When Halle and Casey Cane bought a $2.73 million Edwardian-style home in San Francisco four years ago, they just had small upgrades in mind.
“We initially moved in thinking, ‘We don’t need to do anything” other than a few tweaks, said Ms. Cane, 39.
Four years and $1 million later, they’ve “touched every inch of the house in some way,” said Ms. Cane. They’ve redone the basement, the den, all the bathrooms, the closets and upstairs bedrooms. They refinished kitchen cabinets in gray and then painted them white. They spent $50,000 adding foliage to the backyard, but are currently spending another $25,000 to remove it. After that, they’ll be done renovating—maybe. The idea of expanding the footprint by 500 square feet “is still in the back of our heads,” said Mr. Cane, 39, a real-estate investor and ski blogger.
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Most homeowners dread the prospect of a long renovation, where countless weeks or months are spent washing dishes in the bathtub and sleeping in the pool house. But a small number of homeowners—whether they’re procrastinators, perfectionists or just on a tight budget—take years and spend scads of money on home improvements. Eventually, they get their dream space, but endless renos can take a toll on remodeling professionals as
In April, interior designer Timothy Corrigan walked away from a contract to design and furnish an estate in Beverly Hills that his clients bought three years ago for more than $27 million. The reason? He lost hope that the owners, whom he declined to identify, would ever make up their minds.
“I had been on it for over a year and a half, but it was dead in the water,” said Mr. Corrigan, who has offices in Los Angeles and Paris. “I even burned sagebrush in the house to try to get it moving,” he said, referring to an American Indian cleansing ritual. Despite his call to the spirits, the homeowners first decided to add three new bedrooms, then changed it to five, then went back to three. Mid-design, they announced they wanted to add a new building on the property that would house a spa and gym. Later, they scrapped that and opted to include those elements in the main building.
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