplace with stacked stone.  This is my fireplace at home – it was lava rock originally, and a guy demo’d the 70’s look, and rebuilt the fireplace in one weekend  >>>>>>

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