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Renovating Indiana house

The Indiana Project is a 1,600 square foot home built in the 1920’s in Sarah’s sweet North Carolina town of Southern Pines. This historic renovation took a full 8 months to complete, and got its start in January of 2013. Here on the blog, Sarah recounted the demolition, the woes of construction limitations and bureaucracy, the agony of lighting choices, and the decision, nope re-decision – nah… deciding again over the exterior paint color.

The story of the Indiana House unfolds before us in the chronology of blog posts below.

Who put the B*S in building?

Good Morning and let the venting begin!

bureaucrat faceless

Who put the poo poo in the construction/remodeling process? Local city officials like those sitting down at planning and inspections, that’s who. Bureaucrats who live some times happily, most of the time unhappily under a mound of forms and are so ingrained in a process or code that seems to serve no one.

I know, I know those bureaucrats are someone’s mother, daughter, niece or father. That doesn’t mean that I can’t dislike their process and sometimes along the way not like them very much. Trust me I talk to bureaucrats all day long at the “real job”, I have lots of pent up disdain and for totally justified reasons.

stack of paper

OK so I live in an area that is referred to as the Sandhills in North Carolina, adjacent to golf mecca (Pinehurst), its a collection of small towns.  Although the downturn in the housing market has slowed things down here and selling prices are down and it is very much a buyer’s market, we haven’t suffered as much as other areas of the country.  The point is that the housing market isn’t booming here, meaning these compliance officers like planning staff and inspectors aren’t that busy.

In applying for a permit for the Indiana project, we first filled out an application. Then we had to submit drawings of the major renovations and the fixtures because they need to figure out how much to charge us for the permit.

The planning person calls me and says:

Planning: “we need to see a drawing of the structure on the lot so we know how the house is positioned on the property.”

Sarah: “don’t you have access to the GIS property lookup on the county government’s website, its pretty fancy now they just updated it. There are layers to use, you can see the topography and everything”

Planning: “oh those satellite pictures aren’t accurate, we can’t be sure that those measurements are accurate”

Sarah: “so you want me to go out and physically pull a measuring tape across the lot lines?”

Planning: “yes”

Sarah’s dream question: “What the hell do you folks get paid for and why do I see county employees out surveying?”

So I drew it. Went to turn it in to inspections, planning person says no not yet, you have to go see the Erosion Compliance office because you’re building a deck and a front porch. So we play along. We submit our erosion compliance form, the secretary says the inspector won’t be back until Wednesday and he won’t be able to get back to you until Friday (my thoughts–because he’s so busy and all). But we say thank you and hand over our form.

The erosion compliance inspector calls today and says we have to install silt fencing along the front and the back of the property! Why because we’re gonna dig some holes for porch footings, we could potentially flood the river with mud that is miles away or we’re going to erode the land away. Yeah…not so much.

silt fencing

So I guess we’re just going to ask the Erosion Compliance person if he happened to even get up from his desk and go out there and look at the property or did he just say oh lets make them intall silt fencing.

This is what sucks about renovating.


Indiana Project: Framing

Rearranging, restructuring and reframing–all things going on at the Indiana project this week.  We met our interior demolition goal last week meaning–we finished demo in one week with the exception of the screened porch that will be framed in to become the laundry/mudroom.

A surprising and very positive discovery was made last week. We pulled a portion of the vinyl siding off and discovered cedar shakes underneath! This is fantastic for the budget and the appearance of the house.  It is painted a boring gray color but that can be fixed.  For some reason I didn’t think to take a picture of this discovery but I’ll get one up.

Where we are now…

left bedroom

Before-Two separate closets in an upstairs bedroom

closet upstairs bedroom left

After-Two closets become one, the little door in the middle will be the access door for HVAC duct

upstairs bath

Before-Upstairs bath

upstairs bath

After-The upstairs bath has been completely gutted. The original construction of the floor joists was not ample to handle the load it was carrying.

downstairs hallway

Before-Downstairs hallway, entrance in to master bedroom

Downstairs hallway

After- new doorway to master bedroom, bathroom door and door to extra room downstairs eliminated

master bedroom

Before-Looking towards front windows in master bedroom

new master bath

After-Standing in new master bath, looking through future walk-in closet to front windows in master bedroom

upstairs hallway

Before-Looking towards upstairs hall closet/attic space

reading nook upstairs

After-This area upstairs used to be an awkward attic closet. In the future it will house built in bookshelves and cabinet storage. The space will hopefully be large enough to accommodate a reading chair.

upstairs bedroom right dormer

Before-Dormer in upstairs bedroom

upstairs bedroom right dormer

After-Two tiny closets were on either side of this window. Neither one could hold adult clothing. The dormer and the closets were demolished. The window will be eliminated and it will become a larger closet.


Indiana Project: Introduction

I’d like everybody to meet the Indiana house. This is my family’s newest full scale renovation project.

465 E.Indiana

The Indiana house was built in 1920 and is slightly over 1,600 sq ft of living space.  The house sits on a huge lot considering it is inside the Southern Pines city limits.

The lot measures .63 acresand provides a lot of privacy.


Rear exterior

Because the house will require so much work I think it will be best to go room by room.

Demolition begins today but don’t worry we’ve got plenty of before pictures, you can view some at TEOT’s flickr page now.

Catch the full story, including the final interior and exterior reveals here.