About My House
1926 Craftsman in Ames, IA. It had been redone with enthusiasm, if not a lot of careful thought, in 1971.
What I Did
We removed a jury-rigged stair that cut across a window in the living room, completely redid the kitchen, added a new stair at the back of the house, and replanned the second floor with three bedrooms and a new bath. On the exterior, we stripped 2500 square feet of rotting vinyl and masonite siding and replaced it with cedar. We restored the porch to what we think was the original appearance, taking down some non-functional storm windows and replacing them with screens. And, this summer, we knocked down the 1971 garage and replaced it with a smaller one, better placed on the site, that doubled our back yard.
Tips and Tricks
- There's an old contractor's saying that you can have two of these three: good, fast, or cheap. Actually, we think you should pick one and stick with it.
- A two-season porch is more comfortable and more useful than a 'three-season' one.
- Spend the money on the kitchen and don't skimp on appliances.
- Save every brick you can and reuse them--we built a new stoop out of the salvage from an old coal furnace flue. Modern brick wouldn't have matched dimensionally or texturally.
- Hire an architect or an interior designer, and invest in the best contractor you can find.