House Project – A New Look


Because we gutted the inside we were forced to meet new construction codes and the first thing the city insisted we do was to get an energy audit. After much research and coordination with contractors for the A/C, plumbing and electric, we now have permits for the whole project. The bad news is that our windows did not meet code, even though they were newer…they weren’t good enough and Florida codes are pretty tough due to hurricanes. The good news is that we get all new windows that work and have screens and purchasing the whole lot didn’t break the bank.


This will be the last time the house looks like this picture.



Can you guess what we are working on today?



Meet Joe…our mason. He’s as old school as they get, straight from New York.


Rick and Joe made a pretty good team. When it comes to laying block, Rick knows who’s the boss…Joe!



Seems like Joe is pretty happy, too!



The first opening is now complete. The colorful blocks are ones that used to be part of an inside wall. We decided to re-use them and they cleaned up pretty well with the demolition hammer. By doing this, we saved a few hundred dollars, which pleases me!


What’s happening with the windows?



Rick’s removing windows while Joe lays block…notice how low the window goes, we’re going to fix this.



We decided to move the kitchen up front and removed the left window to allow for refrigerator space and we made the right window a bit smaller and higher. All of the windows in this particular house are closer to the floor than normal, by moving the window up the kitchen sink and counter will be at the correct height.



I plan on using landscape to balance out the front of the building and to hide the meter.



Toward the back of the house there were a few holes that needed patching.



The final change is the entrance.



Work in progress…another view.



The new entrance…made with more re-purposed block.



We are using the fence to hide stuff temporarily, eventually it will come down and the two windows on the right will add light to the hallway and entrance…with a great view into the yard. We have toyed with the idea of adding a cinder block patio or screen room to this side of the house to break up the mobile home feel that tends to be part and parcel with long, rectangular buildings…and to have a private patio for outdoor enjoyment.



This gives a better view of the house’s new look…and you can see the new roof too. We chose light shingles because they are more reflective and energy conserving. It was really good working with Joe for a few days and Rick got some good pointers from him. One of the things Joe pointed out was the sills were not correct and the current windows pulled water inside the house. We (Rick) will be replacing all the window sills and ensuring the windows are installed so the water drains outward. We also decided that we would like to stucco the outside so the block seams aren’t visible…guess who’s going to learn how to do stucco…moi! Heigh Ho, Heigh Ho…it’s off to work we go…