New Home -- Major Remodel

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Matt^Brown, Aug 29, 2006.

  1. Matt^Brown

    Matt^Brown Supporting Actor

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    I have the opportunity to purchase my first home from a family member but the house needs some major remodeling. This is a small home about 1100 sq ft but it does have a full basement that is partially finished with a walkout. Upstairs the house only has two small bedrooms, one bath, kitchen, dinning room, and living room. Downstairs there is a living room and one bedroom.

    Now let me explain my problems. The house needs some work but I am getting it cheap enough to make up for these problems. Also I have two young children and this house was never designed for that many people. There is no way I can put one of my young children down in the basement by themselves and expect them to sleep alone. Honestly the upstairs bedrooms just need to be turned into one big master bedroom based on how small they are and two bedrooms put downstairs for the kids along with another bathroom.

    I guess I should get to my point. My dad and father-in-law are great at building and construction. My father has built a house and my father-in-law has did many major remodeling jobs. I believe that between us we can do everything we (wife and I) want to do without hiring help. Are there any web sites out there that you can layout your floor and design around it? Can you scan pictures in and change them. I am new to all of this and as much as I trust their skills I do not want them to design "my" house.

    All help and incite appreciated.
     
  2. Jay H

    Jay H Producer

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    You mean something like an AutoCad but geared towards the casual user not the professional architect? Just something so you can somewhat see how a new floor plan is going to be?

    There are some shareware simply floor plan software out there, but I have no recommendations though. I remember my sister was playing around with them as she is trained as an interior designer but works mostly with architectural firms doing residential layouts and perspectives.

    p.s. for most things house-related, I've found these forums pretty handy:

    http://ths.gardenweb.com/forums/

    Jay
     
  3. Matt^Brown

    Matt^Brown Supporting Actor

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    Yes this would be great!!! I have no real idea what I am getting into but I have several months to get my ideas together and decided if I want to pull the trigger on this purchase or not. I think it is something I want to do but must admit that I am a little nervous about it all.
     
  4. drobbins

    drobbins Screenwriter

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    I use a program an old program: 3D Sierra Architect. It uses building blocks for the rooms, then you can doors & windows, decorate and even add furniture and pets. Once completed you can render it and do a 3D walk through to get a good idea of what it will look like. You can also change things if needed.
    I also use AutoCAD at work, but the learning curve may be much if you just want to sit down and design.

    Dave
     
  5. Jassen M. West

    Jassen M. West Supporting Actor

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  6. Jeff Ulmer

    Jeff Ulmer Producer

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    Although there are DIY programs out there, there is a lot more to remodelling than just moving lines on a computer screen. The existing structure needs to be analysed to determine how the load is being supported, and often the desired location for moved walls is not in a place that will be structurally sound without some major retrofits - I would strongly advise bringing in a structural engineer for guidance. Also, depending on the age of the house, you have to consider that any changes will require bringing everything disturbed up to code, and you never know what you'll find when you start opening walls up. Doubling or trebling a reno budget is not uncommon.

    I would also think twice about buying from a family member. If there are problems that weren't disclosed - or even not known about - you could be asking for difficulties in the relationship.
     
  7. Eric_L

    Eric_L Screenwriter

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    I agree with Jeff. This has potential to be a turd in the family punchbowl on several fronts.
     
  8. Greg_R

    Greg_R Screenwriter

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    My Dad and brother completely remodeled his house (replaced everything except the framing) and it was a great bonding experience for them...
     
  9. Matt^Brown

    Matt^Brown Supporting Actor

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    Well I was trying to side step this issue but this was my great aunts house and she recently passed away. She was like a grandma to me since my real grandma died before I was born. I have a lot of memories in this house and would like to build more of my own but it's current design does not allow it.

    *My Great Aunt and Uncle could not have kids and when they had the house built never really figured kids into the equation. One of the two bedrooms has been a second living room my whole life and the room in the basement was only built for guest.
     
  10. Jeff Ulmer

    Jeff Ulmer Producer

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    I have nothing against getting (qualified) help from family members - my dad has always been around for major projects - it is more the buying/selling aspect that can get dicey if there are problems.

    I can understand the sentimental value of the house, I guess the real question is whether it is practical, both in terms of what can be done with it to suit your needs, and financially, especially if the changes required are extensive. It is quite easy to get in way over your head (in more ways than one) when tackling a major reno project, especially on your own. Things have a way of cascading (you need to install some plumbing, but to do that requires taking down a wall, but that exposes some wiring that needs fixing or a heat duct that needs moving, or there's mold or...). If you are going to be living there with a family, a reno project, especially if it ends up taking longer than planned (which is always the case!), can be a great source of family stress, especially if it causes financial hardship in the process. Doing a single room is bad enough, but a whole house is a major undertaking that needs to be thought out carefully, if done at all.

    Adding a bedroom usually isn't that difficult (depending on layout) but a downstairs bath could be an issue depending on where the stack is located. Since it sounds like you have access to the house, you might want to see whether you can call in a contracter or two to take a look at the place and see what they say about how feasable the modifications are.
     
  11. Dennis*G

    Dennis*G Supporting Actor

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    I have used the 3D Sierra Architect and its good to get a feel of the new layout. Of course once you think you like that layout, get an actual architect involved to make sure it can actually be done.
     
  12. Mort Corey

    Mort Corey Supporting Actor

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    I completely agree with Jeff......take all your plans then double the scope and take your planned budget and double that as well. Trust me.....if it only goes that far you'll be doing well.

    We've lived in our house a little over 20 years and decided to do a few upgrades along with minor structural repairs......no moving, demolishing or adding walls....more of a facelift. We had the cash and knew plenty of quality contractors though our business. A planned couple of months has turned into nearly six months (spit happens) and dinner tonight is more likely to be a bowl of beans than a steak. It just seems to snowball. One thing gets started and you think "wow...it'd sure be nice to do this at the same time". It's all been worth the effort as things are pretty spiffy and near completion, but it has been quite an education.

    Mort
     
  13. Matt^Brown

    Matt^Brown Supporting Actor

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    Well I thought that I had planned well over what it would cost to do the remodel in my head already but you guys are making me think twice about that. I had figured on $30,000 so I hope it doesn't cost two to three times that much because if it does than I will be S.O.L. I could swing an additional 10 to 15 thousand more but that would be tops.
     
  14. Jeff Ulmer

    Jeff Ulmer Producer

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    The important thing is not to get carried away. Come up with an overall plan for what you'd like to see, then pick the most important project and work on that until it is complete, keeping in mind access to wiring, plumbing or anything else you may need to get at later. What is easy to have happen is multiple projects get started, then the money runs out at some point with things unfinished. You are then in a bind - you can't complete what was started, the house is difficult to live in due to the construction, and you can't sell because the house is in pieces.

    I'm not sure if it's available in your market, but try to watch a few episodes of Holmes on Homes to see some of the potential problems you can face in remodeling. The main thing is to be aware of what can (and does) happen during these remodels, and not bite off more than you can handle.
     

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