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Thread: The big renovation: 1908 home

  1. #1
    looking for a coal mine knary's Avatar
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    The big renovation: 1908 home

    It's finally happening, after too much planning, hand wringing, and waffling over options, we're renovating our old house. When we bought it, we committed to not touching it for at least a year. Then I built that studio... and nearly five years later we're finally starting. The baby arriving sometime in January might have influenced the time line a little.

    She'a funky old bungalow built in 19061908 and revised a few times, mostly in her early years. A mere 1000 sq.ft. or so and with some "issues", we have to remind ourselves that when we were buying it the alternatives were less than appealing. This run down but neat old place in dire need of love would only set you back just shy of $300k today.



    We had pursued plans to replace the entire foundation, as it is less than stellar, but the bids that started at $50k or so ballooned to more like $150k. If we had that kind of cash laying around we'd just move. We're keeping most of the plan for the main floor and opting to shore up the existing foundation. We're adding a modest 200 sq.ft. that will allow us to shuffle the floor plan around - closer to what it had been originally.

    Demo started on monday. I found a crew that's doing the work for less than I ever imagined. They're doing excellent work and far quicker than I ever could.

  2. #2
    looking for a coal mine knary's Avatar
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    I have *no* doubts that they'll finish the gut on time. Anyone else feel lazy when they watch a hired hand bust their ass?

    The nursery to be, after a neighbor scavenged some trim but before the demo...


    The first real sign of the work


    Making progress. There's something about seeing a big shovel in a house.


    Work proceeded delicately


    Better than a dumpster, a dump truck.


    The old attic hatch


    Those old 2x4's span nearly 18' feet.


    Layers down, wallpaper



  3. #3
    looking for a coal mine knary's Avatar
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    I'd pay to walk through and play detective in a gutted old house.

    Lathe and plaster and plaster and lathe. They sorted them apart. The lathe going to the wood recycler and the plaster going to plater heaven. All told, they removed 7 tons of the horsehair fortified stuff. Eeps. The total haul of wood might come close.



    The treasure hunt began. We found giant foam blobs


    An old built-in, buried behind a layer of sheetrock.


    Digging around its bowels, we found a half dozen playing cards. Stag party pack from 1954. Some crumpled old newspapers dating from 1912 and 1919. A child's paper jack-o-lantern. And a couple other odds and ends. I'll take some more photos soon of the "treasures".



    Someone also apparently has a mishap when running the original wiring


    Notice any peculiar framing? 3
    There have been some equally peculiar decisions.
    "This bathroom is entirely too convenient right here between the bedrooms. Let's move it to off the kitchen!"


    Big windows need BIG window weights


    I'm forgetting some stuff, but one of the surprises was realizing that most of the original flooring was buried under nearly 1 1/2" of layers. It's a fun recipe. First cover the original floor with some nasty faux-wood (maybe fake paneling?) plastic flooring down. Then when that starts to wear out, put down mauve painted particle board, perhaps as part of some grand carpeting scheme. Then when the floor is getting as lumpy as possible top it with some craptastic installation of some mystery amazonian hardwood. Whatever you do, fight the urge to actually finish that floor.

    Between that and the extra surface on the ceiling, we just gained another 2". Jeebus. 9'5"!

    What I do know is that this is AWESOME!

  4. #4
    Registered User tourunigo's Avatar
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    I feel your joy and pain! We are just finishing a 160 year old that was imploding. Sure learn a lot about...stuff. Anyway, yours looks like lots of fun. Love the style. (aren't those old window weights great?! When they work they're just fine. Not very tight though. Remember those old wooden storm window that went with them.... off in the Spring and on in the Winter?) -Bob
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  5. #5
    looking for a coal mine knary's Avatar
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    We're doing the sash-pack thing for the windows. I wish we could do full replacements, but, jeebus, the cost of this thing is adding up fast.

    -holding knees and rocking-
    It's an investment in our future
    It's an investment in our future
    It's an investment in our future
    It's an investment in our future
    It's an investment in our future
    -holding knees and rocking-


  6. #6
    Registered User RINTY's Avatar
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    Cool stuff, Scott.

    ...the cost of this...
    We've been doing some upgrades at our place, and I'll be happy when I can stop bending over.

    The trades just love amateur general contractors like me.
    Rinty

    "When you don't know where you're going, any road will get you there."

  7. #7
    535IS
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    Quote Originally Posted by knary View Post
    She'a funky old bungalow built in 1906 and revised a few times, mostly in her early years. A mere 1000 sq.ft. or so and with some "issues", we have to remind ourselves that when we were buying it the alternatives were less than appealing. This run down but neat old place in dire need of love would only set you back just shy of $300k today.
    Just a brief diversionary comment on regional differences in housing costs. I know where you can get that house for about 10% of that - within 2 dozen blocks of my office. Lots of 'em.

