I went to the house for the first time on Friday. When you turn onto the street, you immediately see the house, it is the focal point of the street for several blocks. It looked big when we first turned onto the street, but just kept getting bigger the closer that we got.
There is so much potential, and it was just amazing to see. There is at least a foot of snow on the ground, so I wasn't able to get any real appreciation for the boundaries of the 1.17 acre lot.
We went back to the house on Saturday, so that I could walk through it for the first time. It was all of zero degrees outside, and the house was just as cold. A chilling reminder that the house currently has no heat, and no insulation. I was able to walk around the house for about 30 minutes before we decided that it was just too cold, and had to leave. He was afraid that the massive amount of work would be a bit much for me - but it wasn't too bad. Definitely messy, but there is endless potential in this house, and I'm so excited!
Yesterday, he looked at options for purchasing the massive amount of piping that we'll need for the radiant heating (and cooling) in the floor, walls, and ceiling. We had already been looking at different stamped tin patterns for the ceiling. We have been discussing different ways to do wainscot for the walls, and we seem to be on the same page (usually). Apparently, there is some debate over whether the pipe should be 1/2" or 3/4" - but he has decided that we will go with several thousand feet of the 3/4" pipe. His reasoning is that while both will work, with the 1/2" pipe you end up spending more on pumping the water through the pipes for a lifetime, but with the 3/4" pipes, you spend more initially, and save a little on pumping for a lifetime. (Update 2/22/14 - it's only been a couple of weeks, but Chris thinks that perhaps the 1/2" pipe is the better option.)
Examples of Wainscot:
Examples of Stamped Tin Ceilings:
Now for me, that technical stuff like: how to efficiently heat the house? What kind of materials will transfer heat? How big should the pipe be? That's not of much interest to me. I trust 100% that he'll get it done, and he'll do it right. So I let him handle technical stuff, like ordering 1000's of feet of pipe. Instead, I am more interested on how we can update the floor plan of the house so that it will fit our needs/wants. We have some things in our favor, such as the house was built on a balloon frame. I had no idea what this meant, but if I understand the explanation.... the house is built so that the supporting walls are on the outside, and there are very few supporting walls on the inside. This means, more flexibility.
We have some rough measurements of the interior walls/rooms that I have been using to move things around. The picture below is the way the house is setup, right now.
Downstairs is on the right, and upstairs is on the left.... The front of the house is at the top, and the back of the house is at the bottom... perhaps that's backwards? I dunno... it makes sense to me!
There are a few things about the layout that do not work for us.
1) The bathroom issue. We have a lot of issues with the bathroom. It's tiny, it's downstairs, and it's in/off the kitchen.
2) The house doesn't have a very open floor plan, and the kitchen is kind of tucked away in the back. This is very standard for a house built in 1916, but it's not really the way we want it.
3) Bathroom (again!) there is not a single bathroom upstairs!
4) Master Bedroom. There isn't really a master bedroom upstairs... and I would really like a master suite.
So, the first thing we looked at was removing the walls that currently encase the "office", and creating a much more wide-open floor plan. He thinks the best thing to do, is to use some steel I-Beam to support the removal of the office walls. I like that idea, too, because it will create a visual division of the space(s). This will do a lot to open up the space, and make it more family friendly.
We still want an office, and a (guest) bathroom downstairs, though. On the original plan (above) there was/is 3.5 feet of "wasted" space that allows access to the basement. We don't want access to that basement from inside the house - the basement is gross, and there is access from the outside (which we'll update as well). So, by eliminating the "basement access" hallway, we gained more space downstairs that we can use to create the downstairs bathroom, and office.
Then we started figuring out the bigger problems upstairs: how to create 2 bathrooms, and do it in such a way that it created a master suite. This was all him! I "thought" I knew how it might work - but boy, was I wrong! He came up with a solution really fast, though! I love his idea, and I've really started to work on a more exact layout of the bathroom upstairs.
Bedroom 4 is/was at the back of the house. The space was narrow, the ceilings are slightly angled at the corners because of the roof line - and there was really no where in that room where a bed would actually make sense. So, it became the obvious choice to become 2 bathrooms, and with its position relative to bedroom 3 - it made perfect sense. Bedroom 3, is the smaller than Bedroom 1, and Bedroom 2 - but it has great light, and overlooks the bulk of our yard.
In a few years, when I look back at this - I will either say "wow, I can't believe it turned out so well" or maybe I'll be saying "wow, I remember when I thought that was the floor plan we would be using." Hopefully I will not be saying "wow, I wish we would have done that differently."