Maine Escape DAY 0.0 – Background and Project Layout

Maine Escape - Day 0.0

DAY 0.0 – Background and Project Layout

BACKGROUND – Maine Escape

My wife (Liz) and I make our living bringing ideas to life. We’re a designer and builder team specializing in project based construction management. The Maine Escape project is a retirement house for my Father (Ray) and Stepmom (Nancy). Like us they’ve decided to escape from the hustle and bustle of urban life and take on a slower, more natural lifestyle. They found a renovated hunting cabin for sale in a semi-rural section of Maine and wanted to see if they could turn it into a comfortable year-round home for themselves. Upgrading the house and plot for comfortable year-round living and accessibility is the goal of this project.

THE HOUSE – Maine Escape

Having just made a Family move across the country, this project quickly became a design visualization. We had only seen realestate photos of the house online and had to figure out if it was possible to upgrade the house amenities and floor plan to accommodate the necessities of year-round living for a couple to enjoy their retirement.

Here are the real estate photos of the Maine Escape courtesy of The Maine Real Estate Network.

The house was being listed as a 1 bed, 1 bath, 1,042 sq ft Cottage with an unfinished basement, large porch, and detached barn/outbuilding.


  1. Build a staircase to the basement (currently you have to walk down and around the steep hill to get to the basement door)
  2. Finish the basement
    1. Install a floor over the concrete slab
    2. Insulate, frame, and finish walls to match knotty pine cladding of 1st floor
    3. Finish the ceiling
    4. Put in a bathroom w/ a toilet, sink, and walk-in shower
    5. Install Washer & Dryer
    6. Build bunk beds to sleep kids and grandkids (total of 6 at a time)
  3. Turn the porch into a year-round living space
    1. Insulate the floor & ceiling
    2. Install thermal windows
    3. Build a closet
    4. Install new door
    5. Install a heating and cooling system
  4. Upgrade the kitchen
    1. Change the sink
    2. Change the stove
    3. Install over-stove microwave
    4. Change fridge
    5. Install waterline to fridge
    6. Install dishwasher
  5. 2nd Floor upgrade
    1. Build closet
  6. Barn
    1. Install garage door
    2. Finish the floor (currently dirt)
    3. Install staircase to the upper level
  7. Property
    1. Build a kayak rack
    2. Build outdoor shower
    3. Build picnic table for beach
    4. Fence in propane tank
    5. Build patio
    6. Install railings (to help get around the steep slopes of the house)


We started this project in January 2016 with a 2 month window in June & July to be onsite and complete the bulk of the renovation. This gave us a schedule of 3 months to layout and design the project, 2 month to order materials, schedule labor, and get permits, and 2 months to be onsite to manage and complete the renovation. 3-2-2 is a perfect appropriation of time for almost every project. When you have a small window for building, spending 60% of your time on planning is critical to insuring that the project gets done right, gets done on-time and on-budget.


First thing we need was a more detailed idea of the building, how it was constructed, and how everything is laid out. The biggest part of this project is going to be the finished basement. Something there weren’t even photos for… yet.

Liz took the real estate photos and created a rough layout of the house. We sent out a Dimension Packet to Ray & Nancy with instructions on how to fill in the information and to get us more photos of everything plus some videos to fill in the gaps.

I took this information and used it to draft a plan set of the house for the engineering and design of the basement renovation. There are a lot of components that need to go into cutting a hole in a floor and putting in plumbing, venting, and electrical. Having an accurate set of drawings is vital to coordination with contractors and in applying for permits.

The next blog will show you how all this starts to shape up.

Thanks for tuning in,


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