Little cash but lots of determination...My story

steri4meJuly 13, 2006

I have your typical, post war, cape style house. When we bought it the stairs went up the side instead of the middle giving us one big room upstairs. The down stairs was two bedrooms, bath, living room, and kitchen. The demensions of the house was 24x30. Thats 720 sq ft on the first floor and less on the second. The first thing we did was move the stairs to the middle and add a dormer onto the upstairs back. This gave us two upstairs bedrooms and a full bath. More usable space on the second floor but not a big increase in dimension.

I raised three kids in this house. While I only entertained friends and family we made it work. We eventually made the two downstair bedrooms into one master bedroom.

Now, twenty years later and the kids are all grown but I still dream of more space. People think I'm nuts for wanting a addition when the kids are all grown. My answer to them is that my family will only get bigger. The children will marry and have kids of their own and I want to be able to have them all over.

I should mention that the house was set up backwards. The kitchen was not on the side of the drive way. Thats where the bedroom is. I knew I didn't want to add on to the back and lose some of my small yard so what's a women to do.

Well, I decided to put on addition onto the driveway side of the house. Isn't that where she said the bedrooms are you ask? Yes and that will never do so we need to move the kitchen, bathroom and bedroom and livingroom to make this work. Oh my God, what will this cost you ask? Well, on the open market I got quotes of $150k. Way to much for my small neighborhood. Why not just move you ask? My house is 1\4 mile from the waterfront, 1\4 mile from the center of town, and 2 miles from all major highways. I love the location. so what's a woman to do?

I contacted the local Tech Highschool and proposed the project to them. They have so far put in a new furnace and central air with ductwork. The foundation (Not included) goes in next week and the school will start in sept giving me my dream house. The cost is estimated to be about $30k. Now that I could do!!! I should include in the cost PATIENCE. the project will take about 2 years.

When done my living room will be 360sq ft opened to the kitchen 170 sq ft and open to the dinning room of 80 sq ft. this will give me a open area of 610sq ft. There will be a new bathroom, new laundry room, and what I call the handicap bedroom on the first floor.

The second floor will have a new master bedroom 400sq ft with the old bathroom and second bedroom for guest.

This addition is only 10x32 on first floor and 10x24 on second floor. Total sq ft added 560 sq ft. rearranging floor plan.... Priceless!

I'll let you know how were doing through all this but wanted to share with you that even with a small house and little cash it is still possible to create the home of your dreams.

Thanks for letting me share my story

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That's fantastic, Steri4me! What an ingenius solution to your problem. I wish our local HS's had wood/tech shop still.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2006 at 11:55AM
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Steri4me ~ Determination can accomplish much as you are showing us with your plans for your home. I am looking forward to seeing pictures of your place. Hope you will have some before, during and after pictures to show us.


    Bookmark   July 13, 2006 at 12:32PM
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Gee, I thank you ladies for taking the time to share my story. Skeeterbuzz, This is not a local Highschool with a woodshop, It is a Technical high school. These kids spend 1/2 the school year in shop each year. While they get the standard high school diploma they also are ready to enter the work force with a skill. Be it carpentry,plumbing, electrical or what ever shop they take. They are taught under master carpenters..plumbers....what ever and they must past all local codes. Their reputation is on the line after all. Do a search on line and see if there is one close to you. They do small jobs and major ones like mine. Great money saver.

Flowerlady, Love your name. I will post pics when done. I took lots of pre pics. I look at them ever now and then since I have been living with the gutted house for a year already. I am excited about what will be but admit living in a gutted and under construction house for this long can be trying.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2006 at 1:15PM
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You are so smart!
We are in sort of the same predicament. Little space, but our house was SHABBY. It's getting there...we didn't hire students, but I found a younger man who was a carpenters apprentice who had purchased his own home and was renovating it. Then he started on his Mom's investement home...then he finished a job for a friend who's contractor backed out and did a much better job than the contractor did. So then he came here and helped me with some rooms. He loves to do work he's not attempted before and you can not beat his prices.
He's doing most of the next step of our work. It the price could have really been up there had we used the architects workmen, but the architect (we had to hire one, for the addition) loves the work our fellow has done.
I had to wait 8 years to find the "right" man for the job. It was worth it!


    Bookmark   July 13, 2006 at 5:02PM
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Wow, steri4me. Lucky you to get a remodel and a teaching experience for students (very much a good thing) out of the same project! I had to commiserate though. Our bedroom is also on the driveway side and the kitchen opposite... I want some of whatever whoever chose this particular floorplan for this lot was smoking, because it was obviously pretty good stuff. The garage is under the master bedroom (deeply sloped lot) and so DH can't park in the garage because he goes to the gym at 5am and the garage door going up jolts me awake. The car door slamming outside sometimes wakes me up anyway, as does the swearing ;-) as he chisels the ice off his car in the winter. It would have made so much more sense to put the bedroom on the "quiet side" of the house!

    Bookmark   July 13, 2006 at 5:20PM
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Hi Steri4me ~ DH thought of my online name because of my love of growing flowers.

Living with construction going on around you can be trying that's for sure. We all just have to learn to keep our cool, take deep breaths and know that in the end it will all be worth it.

Do keep us posted as to what's going on. DH and I really think it's cool that you are using the tech school. It will be a learning experience for all of you and I wouldn't be surprised that you have excellant work done too.


