So I'm finally going to tell you about what I've been hinting at for weeks.
Let me tell you what the original plan was first.
Our front room, where the wood stove is, has linoleum. Because of the nature of a wood stove spitting sparks every time you open the door, the linoleum has burn marks all over it. When we got that overly large tax return this year, we decided to use part of it to buy tile for the front room. (Tile doesn't burn or melt!)
We bought the tile and materials from Menards in March, but decided before we put the work into it, we'd check about getting the house leveled. There is a serious slope from the north to the south end. We wanted to get that fixed, but had no idea what it entailed or how much it would cost. I didn't want to tile the floor, do a bunch of painting, etc, if we would level the house in the next couple years, just to have all our new work crack.
It turns out, the reason the house is not level is because we have two walls in our cellar that have caved in 18 inches. So the edge of our house isn't even sitting on the foundation. Paul said he can stand in the basement, reach his hand over the wall to the air outside. Hmm.... Maybe that's part of our draft problem?
We had three companies come look at it. (We probably had the same amount tell us they wouldn't even come look at it, because we have a stone foundation.) They all had basically the same idea for how to fix it, and were around the same price.
Paul just threw out the question to the last guy that came, a local company, "How much would it cost just to rip all this out and pour a new concrete basement?"
It turns out that to repair and brace the walls is 1/2 the cost of a new basement (if we kept it the same size). But it doesn't gain us anything. We still have a cellar under our house that we can't use. But it was either borrow a lot of money to fix something and not gain anything, or borrow a lot of money and double the living space of our house.
Paul and I talked about it, a lot. And prayed about it, a lot, a lot. We got opinions from our parents and friends. And everything pointed at going with putting a new basement under the house.
So how they do that is they will jack the house up, knock down the existing stone walls, then dig down to get an 8-foot basement (the cellar is 6 feet). Then they will pour new walls and a concrete floor (the existing floor is gravel). We will put an interior stairway in (which will cut through one closet in our bedroom). They will also expand the basement to be under the whole house (kitchen and backporch), which will be about 30% bigger than the current cellar.
At the same time, we are knocking off our crappy back porch and rebuilding it, and including a half bath out there. We will move all of our utilities to the basement (washer/dryer, hot water heater, freezers, etc). We will also add plumbing for a full bath in the basement, which we will finish later.
We have to remove both our decks, and will have to rebuild them (using the salvaged lumber), but we will probably change the layout, possibly adding a patio. We're also moving the eyesore that is the propane tank from it's current spot smack dab in front of the house, to across the driveway.
I am so incredibly excited about the end result of this project. But so not looking forward to the process - the decisions, the mess, and the discomforts. But we feel so blessed that God has made it able for us to be able to do this!
So that is the big project - it started off as wanting to paint, and ended up with getting a new basement! I will keep you posted as things progress. We start in about a month!