Before taking on this project, we spent a fair amount of time working out the hows, whys, and how much. At a high-level, we’re going to go through several phases to gradually convert the house one floor at a time, inside-out.

Phase 1 is Moving-in. Because we want to rent out our condo (and not just pay two mortgages), we’re trying to quickly get the second floor into a livable state. On the surface that doesn’t seem too difficult because there was someone living there just a month or so ago. However, the way they were living isn’t quite the way we’re prepared to live. We’re willing to make sacrifices, but the toilet should be attached to the floor, the roaches have to go, and something has to be done about the smell. As a result we’ve got a bunch to do, ideally in the next month, to get us moved in. Better yet, because our long term plan involves gutting the whole house, everything we’re likely to do in the next month we’ll have do again down the road, so we’re not doing anything permanent.

Once we’ve moved in we begin Phase 2: Preparation. First we need to address some structural problems in the basement. We’re going to bring in a structural engineer to take a look and make a recommendation on replacing the column supports and basement header and re-leveling the house so it doesn’t slope to the back. While that’s going on we need to talk to an architect that will draw up our plans and get the plans approved by the city. Once that’s done we can get permits.

That brings us to the start of the real fun: Phase 3. Phase 3 we gut the entire first floor (while living in the relatively undisturbed second floor unit). We’ll rip down the walls, take out electrical and plumbing, and redo everything brand spanking new. We want to put in a modern open floor plan with living room, dining room, a big eat-in chef’s kitchen, and an office.

With Phase 4 we’ll move downstairs, using the eventual office as a bedroom. We’ll gut the upstairs, put in a master suite with tub and walk-in shower, upstairs laundry, and a shared full bathroom for the other three bedrooms. At that point we can start occupying the entire house.

After that we’ll focus on the exterior, with new roof, siding, front porch, and back deck. Down the road we’ll rebuild the garage and landscape the yard. When we’re done we hope it will be a beautiful single family home. We know this will take us years, especially doing so much of it ourselves. We plan to live in the house for the next ten years, so if everything goes well, at least several of that will be in the finished product and not the work in progress.

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