Here's our submission for the DIY Drama contest currently running over at Houseblogs.net. We aren't technically eligible since we're also running the contest, but it gives us something to write about... ;-)
Our latest (of many) lessons learned is also part of our latest project. (No surprise, I guess, since we seem to have one for every project.)It has to do with rebuilding our back porch.
We want to maximize the usable space on our porch. That's why in our new design we're moving the stairway from within the footprint of the porch to now be straight out the front.
That also means we need to eliminate space required by the old basement stairwell. The old stairwell came straight off the back of the house here.
That placement meant that there was a big box within the main room that allowed for enough headroom for the stairwell. Here's a shot of how much floorspace it too from the interior.
Getting this back as usable space turned out to be no small issue. After looking at a bunch of options, we determined that the most cost effective approach was to move the entire stairwell. Note we didn't say 'cheapest'...there's no cheap option here.
The new stairwell will exit from the side of the house, over here:
Did we expect this when we started the project? Not exactly. We were originally thinking we'd redirect the existing stairwell to exist out of the original porch footprint--still a big change but one that didn't involve cutting an entire new hole in the foundation of our house. Unfortunately that idea ended up to be even more complex and expensive.
To cap it off, the kicker was that we'd just installed a new door in the old stairwell. Even if we re-used the old door that's a lot of labor for nothing. :-(
So, there's our DIY drama. The lesson learned? I guess it's (1) no project happens in isolation, so plan ahead several projects down the road and (2) it's always more complicated than you originally thought.
OK, we probably new #2 already at this point but it's one of those lessons that you keep relearning again and again when doing a renovation.
This post was written for Houseblogs.net as part of a sweepstakes sponsored by True Value.