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Second Floor Addition / Removing Two Load-Bearing Walls That Meet

16 years ago

After being widowed two years ago, selling our horse farm, scaling down to one horse, and relocating temporarily to a rented house, I think I've found an excellent property to move to with my horse. It has 9.5 acres of open pasture plus a LEGAL 2BR rental unit where I would like to put a tenant who will board a horse and look after the place when I'm not there.

The problem: the main house has only a tiny 11 x 15 L/R, an 11 x 11 room that stands in as a dining room but isn't off the kitchen, and an odd 8 x 28 room called the family room at the other end of the house. There's a very nice MBR with bath on the main floor, another full bath off the kitchen, and two odd long narrow rooms up in the gable attic that are called the second and third bedrooms (no bath up there).

The 8 x 28 room is single story and runs along the left side of the house. Along 2/3 of the front of the house is a 6 x 32 porch that was long ago enclosed and serves as an entryway and hallway. The foundation seems very solid, and all the rooms' floors are flush with each other and level, even though the house is about 100 years old.

My idea is to make the small L/R the dining room (it's right next to the kitchen) and then combine the left section of the enclosed porch, a portion of the long family room, and an area occupied by a hallway and closets for the MBR into a 21 x 14 L/R. This will involve essentially removing the left corner of the original house, 13 feet in the front and 9 feet running back in order to break through into the front porch/hallway and the family room (the other part of the family room is next to the MBR and will become a large closet and dressing area to replace the closets taken away in the room combining).

I've read the chat exchange about replacing load bearing walls, but this project is obviously more complicated.

Before anyone thinks I'm a total idiot, I fully expect that there will be a single and probably fairly massive column in the new L/R where the original corner of the house sits. I don't foresee it causing any problems with furniture placement, although of course it will dictate to some extent how the furniture is arranged.

From the chat I read, this is a project calling for steel I-beams (it would great if they could be invisibly recessed into the ceiling). I also read about architects, structural engineers, contractors, permits, etc. I want to do this right, so I'm inclined to hire an architect and then let him/her involve whatever other professionals we will need. Is this how I should proceed? Or should I start with a contractor or an engineer?

One last thing to keep in mind: Phase II of the house remodeling will be ripping off the roof and replacing the attic with 800 or so s.f. configured as 2 BR's and one large bath. This will mean that the load bearing capacity of the ground floor will need to be solid.

I know this sounds a bit like a silk-purse / sow's ear project. But the house is really lovely in other ways, the land is gorgeous, and a property with a the legal rental apartment is very hard to find. So all-in-all it would be worth upgrading the house if it can be pulled off.

Best of all: the property is well within my price range (obviously a lot of people pass it by because it's small and weird), and the second floor addition can wait a couple of years...

Any and all advice and war stories would be appreciated!

Best to all, Martin

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