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Drawing the Second Floor

April 23, 2017

We’ve started working on the plans for the second floor! We came up with the program, the list of rooms and their sizes, over the last few weeks. Now, those spaces are being arranged within the building footprint. There has been some pushing and pulling of the spaces. Not every wish-list room made it into the plan. Even though we have plenty of space, we don’t want to fill it with rooms. If that was what we wanted, we could have found a big house, years ago. We want to preserve the openness that sold us on the place.


Our dining table as command center, once again. All forms of design tools- analog and digital- are at work.

The goal is to get a good arrangement that fits what we want, along with locating things like plumbing fixtures, that drive the construction costs. We’ve identified some areas for key design features that we’ll work on in more detail later. Nothing is set in stone yet. Things will continue to be in flux as we find cool salvaged items or come up with better ideas, but we have to start getting our ideas ‘on paper.’ The conditions for these next steps are in alignment. The banks are willing to loan money, the comparable real estate sale prices are back up again and the state historic tax credits still exist. The state legislators are taking aim at all of the tax credit programs, but they are, so far, safe for this term. There is no time to waste.

Once we have a schematic plan in hand, we can proceed with the next steps:

  • Meeting with an engineer to discuss our ideas on how to heat and cool this much space in as an affordable way as possible
  • Cost estimate- probably a big scary number that will far exceed what we can afford
  • A review with the historic tax credit consultant to make sure we are heading in a compliant direction
  • A meeting with the bank to discuss financing options

These steps are critical to moving ahead with the work upstairs. Just as I tell all of my clients, I’m sure we won’t be able to afford to pay contractors to do everything we’ve designed.  Knowing that the construction market is booming, we’ll have to be conservative with our budgets, keeping a healthy contingency to cover the myriad of things that will inevitably come up. We can self-perform the work to offset the costs but the hope is that we will do the work that is interesting to us and not all of the drudgery tasks. It would be terrific, not to mention a whole lot faster, to get professionals on the job.

Part of the work needs to include the last section of roof replacement. There is still a lot of tuckpointing that needs to be done. It would hopefully include the garage, as well. We’ve had some unfortunate events with our cars parked on the street. It would be a relief to have a garage!

When we get a bank signed on, we’ll know how much we’ll have to spend, in the form of cash on hand, a construction loan, and the historic tax credits that we can sell. Once we have this clarified, we can focus on the construction documents for the scope of work that we can afford.

We won’t be swinging the sledge just yet, but it feels like progress is happening. We can’t help but remember when the banks laughed at us when we tried to start this adventure. It is really fun to be designing and dreaming of the possibilities at the BAB again!

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Deboah Richie permalink
    April 27, 2017 10:06 pm

    Exciting times! Can’t wait to see drawings.

  2. Maurine Pruchnicki permalink
    April 25, 2017 12:36 pm

    Well, you’ve heard the phrase, “He who laughs last!”

    • Sue permalink*
      April 25, 2017 5:40 pm

      We’ll put that in the book you say we should write! 🙂

  3. Stephen Scurletis permalink
    April 24, 2017 11:59 am

    So when do we get to see the tentative plan drawings!

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