I spent almost my entire professional career in banking, the first 10 years as a bank employee, and the last 30 years or so as an educator and consultant to community banks and credit unions. As this blog begins, I have just turned 67, and am in a position to begin cutting back my hours. My two day weekends are about to turn into four day weekends. Thats cool as I’ll have more time to devote to building FarinHaus and to enjoying it once it is complete.
I have never owned a property I didn’t feel compelled to update in some way. My first house was a modest ranch with an unfinished basement. When I sold it about two-thirds of the basement was finished, including a brick wall, a bookcase wall, a wet bar, and a game room. I did all the carpentry work, electrical work and plumbing, laid the vinyl floor and installed a drop ceiling. My electrical work was of sufficient quality to get it past the city building inspector.
My second home was a Capp home. Capp sold you a set of blueprints and the materials needed to complete the house. They hired a framing crew to frame the house, then turned it over to you to finish. I put on the roof, installed the electrical system, and did much of the finish carpentry including hanging cabinets. I subcontracted the plumbing, HVAC, dry wall, masonry, and miscellaneous other work. It took 1 1/2 years to complete.
My third home was an 1892 farm house on 40 gorgeous acres of country land. The second floor hadn’t been lived in for 30 years, and the first floor had been badly remodeled with paneling, dropped accoustical ceiling, etc.
When I opened the walls, I found that the plumbing and heating were shot and the electrical was nowhere close to code. I gutted that house right down to the inside bones. Along the way I got to see first hand what happens over time when less than sufficient framing techniques were used including undersized support beams, undersized floor joists, undersized rafters, etc. Once the walls were open we had to lift the middle of the house 14″ to get it level. Then we doubled all the rafters and joists with appropriately sized lumber to take the sag out of the second floor and roof. Underneath were put, proper support beams. Once the structure had been upgraded, we completed the house. I say we because we hired a contractor to do the work.
When finished we had this gorgeous money pit on a beautiful piece of land that had been moved back in time from the standpoint of finish materials to when it was built. It would have been cheaper to bulldoze the place and start from scratch. I lost $80,000 when I sold that house but I’m glad I did it because it is a tribute to the poineer Swiss immigrant families that populated the area around New Glarus, WI.
We moved to a house in the city. My only contribution to the evolution of that house was a shop in the basement.
My current house has seen the construction of a deck with a summer kitchen, and there is a man cave under construction in the basement. In addition, we have significantly upgraded the family room in the walk out basement. My oldest son has made a career out of my hobby. He is one of the best finish carpenters in the city. He did much of the work on the deck and major portions of the carpentry work in the basement.
I feel pretty well qualified to take on FarinHaus. As a result of the New Glarus experience, I have a healty respect for construction codes. I’ll probably ask my son to help with the roof as I’m not excited about crawling around on a 45 degree roof at age 67.