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  • Karla Trippe

Got Your Hammer and Checkbook?

We, like a lot of others in the end-of-the-boomer segment, decided to make early retirement moves in 2020. We thought we had built the perfect retirement home but the neighborhood was too young and noisy and not a fit for our lifestyle plus my doctors had finally determined that my health would never get better in the cold, high altitude of Colorado.


We had always like Tucson and had good friends living in a 55+ community. We decided to check it out in November of 2020 and ended up making the quick decision to move as we have on most of our home relocations.


By the time we got out of Denver, prices were increasing weekly due to the diminishing availability and we were barely able to find a house. Though we are happy with our choice, the fact remains that we have a 20-year old house that has been somewhat remodeled, and what was done was done poorly, and much of it in dated granite and tile leaving a mishmash of styles along with a ‘80s Southwestern style powder room that had to go.

Last week, a message appeared on Realtor.com that said “113% more buyers

are looking at Tucson over last year.” Does that explain why I had such difficulty finding

a decorator? The first one came with a high recommendation but had no time for me (though she did have time for my good friend). Another told me she absolutely wouldn’t do anymore Tuscan which I wasn’t looking for and never scheduled a walk-through. I did meet with a lovely woman who was out of my price range. But at last, I found a designer that was my fit and came with a great contractor.


My design style is to incorporate some elements of the place I am living -- whether it was San Francisco Traditional or Colorado Mountain into my standard Asian/French juxtaposition. In my last house, I finally got to completely indulge in my love of French Country and incorporated this style into almost every room. But I always loved true Southwestern and my designer was thrilled at my desire to amp up this style in my new house. She was thrilled as so few people want to do traditional Southwestern design anymore. Perhaps they need to stop watching HGTV so they won’t design everything in grey or white shaker with dark blue accents and Wayfair contemporary furniture.


With a designer and contractor place, it was time for the estimate. Our realtor had given us an estimate of what our remodel should cost based on her extensive experience working with our floor plan. Did I mention she was also the seller’s agent? Boy did she earn her commission for them. The number one thing we wanted was to put in a pool. The house was selected based on the lot. Our realtor selected an inspector that had worked for one of the largest pool companies. He told us how well our backyard would work for a pool. Only about $50K. Cool, we had enough. So off we went to get our pool estimate. We waited a month and . . . it came in twice the amount we had been told to expect!


So much for post Pandemic remodeling. The prices are double what they were six months ago and product availability, you know for tile, bathtubs, curtain fabrics, etc. is a complete mess. Everyone blames everything on COVID but is that why there is no fabric or tile? Everything is 8- 10 weeks behind schedule if it is available at all. So don’t be in a rush. And expect to pay significantly more. You can wait until prices come down or be like us and plow forward.


With this post, I will start showing pics of the before on the master bath as this is the part of the house under construction currently. Stay tuned for more remodeling highlights.

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