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Advice for remodeling 1800's house w/ contemporary addition

2 years ago
last modified: 2 years ago

Sorry in advance for the lengthy post. My partner and I are both in our 30's and have a fair amount of building / renovation experience for people not in the business (have done a few bathrooms, kitchens, etc, all on our own, down to the studs and out with all finish detail, come from families with people in the trades, etc). We're looking to take on a different kind of project now and were hoping to get a bit of guidance before seting off on this adventure.

We currently have an early 1800's timber framed ~1800 sqft house outside of Boston, MA that we're thinking about putting an offer on. The bones of the house seem great, though it hasn't been updated at all in the last 60 years. It needs all new electrical, plumbing, HVAC, insulation, some minor structural work (full granet / fieldstone basement), new septic (already on town water), and everything else that goes along with it. There wasn't a lot of fine detail or finish work period to this house, and we'd like to keep it that way, bringing it back to an original state that also works for the 21st century.

On top of this renovation, we'd like to build an addition on the back, about 30x15ft, two stories, and very modern. Concrete floors, lots of glass, wood ceiling / interior. First floor would be kitchen and a living area, upstairs would be master bedroom and bathroom. The details are yet to be worked out with an architect, but open concept, no expensive tricks, trying to get the most bang for the buck. The land immedialty behind the current structure that we'd be building on doesn't need much work, aside from an old pool which would have to be removed. Essentially, we'd be looking to do something like this (very loose example):

Our budget for this this entire project is about $500k (not inclusive of purchasing the listing). We can do some of the work like demo or painting ourselves, but obviously a lot of this is going to have to be done by professionals. Not only that, but we have no experience with timber framed houses, or building a modern structure, which seems more industrial than residential in building style. We'd likely want a project manager (at least part time, we can "work from home" on site), have 3-4 years to complete this, be living off-site in our existing home, and we're willing to make some sacrifices to achieve the overal larger image / goal (smaller windows, less upscale materials, etc).

We have a lot of questions but cheif among them is if this is even feasible for that amount? We figured it would take about $150k to get the property up to par ($30k septic, $20k electric, $60k HVAC, $20k structural, $20k incidentals). We've budgeted $50k for the kitchen, meaning we'd have about $300k for both renovating the existing structure (refinish existing floors, touching up trim, replacement windows x ~15, sheetrock, plaster, etc) and to build the new structure which includes a master bathroom that should run ~$10k considering we can do a good amount of the tiling and other similar work ourselves.

Thoughts? Is this a crazy idea? Is the budget out of line or missing any big ticket items? Are there any good recommendations for a structural engineer, conservation architect, or inspector who is familiar with old timer frame who could give us a very thorough insepction?

Sorry again for such a long post and thank you in advance for any and all help - any information or thoughts would be immensly appreciated.

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