Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The Trentovation of The Country Victorian

If you want to make God laugh,
tell Him about all your big plans.

So I was ready to start our family home project out in Dorchester County, but that's not going to be happening just yet... and that's alright.  I have something equally as challenging and exciting on my schedule as we head into 2014 and I'm ready to get started.  It's a 107 year old house that has it's share of issues, but has a lot of great things going for it and an amazing amount of potential.
The 1906 part of this country house originally totaled about 550 square feet with two rooms, a long hallway from front to back, and a large porch.  Previous owners added 850 sqft. to the back, a side porch that's been enclosed, and an octagon room on the corner 
that creates a Victorian feel.  It has an attached garage that was added in the mid seventies as well as a detached garage under a big old live oak tree in the back yard.  It's a half acre lot with two grand magnolias and at least a dozen flowering crepe myrtles.

The Country Victorian
The total square footage comes to around 1,600 sqft. w/ the garages giving me more than 700 sqft. of space that I'll thankfully make use of during the project.  (For more on working space see The Detached Garage at the Bungalow). 

Right now, it's a three bedroom, two bath home that has the kitchen and dining in the back while the living area is up front.  My plans are centered around relocating the kitchen to the front of the house and opening things up to make the original part of the home an open, larger feeling living space. 

If I'm being brutally honest, my biggest challenge for this project will be juggling contractors, tradespeople, and my own tasks on-site with everything that I need to do for my family at home... and that's also not something I should get too worked up over.  Back when I started, before I had a family, I was really only thinking about jumping back and forth between work on the inside and tasks on the outside, depending on the time of day and weather.  However, as a family man I have to juggle the usual work on my Pig's Ear with getting kids to and from school, child care when they're out of school, yard work, house work, sports practices, games, medical appointments plus all my other family responsibilities that are interwoven with my wife's job.  It's all sort of insane sometimes.

Since the kids have gotten older, it's become more practical to have them on site with me for a couple hours.  It's hard to express how much I really enjoy having them off in a clean corner playing games on their devices, watching a video, or coloring while I work.  It's an extra challenge, but I like having them there happily hanging out while I do some of the same tasks I've done hundreds of times in the past while alone.  They're safe and content while I'm feeling good about making progress on the job.  Maybe I have to bribe them with some ice cream or other treats, but they're typically on-board for short stints.

The next biggest thing I'll be dealing with on the renovation side is the floor system which is rotten and decaying due to moisture/ventilation issues and some termite activity.  I honestly don't know what I'm going to find when I start digging into this thing.  From the outside, it's clear that the house is structurally sound, but walking inside and crawling underneath in the crawl space makes it obvious why no one else wanted to buy this place.  It needs serious work and someone like me with experience taking on old houses that have been through multiple additions.

Bathroom in the Octagon
I'm going to go a different
way with this space.
My wife is predicting that this will be my best Pig's Ear yet.  I can see the potential and appreciate her optimism.  However, I may lose my mind before I get to the finish line on this one.   The Country Victorian will be more challenging than all the others in some unique ways.   It's going to stretch me to my limits physically, mentally, and financially.  As I've said before, I'm not a house flipper.  This is not going to be a 30 or 60 day deal.  I'll be digging in with everything I have, juggling life and work until I get my Certificate of Occupancy.  I don't really use the word rehab as much as renovate.  With this one involving all the juggling as it draws upon all the experience I've gained through past projects, it's going to be more than my typical renovation - this one is going to be a full on Trentovation. 



  1. so excited!!!!! that octogon bathroom -- whoa. !

  2. How big is the living room - I found a house similar to this one and the rooms are 12x12 but yours looks about 13x13

  3. Your paint choices are amazing. The blue on the living room ceiling and the wall color in there is simply gogeous. I'm most impressed with your haint blue choice. I've been agonizingly trying to choose one for my porch ceiling and I keep getting it too dark. Have you shared the paint colors you used anywhere?

    1. Thanks, Shawn! I had tons of help on the colors for The TV House. I have a couple more colors to confirm and then I'll post the names/numbers with more background. Will share in the next few weeks.