Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Farmhouse Demo Days - Knock Down Those Walls!!

Demo day is always exciting!!!  Now that we have a go forward plan, we can get started tearing out some walls.  This isn’t a complete gut job, but we still have a fair amount of work to do and we're anticipating several days of demo.

The biggest challenge is getting the chimneys down.  I had hoped to convert the woodstove/chimney in the master bedroom into a wood burning fireplace or a gas insert.  But sadly, after talking with a couple of masons, I discovered it is no longer up to building code requirements and it can’t be converted  (the good news is we will be adding a gas fireplace in the living room). The other chimney is for the old boiler - which will be replaced with a gas, wall mounted boiler.

We are removing 3 major walls and they will be ‘stripped’ of plaster and lath, until the carpenters can put the new beams in. 




















And as always, we're saving everything we can for Habitat for Humanity's ReStore, so they can get a new home.
















And look at the difference!!!!  This is after the first phase, when they pulled off all the old plaster - leaving the lath in place for phase 2.













Okay, so it still looks a bit cluttered with the studs in place, but you can already get a feel for how much the floor plan will open up.
View towards Dining Room & Front Porch - Before
View towards Dining Room & Front Porch - After Demo
One of the things I'm most excited about is seeing the 'view' from the front door as you enter the house.  Look at the difference already!

Of course we've had some surprises....like all these plumbing connections where we want to open up the wall.
Yikes - we want to open up this wall!  That's a lot of plumbing!
And there is knob and tube wiring everywhere - which appears to be disconnected, but we need our electrician to come verify for us.

And there are things that make us smile - like this mixture of old wood that was used on this wall!  Yankee thriftiness shows up in every house!


Upstairs, we didn't make a lot of changes, except for the bathroom.

We've gutted it, but have discovered a few structural/plumbing challenges to our plan.  While we wait for the structural evaluation, we're on hold for this go forward plan!

And what happened to all the materials we pulled out of the house?  Well we donated everything we could.  Including the toilet and the kitchen sink :-)

Donation day!!!
What's next?  Well now we need to start putting it back together again!



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Tuesday, June 12, 2018

The Farmhouse - Design Goals, Floor Plans & More

When I start working on a new house, I try to take lots of factors into account. 

First on the list - safety and energy efficiency.  Thankfully this house has been well maintained over the years, so we don’t have some of the big issues we sometimes find.  However, the boiler is past its prime and that's the perfect opportunity to switch to gas and a high efficiency boiler.  We will also re-run all the baseboard heat, to accommodate the new floor plan.

Next, I focus on the floor plan and traffic flow.  I like to chat with people that are searching for a house, to understand what they're looking for.  And they have a very similar list of needs.  While I can't meet those needs in every house, I try to incorporate what I can.  Most buyers I’ve met want an open floor plan, with a natural flow from the living room to the kitchen – and even outdoor spaces.  This house has fantastic potential in that regard and we’ll be opening up multiple walls to make it happen.

The other request I hear a lot is for a first floor master bedroom.  And there are two different drivers:  sometimes it’s for a couple that is planning to ‘age in place’  and they want that option as they grow older.  But other times, it's for a family that wants a parent to move in with them, but still maintain a level of privacy with their own space.  I don’t often have the opportunity to do this with the limited space in the old  houses we work on, but this place has the potential for a lovely first floor master suite.

Yup - it's time for an update!!
And last (but not least),  I plan to update kitchens and baths.  In this house, the existing kitchen and bath will get gutted (much easier to run all new plumbing and electric that way) and we will add a full bath on the first floor.

So here’s the first floor – before and to-be.  By removing 3 major walls, we’ll open it up a lot!  You’ll walk in the front door and be able to see all the way through to the deck and big backyard.


The foyer becomes an office, a full bathroom and closet space.  That's a lot of utilization from one room!

Part of the existing enclosed porch will  be merged with the existing dining room, to become a very large living area.  The current finished section will become a home office.  As much as I love an open front porch, the adjoining room tends to be dark and the sunlight will make the room so bright and cheerful!
Sunlight streams in the front windows - formerly a front porch, soon to be an office
The staircase room will be widened a bit (we’ll be removing the old boiler flue that eats up a good bit of space) and become the new dining room.

Best of all, we’ll be opening up the walls from the dining room to the kitchen, we’ll eliminate the short wall in this photo (as well as all the paneling) and add French doors out to a large deck.

The second floor doesn't change a huge amount, but we're making the bathroom a bit more spacious and we're adding a big closet in the front bedroom (the old closet really wasn't deep enough for hangers!).

Sounds like a lot of work?  Well it is, but it will be so worth it!  Can't wait to get started!

This is going to be amazing!!!
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Monday, June 11, 2018

It's Almost Like Being There - a Virtual Tour of the Farmhouse!

