Maine Escape DAY 0.1 – Gathering More Info

Maine Escape DAY 0.1

DAY 0.1 – Gathering More Info

PREVIOUSLY – Maine Escape

With only a 2 month window to be onsite for renovations and over 2,000 miles separating us, planning is going to be the most important part of this project. Having accurate plans of the house for everyone to use is the first step in the planning phase. Last blog Liz mocked up an improvised layout of the Maine Escape from online real estate photos. We sent Ray & Nancy a dimensions packet and tasked them with filling in the information and getting us more photos and some video of the house. We’re counting on their information to be accurate and complete. It’s not easy working from afar and we’re conferencing with them every week in order to work out what’s critical for them to provide us.


We knew from the real estate listing that the house had 1,042 sq ft of living area. That’s not a lot of room, considering that the average square footage of a built home in 2013 was just under 2,600 sq ft (REF: CNN Money – America’s homes are bigger than ever). Having a lot to do in a little space usually requires twice as much planning. Our designs for the basement renovation call for a laundry room, shower, toilet, and sink to be installed along with a bunk room to sleep six. This is quite the big order for such a little space. Accurate drawings are the only way to make sure everything fits. Being off by as little as 6 inches can make all the difference in the world on whether something fits or not.


SURPRISE! There’s a whole backroom in the basement we didn’t know about.

PHOTOS – Maine Escape

The biggest part of this project is the basement renovation and it’s what we have the least amount of information about. Along with the measurements sheets we got back eagerly awaited photos and video of the house to fill in the gaps. Fingers crossed – depending on what we see in the basement, there might not even be enough to space to put in a staircase, let alone a bathroom. Getting additional photos of the house is key to figuring out what’s possible. Here’s the first look of the house after Ray and Nancy bought it.

FIRST LOOK – Basement

WOW! Not much room at all in these photos and nothing to show the back room that was sketched in on the dimensions sheet. We put our hopes on the video for more detail. Look at the size of those support joists. They appear to be tripled-up 2x12s. I need a lot more information on the ceiling to figure out what these huge joists are supporting.

FIRST LOOK – 1st Floor

Our thoughts for the staircase into the basement is to put it under the staircase going to the 2nd floor. This is a very common building practice. Knowing what’s in the closet and what’s underneath the floor is gonna be important. This is also the only closet in the house so careful consideration is going to have to be made before sacrificing storage for a staircase.


The porch is essentially a 3-season room. The main entrance opens into the porch and there is another thermal door that then opens into the 1st floor. I can tell from the real estate photos that the porch is built on a 2×6 elevated deck. The windows are single pane and absolutely nothing is insulated. It’s just one big open space. We’ve got measurements coming back for the windows to be upgraded to thermal panes and quotes to go out for insulating the ceiling, floor, and walls. We’ve also got to fit a closet in here for coats and boots and stuff. One thing I’m seeing is that there is a complete lack of storage space in this tiny house.

FIRST LOOK – 2nd Floor

The 2nd floor has more of the beautifully exposed pine v-groove. With a the barn style roof tapering in, headroom becomes quite short on the sides. No closets on this floor or any floor except for what’s under the stairs. This part of the renovation is going to be about building a closet and figuring out how to put some elevated horizontal surfaces up here for storage.

VIDEO – Maine Escape

If a pictures speaks a 1000 words then a video speaks absolute volumes. The following video is a montage of 4 videos taken by Nancy with her phone. The quality isn’t the highest it could have been but the footage is priceless and Nancy’s narration really gave us the insight we needed to be able to understand and manage the project expectations.

We got a lot of new information here. It answered some questions and raised some more. The utility room in the back of the basement was a pleasant surprise and nothing on the renovation list seems insurmountable at this point. It’s time to take all this new information and put it into a draft of the house.

The next blog will be about drafting a layout of the house.

Thanks for tuning in,


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