Our House Addition & Renovation

My family and I are undertaking a major addition and renovation to our 120 year old home. We have lived here 10 years, and now it’s time to expand and do the things we have always wanted to do. I will be detailing some of the interesting facts and approaches about this process in hopes that you can make some better decisions with your own home. 

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(Yes, it’s kind of ugly, that’s why we are doing this.)

So to begin. The house is a 1400 square foot story and a half, meaning we have 4 foot walls upstairs with sloped ceilings. The house is a two bedroom, 1 bathroom structure with a mid efficiency forced air furnace. We have a 1950’s block basement because the house was moved here from around the corner. We have a walkout out the back of the house. The most interesting fact is that we have dry mix rubble inside out rough cut 2x4 walls. This interesting detail is because there was a cement factory in our village back then, and it seemed like a smart thing to do. I think the idea was that it helped to dry the plaster walls out quicker, as the dry mix sucked the moisture out. So we have a lot of thermal mass, literally, tons of it. 

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Our needs for the renovation are a new master suite so our two children can have their own rooms and that they can share a bathroom, all upstairs. The master suite will be off of the main floor, so that adds a bathroom to the main level. We need a front porch with a roof, so we can use that space. We had a deck built years ago, and it was poorly done, so we never had that contractor finish the work. We need a nice space or two out the back so that we can sit on a deck and enjoy our back yard. We also have a raised space with retaining wall that needs to be improved upon, so it can be used better. A bigger office for me and all my books, as well as a spare bedroom in the basement. both come with big windows, my office overlooking the backyard. There is an opportunity to have a basement bathroom down the road with this plan, so that also helps. More storage, always more storage. Raise the roof to add more insulation up there in the slopes. Replacing the furnace with a more effective heating source. Finally switching the old kitchen with the dining room, so the kitchen is not tucked into the corner, and making it more central to our main living space. 

Of course all of this has to be done well, with health and efficiency in mind all the way through. No small feat, no small expense. This is that story.

© Stephen Collette 2016