I love to host a 'before' Open House for our projects.  That way people come check out the house in person and get a feel for what we are dealing with (I try to cover everything with photos, but they still can't compare with being there).

Since we didn't have time for that, I had a 3D video made of the house.  It's a very cool use of technology!  Just click on the link here.  Be sure and check out the 'dollhouse' view, which gives you an overview of the floor plan.
Dollhouse View of house
And then take a walk through the house, by clicking on the circles along the floor.  Once you're on the circle, you can use your mouse to spin around!
The white circles lead you through the house
And of course there is a floor plan - made up of all the flooring throughout the house.  J
Let me know what you think!  I love it! Pin It

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

The Farmhouse

So, it's on to the next project!!  And this one is a bit different than what we've done before.   Doesn't this look like a quintessential American farmhouse?   The records show it was built in 1925 and it's on an unusually large lot, making me wonder if it was the original farmhouse for the area.  Most of  the surrounding houses appear to have been built in the 1930's, long after this one was finished.

And the farmhouse styling is evident on the interior as well.  The moldings are very simple - 1x4 boards, with no ornamentation.  The newel post and balusters are equally simple.

It's been meticulously maintained and has only had a few owners in almost 100 years.  And this house has a warm, comforting 'vibe' that everyone seems to notice.  Maybe it's because it was so well loved over the years, maybe it's the sunshine that comes streaming through the windows, but it's a really welcoming home.

What do I love about it?

1) Potential - This place has a LOT of rooms.  And that means a lot of walls.  Seriously, for someone that likes to open up walls to create large living spaces, well, it doesn't get much better than this!  I'm so excited about the potential in this place!  It's going to be amazing!

When you walk through the front door, you find yourself in the front porch.  My guess is this used to be an open porch, but it's been closed up with lots of windows and knotty pine paneling.
Front Porch
 Once you walk through the door at the end of the hall, you find yourself in a very large foyer.  It has a big closet at the end of the room, flanked by the living room and dining room.
The living room appears to have been an addition at some point in time.  It has lots of windows and a wood stove.

The dining room is really large, with wallpaper that I swear my mother had when I was growing up.  It's a bit dark, which is typical when you have a full porch on the front of the house.


Don't you love the little hutch built in under the stairs?
The dining room leads to a narrow room that I don't quite know what to name.  It's not big enough for a table, but it has the staircase to go upstairs, so I've nicknamed it the staircase room.  And it has a very cool little built in china cabinet.  Isn't it adorable???


Staircase room leads upstairs and to the kitchen
I'm guessing the kitchen was updated in the 70's.  Everything has been very well maintained, but it's certainly time for an update!
There is this extra space in the back of the kitchen that leads to the back door.  I'm guessing some sort of mudroom?  And see that window, that's the only view to the backyard.  We need to change that!



Upstairs, we have more wallpaper - yikes!  But aren't the funky angles kind of cool?  Seems like a very modern layout for 1925!

There are three bedrooms and all of them have windows on two sides, which I really love for capturing a cross breeze in the summertime.  This is the largest of the bedrooms.  Plenty of room for a queen or king sized bed.

And this room is large as well.

The third bedroom is a bit smaller, in part because of the funky angled wall (off to the right of the closet door).  But it's still fine for a twin bed and a dresser.

The bathroom is interesting.  The front of it is pretty typical (and yup, it's pink!!!  Deja vu!), but as you turn the corner, you discover a long hall with a built in chest at the back.  Unique!!


And the house has a large, dry basement that has had the walls insulated.  The boiler has certainly been a champ and could use an update, but I want to investigate changing to gas.

2) Privacy - this house has a really large, private backyard (with a big lilac tree in the middle).  That is so rare in this area, where most homes are on one tenth of an acre.  But unfortunately, with the current design, you really don't notice the nice backyard from inside the house.  So, I'm planning to add french doors to a large deck that will maximize the views to the yard.


3) 2 Car Garage - If I had to guess, I'd say less than 10% of the homes in this area have a 2 car garage (the vast majority don't have any garage!).  And when you live in Maine with our snowy winters - well that's a big deal!!!  Not to mention a big driveway that would be perfect for a basketball hoop (when it's not snowing).

What I don't love??

Wallpaper - seriously I'm going to be working overtime to remove all the wallpaper!  And as many of you know, that can be a pretty miserable task.  But it really doesn't fit into my design scheme!
Photo: Mark Marchesi

But I love pretty much everything else.  The original maple floors are in great shape and it's a good solid house.  We started working on it a few weeks ago.  So I've been taking a lot of photos and will try to catch you up on our progress.  This one is going to be fun!  Are you following on Facebook or Instagram?  I share a lot of photos there as well!  So glad you're joining to watch it unfold!





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