French Farmhouse Renovation Update: Phase 2 Preliminary Drawings

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View from the West looking "through" the arched opening between the garages.
I've had several questions about the exterior of the 1950's red brick ranch that is serving as the starting point for the French Farmhouse.  First of all, let me tell you that this is not a house that sits on acreage out in the country with miles of winding gravel roads and hay fields all around...that will be my next project.  

View from Inside the pea gravel courtyard (with your back to the garage)
This is a "standard" red brick suburban ranch house.  As far as we've been able to determine, it was built some time in the 1950's.  It's got 1950's landscaping, a front sidewalk that has sunk about 4 inches from its original position and 1950's un-insulated windows with semi-permanent storm windows which have been painted and caulked in place...apparently since some time in the 1970's.

It has siding with mildew and window wells that leak into the basement.  At some point, (also in the 1970's from what we can tell), three bedrooms were added on to the south end of the house and the original detached garage was connected by an unheated breezeway which is on a slab and has windows where all of the seals are broken and the glass is, as a result, cloudy all of the time.

Despite all of its little issues (and the not so little ones, too), I fell in love with this house...well...maybe not the house so much as its the top of a hill...on a corner.  It's in a neighborhood where parents walk their children to school, people walk their dogs and deer sometimes walk through my front yard on their way home.

I fell in love with the fact that it has an adorable shed which will, at some point, become a potting shed...or a play house...who knows.

So, now that you have the background, let's talk a little bit about Phase 2 of the renovation.  As of this morning at 11 a.m., after three weeks and five dump trucks full of soil which was hand excavated and carried out in 5 gallon pails from the crawl space which is under the bedrooms,  7 tons of gravel, new drain tile, a new sump pit, and a fungus preventive moisture barrier; they are finally pouring the concrete floor in the crawl space!

Also a part of phase 1: insulation of of the floors above the crawl, sealing of the vents to the outdoors, electricity, pumps and that part of Phase 1 will be complete. There will also be a new sump system installed in the existing basement. I'll continue to show you what we've done to make the house inhabitable until we begin Phase 2.

Phase 2 of this project will involve building two new one-car garages and two bedrooms, changing the roof lines, re-purposing the interior space and replacing windows. This is going to be a significant remodel but we'll be using the exterior walls as well as some of the interior walls.

We're replacing floors and bathrooms...and the kitchen.  Yes, we'll be hiring a builder and professionals to do this as there are building codes that need to be followed and I do still have a full time job and building is not it!

                                                                              ...although I will help as often as they'll  allow it.

As you can imagine given the scope of the project, I'm still working on the placement of some of the rooms and some of the roof lines, but things are taking shape really quickly.

And finally, I would be remiss if I didn't tell you, right up front,  that I'm working with an  incredible architect named Dennis Parsons. I draw in pencil...and Dennis draws in Sharpie marker.

He understands my crazy scribbles and has been patient while I've showed him the Pinterest boards that I've made for this project and waved my arms in the air trying to explain my vision for exposed beams in the dining room.  We are on exactly the same page... and for that, I'm so very thankful.

For me, finding someone who understands what I'm trying to accomplish is critical to the success of this project. I knew that I'd found the right person when, at one of our very first meetings, Dennis said, "you're looking for someone to engineer YOUR vision".   Yep. that's it.

I can't say enough good things about this guy. He's got a great sense of humor, an amazing vision, and enough calm sensibility to keep me reigned in when I need it. Take a look at his business page, Parsons Architects, he's done some beautiful work (nothing like this one, though...until now. *smile*)

Have a great weekend...and happy November!    Wait...what?!