Sunday, January 22, 2012

Decisions, decisions, decisions.

Admittedly, my eyes are often bigger than my stomach. This is the case with the updated plans. I have decently underestimated the cost required to build the second story per plan. So, Bubba and I have been putting our heads together to figure what our options are.

Bubba thought it was important enough that he wear his thinking cap.

So far, we are considering the following options:
  • Burning down the house and collecting insurance money.
  • Finishing the first floor per the updated plans, but add a bedroom instead of the library / stairs
    • then build the second story once we save up enough money
  • Framing the entire house, finishing one bedroom / bathroom and finishing it as money permits.
  • Getting a construction loan and finishing the whole thing now.
    • This is more complicated as we need to obtain bids from three GCs and go through a bunch of red tape
Honestly, all of those options are viable (ok, well *maybe* we won't burn down the house). We are gathering information and will make a decision in the near future.

In the meantime, one of the GCs we asked to bid on the project, found some older pictures of the house. So I present them here for your viewing pleasure:

This is a picture of the house from the 1930s, when a WPA project was commissioned to document all of the homes in Seattle.

This is a picture of the house after the previous owner bought and "renovated" it by enclosing the front porch. The property was purchased in 1990 and this picture was taken sometime after that.

This last picture was taken sometime in the late 2000s, during the housing bubble.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Public Service Announcement

I feel it necessary to write this post for a few reasons. But mainly because I think people should understand the amount of financial, emotional and mental commitment necessary to deal with a project of this scale.

I'm not rich, this project will consume all of my cash reserves and I will still have a higher mortgage payment. There is a reason I'm doing as much of the work as I can.

Which brings me to the best description of the stress; I've heard *many* anecdotes about couples who've done this and it almost drove them to divorce, or it did drive them to divorce.

And so I need to remind myself why I'm doing this. I'm not doing this as a cheap way to get a new home, I'm doing it as a challenge to myself.

Sometimes in the thick of it all, with the stress and uncertainty, I need to remind myself that this is a challenge, and fuck all. I am not going to lose.

Sounds like I am trying to motivate myself. I am. I write this on a snowy day, when I can't even drive the truck down my local side streets. So nothing happened on the house today. :(

Monday, January 2, 2012

New plans!

When I started this project, the idea was to cheaply, and quickly (ha!) renovate this old home, while keeping the existing roof. This led to quite a compromise in terms of idealized living spaces, but it was what I wanted at the time.

Well, plans change and my plans have changed both figuratively and literally. Figuratively because I've met an incredible woman with whom I plan to share my life. And literally, because we have redesigned the house a bit.

As a refresher, here was the original plan, which would remove the front 2' and the back 6'.

The big change is that if there are two (or more) people living in the house, we would need more bedroom space, which could only come from a second floor. And once you consider a second floor, do you go with a simple room in attic design, or do you add a gambrel roof, or do you go nuts and add a complete, wall to wall second floor?

(Side note: I wanted the foundation designed to bear the load of a second floor. Mike, the architect, had designed the foundation / pin piles accordingly. I knew that you only get to pour the foundation once, but you can always expand upwards.)

So, that brings us to the present, we've worked with Mike to come up with a design. Mainly this involved Mike and the future missus conferring, with me occasionally whining that something was hard to build, or would add cost or complexity. I'm good at fixing problems, not so good at design, so this worked out rather well.

The design we've settled on is this one:

The internal layout has also changed significantly. The original plan was to have a completely open interior, except for the bathroom. Now, with the addition of stairs, the first floor is broken up better, with a living room in the front and kitchen / eating nook in the rear.

The upstairs is made up of three bedrooms and two bathrooms, and a small open area for movie watching and reading.

Well, there is more to say about the updates, but I'll reveal those details in the future as we encounter them. I just wanted to post an update of the new plans.