November marked the best news we’ve had in ages: We sold my grandparent’s house in CT! This means we have the funds in hand to begin renovating this year. And we’re off to a great start.
We’ve been working with Anthony Kenneally, our engineer, to determine the most functional and cost effective solutions to the multi-faceted renovation-puzzle. It turns out the more walls you move, the more expensive it gets! Of course, our budget isn’t large enough to do everything we would like to just yet, but certainly we should be open by 2017 (fingers crossed)!
Anthony had us begin by writing down what our goals were. This first time I did this I missed the mark. I told him what we were planning to do with each room. But what he really wanted us to do was to figure out what we need from the space, functionally, in order to live here happily and for the residency to be a success. As with any creative process, it’s good not to get stuck in one way of seeing things, or be too precious about an idea. Stepping back from the details allowed me to try new configurations that I hadn’t thought of before.
These are some of the points we came up with:
- Big kitchen & cozy living space for us.
- Major upgrade of master bath (clawfoot tub a must!)
- At least four guest rooms and two guest bathrooms (or separate toilet/shower rooms.) One guest room has to be close to our room, in case we have a kid someday.
- A movement studio, visual arts studio, and a space for writers that would overlook the river.
- A dining room that could convert to a classroom or meeting space
- A library and a music room, which in the end are being combined.
- Guest kitchenette
- A private office
Here are our best ideas after inhabiting the space for 6 months:
We are also working on budget allocations. I have spent a lot of time pricing kitchens, appliances, flooring, wallpaper and most recently, windows. Anthony is helping us allocate for plumbing, electricity and the builders. We are looking at installing an air to water heating system, which draws heat from the air outside and uses it to heat water. While more expensive to install, your heating costs are quite low.
The kitchen is planned with the most detail. I think it may even deserve its own post, so that’s all I’ll say for now.
Over the last two weeks I’ve spoken with a few different window joiners. I knew the figures would be shocking – we have 14 windows across the front of the house alone – and have 33 total in the parts of the house we are renovating!!! We may have to wait to replace the third story windows, as the quotes are nearly one-fifth of our total budget…
In the front section, built 1767, we want to honor the heritage of the house by replacing like for like. I love the wood sash windows. They have these little horns on the frame called joggles that originally had something to do with weight and balance, but now are more of a decorative feature. In the rest of the house we will probably use PVC windows to keep costs down.
Typically, a Georgian building would have had 6 over 6 windows (I’m talking number of panes of glass.) In the Victorian era, 1 over 1 (non-bar) became popular as a way of showcasing wealth because the larger sheets of glass cost more than the tiny ones. In our world of double & triple glazing (layers of glass filled with gas for insulation), the opposite holds true. The multiple panes require more work for the joiner, are harder to paint, and the glass for small panes isn’t cheaper.
The Georgian-style 6 over 6 windows are unfortunately off the table, but should we stick with 1 over 1s or maybe do 2 over 2 (centre bar)? The benefit to the 1-over-1s is that if we can’t change all the windows at once, everything will still match
Here are some older photos of the house, along with a more recent one. What do you think?