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Saturday, December 17, 2011

Srarting point

Hello - this is my first post. Welcome.

Three years ago my family bought an 100 years old brick home in rural U.S.A. It was old. It felt old. But we fell in love with its character. The bricks, moldings etc. It was the first time we owned a home.

We did a few remodeling projects in the house in the last three years. I will describe them in the future.

The biggest house renovation project we wanted to encounter was renovating the bare attic. I asked around and got estimates from contractors that were around 20,000 $ - 30,000 $. Since we do not have this kind of money we thought at first that we will have to leave the attic as is and use It for storage only. But about a year ago I started playing with the idea of doing it myself. I made a rough estimate that doing it myself will cut the renovation cost by 90% to about 3,000 $. Another plus by doing it yourself (beside the pride you get etc.) is that the cost is gradual since you can control it.
When I found myself last April unemployed I decided to renovate -or in other words built the attic from almost scratch with my own tow hands. And so I did. Here is how I did that.

here are some some pictures of the attic before:

The main space:

The northern corner with the future reading nook:

The dormer:

the future reading nook:

Step One - Learning and Planning
Educating myself: 
I bought a few books regarding attic renovation, framing, drywall handing etc. All on EBAY. I read them all until I felt comfortable enough ti start the actual work. I tried also so consult with contractors I knew and Home improvement mega stores (no names) employees but most of them just tried go get me to give up the project. All said to me that it is to much for one un-professional woman to do. Well ..... I did not listen to them. 
Establishing a Plan:

What do I have:
An attic with high ceiling (at the highest point about 12 ft high), a red brick chimney runs in the middle of the room, new roof, insulation, three new windows and one old one, old wood floor, no AC, one electric outlet and one light. The stairs to the attic are stable and wide. And one curios family cat that hangs around the attic all day. I started a attic ideas folder and put there magazines clippings etc.

What do I want:
Then I made a plan of what I want. Since the attic was big, about 300 sf, my dream plan included an open plan attic with an enclosed bathroom that includes toilet, sink and shower. The plan was to have a space that can be a master bedroom or kids room/rooms. The attic also needed AC and more lights and electric outlets. Also - I did not want to lose the storage space that we had there.

And now to reality.

In order to built a bathroom the floor needs to be checked by an engineer to establish whether it can carry the load. Since at this point I did not want to spend money on that - I decided to cut the project to smaller ones and do them one by one.
Project Attic "To Do" Plan:   
1. Clean the attic and put all that we store there in the eves. Make a list of what is stored where.
2. Cover the storage with plastic for protection.
3. Stud the walls. Add studs to the ceiling.
4. Build built-in book shelves in two of the walls.
5. Drywall the walls and ceiling.
6. Trim the storage openings and windows.
7. Add electric outlets and lights.
8. Paint.
9. Add a banister to the stairs.
10. Do something with the chimney. 
11. Address floor covering.

And that's all.

At this point I was overwhelmed............... So I read some more............. And started to work.

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