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Tear off half? 1925 local tree built house

Hi, After speaking with the neighbor, the grandson of the man who built the house from the trees on the property.. I am starting to get feelings for it. I already have a great amount of feelings to make this home site (a farm) into a wonderful orchard with a pond. I am scared about the repairs though. We have been through this before and it turned out really really awful. It was so much work we ended up selling it unfinished and $120k in materials later...in a pricey place though..and it was so darn hard to find any help. Now we have two little ones. We are semi-retired too. We work from home and homeschool...everything about our lives is already a lot of work there but our kids are adventurous and really want a bunch of land to romp around in. I am already eyeing a RV and plan to build a tree house before we start ripping the house apart...just to have a clean place to be in for them. This time around, in Virginia, I am going to find some help! Anyway.. Here is the problem. I see termite damage badly on the exterior, the floors are like a funhouse. I have been here before. My first instinct is to tear it down right away and never make a rebuild mistake again ($$$)! But.. honestly.. the farmhouse was built in 1925 and has the two door front with a two on two room style and then a whole back section, but the whole back wing is not an addition - the house is in a t-shape. The back section, the wet section with kitchen and a bath is the part that is really terrible. THe whole thing spent the last 15 years with about 3 families communing together that liked to collect a lot of crap and never ever clean or take care of the house (so I am told and it looks that way).. but the years before that were happy and great! The house needs new everything everywhere and honestly would come out looking like a poor simple house in the end. The floor boards are really tiny. I have never seen this size before, way smaller than bamboo pergo and looks the same. Everything is just really unclean feeling. It doesn't overlook the pond even.. It doesn't have a heating system, original kitchen or tub and the stairs are very plain. We have a real longing for old romantic charm because we both grew up in painted ladies. This is just simple and looks wet in the past decade.

My question is, should we build a new house for cheaper? and greener? Or, as I have seen in the more wealthier counties, try to build an addition or remodel by tearing off the back half and renewing the front two over two portion? We would be very interested in this because we are not very fancy people, but we do have a custom way of living around baths and kitchens. The place needs very functional aspects of garden life too - a mud room, laundry, etc. It really doesn't have a lot to keep.

We saw an ad in our area, in actually the better county for a new home in this style for $198 on 3 acres of land. It isn't in the right setting for us though. But it has me thinking.. is that all for a new home? That doesn't seem possible!

I would think the most charming way is to tear off the back, add fireplaces to the front at the ends, and tear off the porch and make a balcony above it. Then make a beautiful addition that has the best energy utilities, even maybe a solar farm in the yard.. and make a more modern and simple home living space that keeps the footprint of the tree line/shade - and same shape as historic detail, but also has a basement and more planned window spaces. Am I out of my mind for calling all of that $150? We are great at this stuff, but we do need to hire a bunch of this out and get all the paper work right. We are far better now because we work at home and only part time now. But homeschooling and kids make it seem like the time is pretty spent.

I would love any advice!!! Thank you!!!!

Re: Tear off half? 1925 local tree built house

Some things just cannot or should not be saved. It sounds like you really love the property but not the house. I certainly would not spend more money trying to save something I didn't like rather than building something I really do want.

I would look at anything in the house that I do like, remove and store them. Then tear down and try to incorporate the stuff I saved into the new house.

Re: Tear off half? 1925 local tree built house

I agree with Keith, I would save some of the materials on the house and use them on a new one (beams in a great room, repurposed siding as a chair rail, ect.) this way you have a new efficient home that you love that is sort of a tribute to the previous residence

Re: Tear off half? 1925 local tree built house

Your plan sounds like the only part of the house you would be saving is the air space of the front rooms. I would start anew. You have no idea of how sound any of the house is, how sound the foundation is, and apparently need a larger basement anyway.


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