For the past year or two Kathryn and I have been going through the anguish of long term planning. Given Eric and semi-stable jobs we decided to plan on being in the area for the next 12 years. Specifically we decided we like where we live; the specific location and land despite winters and snow. The issue is that our current domicile is not very handicapped accessible; one has to climb a set of stairs to get into the house and then there are still issues. Primarily, one small bathroom and laundry facilities in the basement. We considered looking at other homes for sale or building a home but kept coming back to how much we enjoyed our current location: a great view, ponds and wildlife, no neighbors in proximity, available land, existing landscaping, etc.
If we wanted to stay in the same place long term we needed to make some re-modeling decisions. We engaged an architect, which has been both rewarding and frustrating, and came up with an initial set of plans. Given the economy and the hit our retirement and investments took we broke the remodeling into phases.
Phase 1 involved improving the drainage around the north wall of the foundation and bringing in fill to permit a garage and mud room/half bath/laundry room to be constructed on the same level as the house. I wanted to get the fill in to allow it to settle for a year prior commencing any further phases.
Well as they say, the best laid plans of mice and men…..
We began phase 1 on Monday and it is evident why new drainage was needed was needed along the north wall. Even without any recent rain there was water laying next to the foundation.
When the foundation was dug out it was evident why new drainage was needed. The existing drainage pipe was clogged, had no stone around it and the basement wall had not been tarred or sealed. With water laying next to the foundation blocks for 59 years the bottom row of blocks started to deteriorate and need replacing.
So already our ‘drainage’ project has expanded into a ‘replace the wall’ project. This weekend I remove the internal shelving and walls adjacent to the north wall such that next week the wall can be demolished and rebuilt.
Meanwhile, fill was being brought in to level the east side of the lawn with the existing house.
We need a lot of fill. This is looking from the existing driveway, near the barn up the new drive way towards the house. We are going to end up sloping this fill down towards the honey locust tree so we have a ‘mowable’ slope. But we can use other fill for that.
A panoramic view of the situation. We are removing the remaining lilac trees and relocating a temporary driveway over about 8-10′ so we can still get to the house with the car as needed. Hopefully, this slope will tie in with the slope near the barn when everything is completed.