I thought I’d do a little post here answering some frequently asked questions about this whole big bad project… Have a question that’s not answered below? Let me know and I can answer it!
Q. What were you thinking?!
A. Ha! Good question. Aaron and I have been married for 2.5 years, and together for a total of 7.5 years, and have always wanted to live out in the country. We want the farmhouse and the land and the quiet and the ability to see the stars…and Aaron wants room to have lots of stuff. Sheds, cars, machinery, tools, etc. I’m pretty certain that’s his real reason for wanting to live in the country. But anyway, we have been trying to make it happen to move out to the country for years and years, but kept hitting roadblocks. To find land to build a brand new house on is nearly impossible. To find a farmhouse with a couple acres wasn’t quite as difficult, but it wasn’t easy to find one that we could afford and/or didn’t need a TON of work plus a ton of money to purchase it. So when we first had the idea (or more accurately, Mom/Dad had the idea) that we reach out to Lettie to let her know that we would be interested in buying, if she should ever happen to be looking to sell, it was yet another in a series of long shots. But it was one we were sort of obsessed with from the word go. It’s 4+ acres, beautifully overgrown, with a big old house, near my parents and family, and owned by a family that has long ties back with the Stierwalt family. When this all started, before we had ever been inside the house or met Lettie or really knew what we were dealing with, we had this thought that we would just tear down the house and build a new one. But it didn’t take long to realize that remodeling the existing 100 year old house was the way to go. And the fact that this is all actually happening is a miracle, and makes all the hard work that’s going into it so much easier to bear!
Q. What’s the timeline on this project?
A. As my coworker likes to say, I plan to throw a combined housewarming/retirement party in the house. She’s hilarious. But unless I am going to retire at the ripe old age of 32, that is NOT the plan! We plan on being able to move in to the house in Spring 2016. Obviously we hope everything will be totally completed by then, but if it’s not, we at least want to have it to a point where we can live there while we finish it.
Q. What exactly is lath & plaster, and why is it such a big deal to remove?
A. Back in the days before drywall, lath & plaster were used for walls. And as we set out to plan the renovation of the house, it became clear pretty early on that the existing lath & plaster had to go. It was damaged in many places, plus since we are going to redo all the electrical and plumbing, it just made sense to get everything down to studs for an easier start over. The thing is, removing plaster & lath is not an easy process. The lath is little wooden boards nailed to the wall studs that the plaster is then applied to. Plaster comes down sort of like crumbly concrete. It’s hard and dirty and dusty and heavy. You can read up on lath & plaster here. (yes, it’s a wikipedia link. I tried to find something on This Old House but didn’t have any luck)
Q. Are you doing this all yourself?
A. NO WAY. In addition to all the family and friend assistance we’ve had thus far, and will hopefully continue to have, we have a general contractor. Tom Mumm of Mumm Home Builders is the head honcho for this project, and is making sure that all the big important things, like footings and framing and all that, get done in a timely fashion. We will be doing as much of the work as we can, but it’s good to have someone who actually knows what he’s doing at the helm.
Q. When will fun design stuff start happening?
A. As soon as possible!! Once we get it down to studs, Aaron and co can start the lovely task of rebuilding everything. And THEN we will get to fun design stuff. But some things I can tell you — we are planning on a lovely shade of blue for the house (Certainteed Pacific Blue) with white trim and probably a dark gray roof. We are planning on white cabinetry for the kitchen, with soapstone countertops, and the gorgeous refinished hardwood floors. Do we have paint colors picked out yet? Nope. But we’ll get there, and I promise you will know more about each and every aspect than you would ever want to know.
Q. How many beds/baths will it have when it’s done? What are some cool things that the house will have at the end that it doesn’t have now?
A. The finished product will have 3 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms, plus storage space up above the 3-car garage that could someday be made into another bedroom if need be. We’re going to have a walk-in pantry downstairs. We’re going to have our laundry room upstairs. From the new dining room, we’re going to have sliding glass doors out to a big deep covered porch, which will also be attached to the shallower wraparound porch. One awesome thing that will remain from the original house is that the doorway to the walk up attic will still be accessed from one of the bedrooms. And since one of the questions we’ve been getting is ‘which room is going to be the nursery,’ I will tell you it’s the room with attic access. Our future child(ren) will not be afraid of monsters in the attic! Or he/she will be traumatized for life!
Q. How many bottles of pain reliever will you go through?
So there’s the first set of questions answered. Have more? Put’em in the comments and I can get them answered. The question I ask myself most often is “will we survive this” and so far, my answer is still YES! 🙂