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Thursday, November 5, 2015

Farmhouse Renovation Floor Plans and Progress

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After what feels like an eternity (just under two and a half years) and a number of  "bumps in the road"  I'm excited to finally share the revised plans for Phase 2 of the remodeling and renovation here at the farmhouse and to be able to tell you that we have been issued a building permit!
If you saw the original floor plans for Phase 2 of the renovation, you can tell that the new plans have been scaled back from original drawings.  The good news is that I am able to keep my new kitchen design, master bedroom and bath, and  the new hearth room. While I lost the really cool garages and gravel courtyard that I had originally designed, I gained a wonderful new studio space and a couple of other special features that I'll share with you as things progress.


When I received the bids for the first set of plans, I found that contrary to what I was initially told, in our case it was not less expensive to cut the roof off and add a second floor so, instead of having a two story home, the farmhouse will remain a single story and we're constructing  two additions:  one in the front of the house and one in the back.


Since I'm turning two of the existing three bedrooms into a new kitchen and giving up both of our existing bathrooms to make way for the new hearth (family) room, the larger addition in the front yard will contain two bedrooms, a full bath.

This addition will also have a studio space for me. (This is due in large part to the fact that my family likes to eat dinner at a table rather than balancing their plates on their knees while trying to keep the dog from drinking their milk which is conveniently located on the floor near their feet. I'll admit that after a few days, the novelty wears off.)

The smaller addition in the back of the house will provide a hall that will connect the garage to the house (the existing hall is being converted to our master bedroom closet) as well as a second bathroom. The remainder of the existing house is being renovated and all of the rooms being "repurposed" into spaces that are more fitting for life in 2015 instead of 1950.  As we go through the process, I'll try to do a better job of showing you what I mean.


I expect this projects to take four to six months but much will depend upon the weather here in northern Illinois as well as the availability of sub contractors for things like concrete, electric service, gas service and water service all of which are being replaced and/or upgraded to new and more energy efficient versions.

We're replacing the 1950's lead plumbing service with a new copper service, upgrading the electric service, replacing the old insulation with new closed cell foam and taking advantage of a program from our local gas company to update our steel gas service with a new PE service. Another benefit of this is that the meter will now will be located outdoors so I no will no longer have a stranger coming into my house to read the meter every 60 days.

We'll also have a new energy efficient gas forced air furnace and new low E, argon gas filled thermal pane windows. All of this will make our home more energy efficient, help to lower our energy consumption,and save us money on heating and air conditioning. We'll also be able to take advantage of rebates and incentive programs offered by the government for upgrading to more efficient systems.


Within the last 72 hours, the chain link construction fence has gone up to prevent people from falling into the holes that we're excavating for the new foundations as well as a black "silt fence" which will prevent erosion and runoff in the event of heavy rain between now and when we have final grading and new lawn.


The mason has also begun the process of removing and reclaiming all of the exterior brick on the portions of the house where the new walls and foundation will to tie into the existing structure. We'll be using these bricks to close up some existing openings and repair openings that will be created for new windows and doors in the existing structure. Existing bricks are being removed one a a time, cleaned using a chisel and a grinder, and stacked for re-use.


.Within the next couple of weeks, the excavation will be complete and the concrete foundations will be poured. The gas service and main water service will be replaced and the electric service will be moved from above ground (on a pole with wires that run to the house) to underground (buried) service. At that time we'll be  moving out of the house for a couple of months while the big parts of the renovation are handled by the pros but don't worry, I'll be at the site at least a couple of times a day and am planning on taking lots of photos.

I'll have more updates for you next week.
Thanks so much for reading!