Hello and welcome to With White + Wood! I started this thing to follow our renovation on a house near downtown Buffalo. I’ll have all things planning, construction, renovation and interior design. To follow the journey subscribe by entering your email at the bottom of the page.
Anyways, here are pictures of what she looked like when we bought her. She’s about 2,000 square feet and right now configured to be an illegal duplex. The previous owner had to rip out one of the kitchens before selling. She’s quirky and her shell is old. The house has been remodeled quite a few times. She’s not in the same shape she was in when she was built in 1880. So, when Joe and I found her it was an easy one to decide, okay, we can gut her and guilt won’t completely consume us. We both love old bones so we’ll keep what we can that’s original and authentic, otherwise, we are going to completely redesign this house.
Right now she’s split into many rooms, as many old houses are. There was no such thing as an “open floor plan” during the 19th century. The separate apartments added to this as well. With our hands on it now, out go the walls, in go the beams and columns. Out go the windows, in goes new ones. Out go the floors, in go new ones. Electric, plumbing, etc.
Joe works in the commercial construction world for a living so I’ve learned some things about construction from him. I’ve found I have a serious interest and he loves talking about it, so that works well. My first major lesson was that there are three types of plans we needed to completely renovate the house. Not many home renovations require plans so in depth. Only if you are completely re-structuring the house, which we are.
The Architectural plans define the floor plan and usage of the spaces. All the materials, finishes, windows, doors….you name it, are specified in these plans. This is the natural place to start when laying out a big renovation, and figure out what is possible with the space, and what definitely isn’t.
Once the Architectural plans take shape, you need to make sure “the house won’t collapse”– words straight from Joe’s mouth. The structural plans show how the existing load bearing walls will be removed, and how the rest of the structure is supported without them (i.e. beams, and columns I spoke of earlier)… a crucial (and expensive!) part of the planning process.
The engineering plans lay out the electrical power and lighting, plumbing and HVAC systems for the house, basically, all the things that are buried behind the walls and ceilings that make the building “work”.
The planning process takes a while especially because Joe drew them himself. He is a P.E. (licensed professional engineer), This means he is allowed to send the plans to the city for building permits and is responsible for the design. It takes an engineer many years to be able to do this. I was around for the insane studying and sacrifices he made to accomplish becoming a P.E. and I’m very proud and will sneak in a brag where I can!
So much information, I know. I’ll try to demonstrate and if you follow me on Instagram I’ll be doing walkthroughs often. I’ll try to explain where and what’s happening. Keep following for inspo, bumps in the road, and all that goes on with this project over the next few months.