    Bookmark   July 14, 2006 at 11:34AM
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Good for you!

See if the kids belong to Skills USA VICA. Many tech high schools do. When I was teaching, I was an advisor. It is a wonderful youth group with one heck of a big conference in Kansas City or Louisville, KY each year it rotates every 5 years I think. They compete in their field or leadership skill. All year long they have fundraisers and a local competition to see who gets to go! It is fantastic to see them doing what they are learning.

Our carpentry students built a home every year for a family in the community.

Great program!


PS if they have VICA, ask when the competition is in your area, maybe Jan. or Feb. the nationals are in June.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2006 at 9:18PM
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I am in awe of you. Please post some pictures.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2006 at 11:10PM
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today's update is.....WE HAVE A FOUNDATION. The 10' by 32' foundation was never going to be done by the school. We had a private contractor come out and do it. We had gotten estimates last year and called him in June to put it in. By then of couse he was busy and I was in a panic that he wouldn't get it done by Sept when school resumes. But, thank God, the foundation is complete and inspected and ready for building 21/2 weeks before the kids arrive. I'll post pics as soon as my DH tells me how.

And away we go!!!!

    Bookmark   August 20, 2006 at 1:12PM
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Pamela Church

Skills USA is great! One of my students (I taught him in both 8th and 10th grades. He's now a senior.) has competed for the past two years in masonry. His first year he placed fifth in the nation. Last year he was second.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2006 at 5:57AM
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steri4me - Can you update us on this endeavor?

    Bookmark   July 21, 2007 at 4:36PM
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And can you say if you've ever considered writing stories? I love the way you do it!

    Bookmark   July 22, 2007 at 5:50AM
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Hello again
I know it's been a long time since I updated you, sorry about that but I'll try to catch you up now.
Platt, (the school doing the work) finally got to my house about Oct of that year "06". The first thing that they did was build my addition. It was quite a site to see. My house certainly had Presence on the street. All the other houses built there add on in back of their houses so the fronts were still 30' long and here is my house now 40' wide. I must tell you I was so excited.
From there they moved to moving the rear door to make room for the new down stairs bedroom. Ya, here comes the problems. When they cut into the existing house they found that the sheathing of the house was so water damaged they could put their fingers right through it. Seems when the ex husband built that back dormer he didn't let the roof over hang and all the water for 20 years had been dripping down the house under the vinyl siding. Here is our one year delay. My house had asbestos under the vinyl siding and I had to pay about 3 thousand to have that professionally removed and then carpentry had to replace all the sheathing on the out side of the house.
I had not planned on doing new vinyl siding or new windows on the upstairs bedroom but here we go. Good thing I'm a glass half full kind of gal and just said thank God we found this or the house would have fallen down.
So after the first year of living in one room with only a refrig and sink and microwave for a kitchen and a bathroom we had the new space for the new bathroom 8x8 and the old living room had been framed in for the new bedroom 12x13 on the first floor and the new bedroom upstairs that we were not touching got area's for built in draws and new windows.
Over last summer we insulated those area's and sheet rocked them. That was the first year. Oh I almost forgot they also put on a rubber roof on the back dormer. Yes rubber because it only has a 3/4" pitch. I went with extra insulation under it as well.
Sept 07. I tormented my self trying to pick out new vinyl siding. I really wanted a dark color more in the original colonial colors but every where I looked people were using light colors for siding. I finally just bit the bullet and ordered certainteed pacific blue. This extra cost of about 7 thousand has me working a lot of overtime but what the hell right now the house is not something warm and comfortable to be in anyway. So for this year, they have almost finished vinyl siding my house as well as they are doing my 40'x8' covered front porch. I chose Timbertech walnut for the decking.
I found out that I could buy stuff at contractors cost because Platt is considered a contractor. The place I used made a error and gave me a really hard time but I was able to get the decking for way way below cost (great story for another time). Because of the error and the great price I was getting I ordered the decking for the front and the back deck at the same time. Total 7 thousand dollars.cha ching!!!! The decks are proving to be the most expensive material cost of the whole project.
So that pretty much bring you up to date.They broke threw the addition wall to the old house and I now can see what great space I will have. The down stairs great room area while still not huge will be just right for two or a gathering. I should be able to now have family over with out trying to stay together in a 12x13 living room. The upstairs master bedroom with a walk in closet is very promising as well.
This summer I am hopeful to do some more insulating and sheet rocking. I estimate job completion by this time next year. Electric still needs to finish as does hvac and I decided to enlarge the upstairs bathroom. what the hell at this point it's the only thing left to redo and it was very very small. Too small to unconsidered a master bathroom.
I know you want pic's and I promise that some day my new dear husband will get them on line for me and I will post them all from start to finish. I am the house person and he is the computer person so lets just blame him for now.
Wish me luck as we still need a back deck. hardwood floors a fireplace, cabinets and lots more. Budget? what budget, I just work and work and buy and buy

    Bookmark   May 2, 2008 at 3:21PM
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WOW you've been a busy beaver! Thank you so much for the update and I too love the way you tell the story! Hope your DH will soon get the pictures up for us to ooh and aah over!

    Bookmark   May 7, 2008 at 2:29PM
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See lots of determination II for the pics. And thanks for liking the way I tell a story. Maybe after I finish the house I'll write a book.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2008 at 11:02AM
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