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Thread: My Universal Design Home, Living the Dream!

  1. #11

    dinner?

    where's my dinner invite? you only live 20 minutes from me, ya know. i wanna check out this dreamhouse.

  2. #12
    Senior Member
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    re COST?

    Max, final cost of the home? I wish I knew for sure. This project went from a simple accessible investment to "lets do it right the first time" major custom remodel.

    The original plan was to purchase an accessible home for $165.000.00. I figured the only feasible way of doing this was to find a $155,000.00 home and spend $10,000.00 remodeling it with a roll-in shower and entry ramp, my lone priorities. What I found was a $150,000.00 fixer, a perfect candidate for the FHA 203K Loan program. The house had recently been trashed by renters and needed a serious facelift including paint, doors, carpet, linoleum, and roof.

    This home loan program is rather unique. The intention is to encourage rehabilitation of existing homes and thus help to preserve the integrity of older neighborhoods. For a house to qualify, the estimated appraised value of the restored home must be equal to or more than the value of the loan. For example, my home cost $150,000.00. The FHA agent appraised the house at $189,000.00 when restored to FHA guidelines. Therefor giving me, if need be, up to $39,000.00 in available rehabilitation funds, providing of course that eligibility requirements are met. Estimated cost of required repairs and accessibility essentials was $15,000.00, including wide doorways and roll-in shower. This met my original $165,000.00 home budget. We finished the FHA punch-list of repairs, the agent was satisfied and signed me off, but I was not satisfied. I now had the new-homeowner's-bug and wanted more than the 'generic' comforts.

    After nearly 17-years of apartment life, I wanted the luxury bestowed the homeowner. I wanted to personalize my home with every convenience I had been deprived with for so long. I wanted to go wild unleashing my creativity. No more generic white walls, I want colors, I want wallpaper, I want it all, and I want to be unique!

    What is amazing is how a project like this seems to take on a life of its own. Buried under inches of carpet was a restorable oak hardwood floor, which was one of the reasons I bought the house. I grew up on hardwood floors and love the look and feel, so I was willing to accept the costly challenge. The master bedroom required 250 sq ft of new oak which was fingered into the existing for a seamless match of old and new. But that was the easy part. Widening doorways meant replacing and matching more flooring. Then there was the surprise 4" x 10' gap in the floor where a wall had been removed. Matching that area required a master craftsman. However, the toughest part was sanding this floor. Forty-five years of radiant floor heat had kiln tempered the oak into something harder than life. It took the crew three times as long as a standard floor to sand it.

    What is the final cost of this dream home? That number is still out, but including rewiring the house, new lighting fixtures, video security and automation system, new plumbing, insulating walls, ceilings, floors, insulated windows, 1100 sq ft oak hardwood flooring, 800 sq ft granite, marble, and slate tile flooring, new kitchen, granite fireplace and countertops, I expect the total to be around $220,000.00. It is interesting to note that only ten months before purchasing this house, it was listed on the market for $210,000.00. Of course, that was before the tenants from hell destroyed the place.

    Noel

    203K Rehabilitation Loan Program
    http://www.hud.gov/fha/sfh/203kmenu.html

    [This message was edited by Noel on August 14, 2001 at 06:39 PM.]

  3. #13
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    re dinner

    Cass, I'll put you on the invite list for the grand open-house. Just don't hold your breath. I still have the protective paper on the floor. The work crews are on vacation and its driving me nuts! But I'm keeping that floor covered until everything is finished.

    I'm located near Edmonds CC, about 3 blocks.

    Noel

  4. #14

    Wow that is cool.

    All that stuff you did sounds really nice.I want to see pictures to.

  5. #15
    Senior Member
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    BUMP

    I noticed someone looking for adaptive home ideas so I thought I should take the opportunity to update you folks on my progress. I still haven't finished the remodel! We sent the crews home a year ago and haven't had the motivation to call them back, I'm too comfortable. There is still 2-weeks to a month's worth of finishing work to do. It's not really a lot, but I keep putting it off. I guess it is that I do not look forward to living in a construction zone again.

    A word of advice to anyone who is planning such a project, if at all possible, finish everything before moving in!

