Thursday, February 24, 2011

Closing the Gap

This is Dave, Rachel's husband, seizing the chance to guest post and share a story from our home remodeling adventures. Rachel's not been feeling well for at least the past week, so here's my chance to guest post.

This post requires a little history. Our house sat on a quarter-acre corner lot, facing College Street, with a decent sized backyard. The previous owner was a little crazy and wanted to squeeze as much money out of his deceased aunt's old house as he could. He decided to subdivide the quarter-acre lot and sell the second lot for someone to build a townhome on. Yes, one townhome...behind a house. This division would have taken all of the land in the backyard right up to the back porch for the second lot and the house would lose its back yard and driveway. In order to be able to do this, he had to "relocate" the front door to face Corsbie Street as the side-lot setbacks were less than the backyard setbacks. For some reason he thought he could make an additional $20k by selling the backyard as a seperate lot. However, his real estate agent was able to convince him that, in the small town of Hartselle where real estate was not really booming and house prices were very low, it wasn't going to happen. We bought the house and "both" lots with it, but not after he had already done the damage (seen in the picture below) to the house by adding the new "front door". Fortunately, the city had not approved the lot subdivide because he hadn't yet relocated the mailbox to that side of the house. 

So our goal for this remodeling adventure was restoring the original intent of the house. The real front door is just off of this picture to the right. The other "front" door looks awkward placed below and needed to be taken out.

The lesson to be learned: Plan your time wisely, especially when beginning a project involving opening a giant hole in the side of your house. You'd think I would have learned my lesson after taking over 24 hours to get the front door in securely on one of the coldest days of the year. This project only took me 8-1/2 hours. In theory, that sounds like a great improvement, unfortunately I began this work at 6:30pm.

Much better without the door and porch/deck/landing/awkwardness?

Below is the progress by 9:00pm. It took me a while to get everything removed (there was significant water damage underneath the poorly-installed door), cleaned up and ready to begin adding structure back. The sun went down, our mostly elderly neighbors were probably in bed, and we still had a huge hole in our house.

Below is the progress by 10:00pm. I reconstructed the sill and one of the joists and put up the sheet of plywood to try and keep some of the noise from getting to our neighbors' houses.

It took until 1:00am to get the wall framed in and the exterior sheet of plywood in place.

Finally done at 3:00am.

The following two pictures show the results. I'm so glad we went ahead and restored the house back to its original condition. Not only does it look more natural from the outside, the inside is actually functional; no doors opening into other doors. 

Remember: It might not be the best idea to tear a hole in your house after dinner.

1 comment:

  1. looks so much better - and i feel ya - we have started many a project late in the day only to wonder at 2am "why did we want to do this again?". Love your writing style - and very cool redo.