Monday, August 2, 2010

Building Plans/Permit Approved

It’s been a long process, but we’ve finally got a set of finished drawings, engineering specs, and a building permit from the city for our plans to the back outbuildings.  The demolition of the original coach house will likely start this week, and parts of the framing/structural work will begin after that, then a new flat roof will be put on the remaining structure.

Here’s a summary of our plans…

If you remember (from older posts), we have two buildings at the rear of our property that take up our entire backyard.  The first is a two-level coach house that is (mostly) original to the house.  It measures 30’x24’.  The other, newer structure (1940’s) was built by Carleton College when they owned our house and used it as the Student Union building and it is a double-concrete block walled, single level, flat-roof building that measures 30’x26’.  That structure abuts the coach house and its two rooms and the one on the lower level of the coach house were used as classrooms and as a recreation hall by students.

We are removing the coach house in its entirety and leaving the flat single level structure.  The remaining structure has two large rooms, a bathroom, and two small closets (one for a furnace and one for an industrial electrical panel).  The two large rooms will mostly remain the same, but the one in line with our driveway will become a single-car garage with workshop at the rear, and the other one (inline with our current laundry/mud-room) will become a recreation room with 3-piece bathroom.  One wall of this recreation room will have an 8’ tall x 15’ wide folding sliding door that will open to the new backyard where the coach house was standing.  We will be putting a new flat roof on, and a big roof-top deck as well with stairs leading down to a small deck at ground level.

In addition to these changes, we are moving our laundry to the basement, relocating our mudroom into the front part of the recreation room, and opening our current laundry/mudroom full to our existing kitchen.  We are also opening an 8’ section of wall between the kitchen and dining room to create a more open feel (keeping the look/feel of the traditional trim for that opening), and rebuilding part of the laundry area to accommodate some new windows, a door opening to the backyard area, and a more solid floor.

The project is quite large in scope, but we’re breaking it up into phases that are manageable in scope and cost.  After demolishing the coach house, we will have the wall that used to be between the coach house and remaining building rebuilt to be an external wall and closed up with plywood until next year.  The new roof will be put on this fall with a new roof drain.  The interior of the remaining building will be gutted and if we have the time and budget, we will likely try to get the garage door put on.  That will be it for this year.

Next year, we will do some more work on the garage and recreation room, and start rebuilding the structure for the laundry room.  If there is time and budget available, we will then proceed with opening up the kitchen/laundry area, and kitchen/dining room area.  Decking (both on top of the recreation room and at ground-level) will be done last, likely the following year.

I am in the process of scanning some of the design drawings and as soon as they are done I will be post them up here.  We have decided not to give the project to one large design/build firm as the costs are just too high.  We will be acting as the GC on the project with assistance from our architect when needed.  We will hire people to do most of the demolition work, the roof, electrical and plumbing, and framing/structural work, and we will handle everything else (insulating, drywall, flooring, and finishing touches).

Stay tuned for more updates as this next exciting phase of our house project begins!


  1. You do realize that by moving the laundry into the basement it means you have to go down there with frequency. I've seen the basement and am convinced there are ghosts who have been inhabiting it since before Canada became a country. Just sayin'...

    Good luck with the reno!

  2. Ha ha. It's true, our basement isn't exactly the kind of place you want to look for lost socks in or iron a shirt. The laundry will be moved very late in the renovation and by then, we plan to have cleaned up the basement, painted the floors and walls and made a decent laundry room. Today the demo-guys started on the coach house and found a newspaper from 1963 with JFK on the front. I'm going to do a progress post on the demo effort shortly.