    Noel

  6. #16
    hi Noel
    can't wait to see pictures

  7. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Noel View Post
    Note, I am big on fire safety, which is something that is sorely overlooked or just plan dismissed in the disabled and elderly community. I have installed a home fire sprinkler system throughout the house. The 19 sprinkler heads are attractively hidden flush with the ceiling. In my master bedroom I have installed a 2nd exit door for emergency. As a 190 pound quad, climbing out a window or rolling 50 feet through a smoke and fire filled house, is not an option. I now rest at ease at night.
    Noel, that is the right thing to do. I also am considering installing at least a few sprinkler heads in my apartment. A friend of my friend recently had his home on fire. Good that he was not at home at that time, but the damage was bad. Restoration company he used even asked him about the possibility of putting the pictures they took on their web, which they actually did, over here: http://restoration-911.com/fire.php

    If you scroll down that page, you will see what happened

  8. #18
    Super Moderator Sue Pendleton's Avatar
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    Who managed to get this thread off of CanDo? And we also have a sprinkler system in our new condo. Surprisingly having such a system raised our home insurance because it becomes an added amenity that adds to the home's value.
    Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, "I will try again tomorrow."

    Disclaimer: Answers, suggestions, and/or comments do not constitute medical advice expressed or implied and are based solely on my experiences as a SCI patient. Please consult your attending physician for medical advise and treatment. In the event of a medical emergency please call 911.

  9. #19
    just wondering if any of you have any contractor trouble.
    Since i was a contractor myself i'm finding it very difficult to accept excessive billing, lame excuses to hike up prices and shoddy work. i do send family members to see and take pictures of work i can't access and tell them what to look for.
    Just starting to build a 3 story complex, on which i have made a detailed contract on what has to be done and payment rates. Went through the contract several times prior signing it
    the next time the builder says to me this is extra i will explode. Since there is already some bad blood on excessive billing i don't know if i should continue or fire him and find a new one which has its drawbacks too, if work will again be found to be defective a whos responsibility is it problem will arise. Anyone experience this problem.

  10. #20
    Super Moderator Sue Pendleton's Avatar
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    Peter, even when you think you have everything nailed down there are always cost overruns. Sometimes it is contractors that are very good at padding costs everywhere and making them sound needed and have all sorts of reasons why they weren't in the original quote. Others are because the contractors are new to what you want and take more time to get it right and teach this to their employees. If the extra costs are items that suddenly have a new cost then tell the contractor to send the item back and you'll find something less expensive to stay on budget. That will have him telling you that.."well, then my people will be waiting around and I need to pay them while we wait". I've heard that one. Tell him to go take on a small job or two until your cheaper item arrives. That will probably get the cost back where you agreed and on time.
    We did a total gut of our master bathroom when we bought this place. We had only planned on leaving the original huge shower and remove the 4 inch high walk over and replace the cabinets and sinks completely so one would be a roll under sink for me. And we were adding a ceiling track lift from the bedroom to the bath stopping above the new tub. Well, the tile and grout expert looked carefully at the great shower that was only 3 years old and said he couldn't cut a space out of the bottom and he was worried about these incredibly tiny cracks we couldn't even see. We went and tried to go with our original plan. We were 800 miles away when we got email pictures of all the mold on the wood studs and plywood under all that tile and green board. He found the first mold at that area we just wanted removed. The guy doing the track lift also mentioned the mold in his email update and he worked for another company. So, yes, the cost of our renovation almost doubled but it has rubber backing on the new shower, a hot water on demand gas water heater and since we needed to retile an entire huge shower and soaking tub surround we did the floor in both the bath and walk in closet in a porcelin tile that looks and feels like real stone. Emi2, I think, used the same kind of tile. We are happy with the finished product. We also donated lighting fixtures and the old sinks and toilets, well cleaned and barely used, to a local warehouse where many do-it-yourself types and charities like Habitat for Humanity and Rebuilding Together buy these lightly used items at very discounted prices.
    But to answer your question honestly, yes, here in the US cost overruns are more common than not. When we lived in Italy any work by home contractors was outragously priced to begin with and yet, in Germany there were few problems there and the inspections on finished builds were very tough so workers are very detail oriented. Yes, pre-SCI we lived in Europe for many years.
    Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, "I will try again tomorrow."

    Disclaimer: Answers, suggestions, and/or comments do not constitute medical advice expressed or implied and are based solely on my experiences as a SCI patient. Please consult your attending physician for medical advise and treatment. In the event of a medical emergency please call 911.

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