Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Project Update - Rebuilding is Complicated

We’ve made lots of progress in the last few weeks, as the talented teams from Waterhouse Builders and Elldee Electric started putting the place back together.  And as usual, there's been good news and bad news.
View across foyer to kitchen - before
Let's start with the first floor and some good news - there are lots of changes!  As you enter the foyer, you see the newly opened floor plan.  We expanded the kitchen doorway, and now you can see across the entire first floor.   What a difference!

View now - open floor plan with clear sight lines from kitchen to living room
Looking from kitchen to dining and living room - before
You don't feel like you're isolated in the kitchen anymore!

1980's kitchen
And the kitchen has gotten a lot of updates.   We eliminated the old kitchen peninsula with the space stealing upper cabinets and the room feels twice as big. 

But we ran into some complications.  As we opened up some of the walls, we discovered why the floor slanted down towards the old refrigerator.  The beam across the ceiling was held up with a 2x4 that landed on a wimpy 1x6 in the basement - no place to transfer the load, hence the sagging floor.  

The guys put new load bearing joists in the basement, to support the load.   And to hide that big beam, we opened up the floor above and inset the new LVL so it will be hidden in the ceiling.  A big job that required tearing out the ceiling and floors – but worth it!

New recessed support LVL 
But structure is just part of the kitchen story.  We’ve completely rewired the kitchen,  putting in all new lighting and outlets as we prepare for the new kitchen design.  Now we’ll have recessed lights, island lights and undercounter lights.  Those 3 layers of lighting will make a big difference!  And knob and tube wiring is a thing of the past, throughout the entire house.

To the left of the foyer, the dining room feels dramatically different.  We opened up the interior 'window' to create a new opening to the living room, which gives the space a much more cohesive feel.  Plus we have a circular flow that will make this a fabulous party house!
Circular floor plan!
And do you see the difference the new exterior door makes?  It helps link everything to the outdoors!

In the living room, we raised the floor and now the room feels so much more connected to the rest of the house.  Plus, now that you're at a higher elevation, you can see out of the windows to enjoy water views from the front window.  We watched a sailboat drift by this afternoon – so lovely! 

Upstairs, we have even more changes.  The new 4 bedroom floorplan is becoming a reality.  Of course we had to take out a lot of the old framing, before we could get started.  Now, it feels like such a big space!
Rewiring in progress!!!
We restructured the landing to add a short hallway to the new bedroom and family bath.  These two bedrooms have a similar layout and at 11 x 11, they’re a nice size.  Bedroom 3 is still the largest of the rooms and we added a nice big closet.
But the room that gets me the most excited is the master bedroom.  You can see the difference as soon as you walk through the door.  The bedroom is a big open space, with plenty of room for a king size bed and more.  The new master bathroom will be amazing - with a large shower, double vanity and the vaulted ceiling. 


Look at those high ceilings!!
Master bedroom before
Master suite during

West Wall - Before
West Wall - During 
Of course we've had our share of drama.  The plumbing has given us some real challenges (which translates into lots of money).  We had to move the washing machine and dryer, to meet building code requirements.  When my plumber cut into the old waste lines, we got a nasty surprise.  Years of accumulated crud had built up in the pipes.  And while he could have just snaked them clean, the rot had already started and would present a problem for the new homeowners in the future.  So instead, they tore out the old lines and replaced them with shiny new PVC.  Most of this will end up behind walls, but it's important for the integrity of the house!

And we've added some new steam radiators.  The 1980's addition had electric heat.  We want to link it to the boiler for the whole house, so Dominic has been busy laying new steam lines.  This requires some old school techniques, that you don't get to see much anymore!

We just passed inspections (woo hoo!) and it's on to  drywall.  I'll have a lot more progress to share soon!

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  1. That sailboat passing by and the master suite. Say buy me Susan at Open House.

  2. thank-you Hooked on Houses!!! Wow you peeps rock. Stupendous A+

    1. Thanks so much for the kind words! And so glad you found us!

  3. Well, all I can say is WOW! Thank you Julia for introducing me to my kindred spirit. You are doing exactly what I want to be doing. After being a business owner for 40 years all I want to do is live in the remodeling and building world. I built my first home at age 22, followed that up 18 years later with my dream home, another one five years later and the last one, four years after that. In the middle of all that, I oversaw new construction on my office building. I love the process so much! I've always wanted to remodel for others but I never thought there was money to be made in it since I'd have to hire it all out. Is there? Please tell me there is because if I don't find something along this line to do I will simply shrivel up and pout. Kids are gone, money's in the bank, now I just need to start, right? I'm so inspired right now!

    1. Hi Ellen - nice to know I'm not the only one that loves this stuff! And to your question, yes, there is money to be made. But it's nothing like the amounts you see on the TV shows. The trick is to know your market, make sure you set a budget and (try to) stick to it, get your real estate license and make sure you understand what buyers want in your market. Best of all - it's true if you're doing something you love, you never feel like you're working. Sure, there are ups and downs, but there's nothing that excites me more than bringing one of these old houses back to life!

  4. Hmmm. I thought maybe a builder's license, but never considered a real estate license. Thanks for the tips!

    1. General contractors in Maine aren't licensed (plumbers and electricians are!). There are always rumblings that a license might be required in the future and it would certainly be a good thing to do!


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