Thursday, January 20, 2011

Big House Project: Part 1

It all started with paint. We had never liked the color of our house, and we've been here for 7 years now. We also had a small leak in the roof that gradually got worse over time. If it was raining hard enough outside, it was also raining in our upstairs bathroom.

So in July, we (and by we, I mean Ed) started getting quotes from painters and roofers. During this process, it became clear that even though the cedar siding was only 10 years old (on three sides of the house -- on the fourth side, it was 40 years old), it was starting to warp. The previous owner, whom we knew all too well because this was a FSBO, had done the work himself as cheaply as possible. Many of the pieces were around two feet long, which led to warping. We could paint, but would probably need to replace the siding in the next few years.

I'm a project manager in my work life. And this is the part of this story where we start something project managers call "scope creep."

I'd seen something about HardiePlank (fiber cement siding) on HGTV, so Ed got some quotes for a combined HardiePlank/roofing job. This would be the first time someone other than Ed would work on our house, so Ed was appropriately cautious in vetting the candidates. We settled on a contractor we both really liked named David. On a side note, David had recently purchased a turtle like ours. His was still tiny. Ed emailed him a picture of Benita with a measuring tape held up next to her (I think her carapace is around 8 inches), which freaked out David's wife.

Neither of us liked the idea of leaving our crappy little deck hanging off the side of what would soon be our nice-looking house.

I'd always wanted a three-season porch, similar to what our friends Steve and Mary Ann have in their lovely custom-built Cape near Bar Harbor. Our siding contractor recommended a couple of people he'd worked with before and had them contact us with quotes for the porch.

But once you've built a roof on the porch that can support a snow load, it costs just a bit more to put up some walls and insulate them, right? Then you can use the "porch" year-round.

Weeks and weeks went by while Ed tried to get detailed quotes from the "porch" contractors and he and I discussed, seemingly endlessly, what we would do with this "porch"/room if we built it.


Il Bruce said...


You are burning up the keyboard lately!

We are in the midst of a bathroom remodel. (our only bathroom). The disruption and mess is killing me.

Good luck with reno.

Anonymous said...

"Scope creep" is my new favorite term.

This is why I've resolved that we're never doing anything to our house, ever. When it's about to fall down around our ears we're leaving as I toss a match over my shoulder. I'm sure later blog posts will reveal just how gorgeous the project turned out, but somewhere in there will be a phrase like, "things got so much better once we finally got rid of the pack of feral carnivorous rabbits that had taken up residence in the baseboards."