  8. #8
    looking for a coal mine knary's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 535is View Post
    Just a brief diversionary comment on regional differences in housing costs. I know where you can get that house for about 10% of that - within 2 dozen blocks of my office. Lots of 'em.
    There's a reason equivalent houses cost what they do. Location, location, location.

  9. #9
    looking for a coal mine knary's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rinty View Post
    Cool stuff, Scott.



    We've been doing some upgrades at our place, and I'll be happy when I can stop bending over.

    The trades just love amateur general contractors like me.


    I think we're going to be glad we're doing this in one giant push. Expensive up front and time consuming right now, but over all it'll cost us less and, I hope, we'll end up with a better finished product.

  10. #10
    Billings in 2015 Sue's Avatar
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    Thanks for sharing your adventure, Scott. I love these pictures!
    Keep us posted as the project develops.

    Sue Rihn #43753
    BMW MOA Ambassador
    It's Billings in 2015! #BeTheAdventure
    Sometimes it's the bend in the road that makes life worth the ride.

  11. #11
    Registered User redclfco's Avatar
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    Scott,

    Stuff you probably already know, but here it goes!

    As to the little tiny nails all over your studs, hire neighborhood kids with pliars, gloves and glasses and a desire to earn money by the pound. All your nails will be gone, gone, gone! On your own, the job would drive you crazy! Check your walls before drywall goes in to avoid shimming when your hanging rock. Old studs are never plumb or yaw.

    FYI, Don't forget to upgrade your doorway headers with sandwiched 2x12's. Once you open your wall, most inspectors are going to be looking for redone headers throughout the house and redone celing spans using glue laminate versus what-ever-they-used in 1906.

    I renovated three 1900 era structures over the last 7 or 8 years; lots of work, I know!

    Save your depression glass (wavy glass). It is worth some chump change even if your not saving the windows. Your old radiators are worth some BIG chump change at the local salvage yard for the metal, as well as your old metal pipes.

    Wavy glass was the result of a old method of glass production that caused the distortion.

    Looks like a great project, I wish I could come over and help (and continued amends)

    Dale

  12. #12
    looking for a coal mine knary's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by redclfco View Post
    Scott,

    Stuff you probably already know, but here it goes!

    As to the little tiny nails all over your studs, hire neighborhood kids with pliars, gloves and glasses and a desire to earn money by the pound. All your nails will be gone, gone, gone! On your own, the job would drive you crazy! Check your walls before drywall goes in to avoid shimming when your hanging rock. Old studs are never plumb or yaw.

    FYI, Don't forget to upgrade your doorway headers with sandwiched 2x12's. Once you open your wall, most inspectors are going to be looking for redone headers throughout the house and redone celing spans using glue laminate versus what-ever-they-used in 1906.

    I renovated three 1900 era structures over the last 7 or 8 years; lots of work, I know!

    Save your depression glass (wavy glass). It is worth some chump change even if your not saving the windows. Your old radiators are worth some BIG chump change at the local salvage yard for the metal, as well as your old metal pipes.

    Wavy glass was the result of a old method of glass production that caused the distortion.

    Looks like a great project, I wish I could come over and help (and continued amends)

    Dale


    2x12 headers?!? Jeebus, what are you holding up?!?

  13. #13
    Registered User redclfco's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by knary View Post


    2x12 headers?!? Jeebus, what are you holding up?!?
    A second floor or snow and roof...wait I sec.... check! No snow out der like here doncha know?

    Seriously codes may vary here and dar

  14. #14
    Crow18
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    I remember finding some pretty weird stuff every time I did work on our 1912 bungalow when we lived in SE Portland. Pipes insulated with old copes of the Saturday Evening Post and Collier's. A trove of (now) antique blue glass jars and bottles. A dirt wall, without any foundation or support, hidden behind wooden panelling in the basement. 15 layers of wallpaper that had become almost structural in places where the plaster had disintegrated behind it. Probably a pound of finish nails driven into a post (also in the basement) in a tight circular pattern at what was probably eye-level for a bored 10-year-old.

    We never had window sash weights like those, though. That's a keeper.

  15. #15
    Cage Rattler wezul's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by knary View Post
    We're doing the sash-pack thing for the windows. I wish we could do full replacements, but, jeebus, the cost of this thing is adding up fast.

    -holding knees and rocking-
    It's an investment in our future
    It's an investment in our future
    It's an investment in our future
    It's an investment in our future
    It's an investment in our future
    -holding knees and rocking-

    There there. It'll be OK.
    Great stuff.

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