I am in the military and two years I went on deployment leaving my wife and newborn son in the large city of San Diego with family on the other side of America.
She hit the net and searched for homes in the very small NY town I grew up in and where my folks and family still reside. Like most military families with one income, we were price oriented and soon found a home 3 miles from mom and dad, across the road from the school and a small store. $35k (no not a typo) later we had a home close to family.
The home was built in 1860, was two bedrooms down stairs and an upstairs with slanted ceilings. The home was livable, with ugly carpet, wall paper and like any 35k home needed some upgrades to coincide with a young 30s couples' taste. It served its previous elderly owner very well.
I was away the summer of 2006 when my wife did the closing and her brother helped with the beginning renovations. We started burning the candle at both ends. He ripped down the upstairs plaster and lats while simultaneously tearing a downstairs wall down to increase living space.
It seems the house was actually built in three sections. The main (middle) section has a dirt floor basement with an oil furnace and is where all the plumbing is located. The front two bedrooms on the first floor are over a crawlspace. The rear part of the house was previously used as a wood shed, and has a crawl space beneath it.
In our long term plan, the middle section will become a large foyer and the current bathroom will double in size. The existing kitchen will be moved to the back of the house where the old wood shed was with cathedral ceilings.
The summer of 2007 found me on another deployment and the opportunity for my wife and now toddler to occupy the home. We hired a contractor (high school friend of mine) to insulate/sheetrock the upstairs. He was able to pick up where my BIL (brother in law) left off. He sistered some new 2x6s against the existing 2x4 rafters and put in some new R30 insulation. The exterior walls also got 6 inch studs and new insulation. We planned on making the upstairs into a master bedroom and had new vinyl window installed. Before the sheetrock was installed, they completely covered the walls and ceiling with 7/16 OSB. This covered up any imperfections in the walls/ceilings and made attaching the sheetrock really simple!! Over a holiday break, I laid some OSB as a subfloor (screwed and glued) to cure any squeaks. My wife spent her off time primering and painting the upstairs and we are complete except carpeting.
Our focus has now shifted to the other end of the candle that is burning, the new kitchen or the old wood shed. Again the walls have had 2x6s sistered against the studs, and rafters and insulation installed. We further fed our OSB fetish and the walls and ceiling got a layer of OSB. We found the OSB tightens up the old house and hides any of the imperfections. The new kitchen is ready for sheetrock.
We are not currently occupying the NY house as military work is located in VA. I am very jealous of those that have projects in reach! I am searching for some of the before photos and will resize and post the afters!