Building a House Inside a House

Back in 2005 when the last housing market hit its peak I bought the house I currently live in. Naturally, I over paid because the market was so hot that houses moved quickly. When we moved in, the entire basement was unfinished, and I saw it as a blank canvas. As perfect as the house seemed, we found some things lacking. The first shortcoming was a lack of closet space, the second a lack of a pantry.

Phase one of a project to correct those problems became my first priority. I loved the idea of transforming the lower level into a useful functioning space, and not just a home for spiders. I finished three rooms at my pace, and gave Peg a closet that many women would dream to have. She filled it with her existing wardrobe. The next thing was to add a pantry to store all the many cooking pots and appliances that both of us collected during our first marriages. During that process I learned that my prostate was in trouble and I kept running up the stairs to find a bathroom. Before I went any further, I did the best thing I could have, I built a bathroom downstairs. The only mistake I made on that project was not doing it first.

2008 -Pantry
2008-Bathroom

In 2008 the housing market collapsed and the value of everyone’s home dropped by twenty-two percent. The mortgage I proudly owned was now at a point near under water. That means I nearly owed more than the house was worth on the market. All of my dreams to transform the lower level came to a halt. Why spend another nickel on the house if I will never get it back?

Fourteen years, and a pandemic later, the housing market is again booming, and the value of the house has again reached the point where I bought it. I have spent the past three years preparing for this moment so I could sell, get my money back, and downsize to an apartment. If you are like me, you realize that times change and so do plans. Instead of downsizing I am going in the opposite direction. My family is growing again, and I need space for a new resident. That brings me back to the partially completed canvas begun so many years ago. The difference is that I am fourteen years more worn out and progress is much slooower. Nevertheless, progress is being made and I will complete the work this time provided I don’t do something stupid like die.

2022 Joe’s New Workshop
2022-Workshop Disorganization
2022-Extra Space
2022-Recreation Room
2022-Finishing a Wall to the Crawl Space

My current priority is to wall off my workshop-studio to keep dust from the rest of the house. What I have learned is that the price of materials has tripled. A simple two by four, eight feet long cost $1.80 back in 2008, now that same piece of wood costs $6.50. The challenge is to make this addition at a low enough cost that I won’t need to remortgage; wish me luck. Adding to the cost is the double digit inflation similar to what we experienced in the 1980’s. I didn’t like it then, and I like it less now, but that is a topic of another post.

Another thing I have learned is that there are some really great products on the market to ease the pain of over-used muscles and worn out joints. Many of these miracle salves contain an ingredient labeled CBD. This ingredient is extracted from a naturally grown plant which I should be sowing in between my wife’s pickle plants.

My project to build a house within a house is going well, and I should be able to complete it by the year’s end. Hopefully, I will occasionally sit down to rest my muscles, and post reports in between pounding nails, and screwing wood together.

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