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Changes Are Afoot!
updated 14-Feb-2019
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Our quaint little Ballot Box is changing! We bought the house in 2009 to get our "foot in the door" in the mid-coast area in preparation for eventual retirement. When we were originally looking, our mindset was to get something that would get us up here and worry about whether or not it was "the" house later. But we ended up with "the" house, first try.

But alas, it's too small for a permanent residence (~900sf, great for weekends and vacations!), and it didn't have a garage (a necessity in the winter up here), and it didn't have great accommodations for guests, and... and... and.

We had three options; sell and buy something better, tear it down and start new, or expand. We couldn't bring ourselves to sell it or tear it down, so that left only option 3... expand. So we're expanding!

We're keeping the basic house and all it's charm, but bumping out six feet in the front/south to add to the tiny kitchen and dining cubby, adding a 4-season sunroom on the west side, building a 3-bay, 2-story garage on the east side (at a slight angle to the main house) with 2 bays for cars (the third bay for tool shed and woodworking shop), and the entire top floor as a quilt studio with half-bath, and connecting the house to the garage with a heated entryway. Finally the existing basement will be converted into a guest suite with another half-bath.

Click here for an architectural drawing of the end result. The yellow shading demarcates the original Ballot Box structure...

We'll post occasional "progress" pictures below as the work progresses. Click on a thumbnail to see a slightly larger image...

Excavation Equipment Assembled:18 Sept. 1:00 pm
1 hour later, garage is excavated:18 Sept. 2:03 pm
View from other side of garage:19 Sept. 5:55 pm
Sunroom is excavated:19 Sept. 5:57 pm
Footings done, foundation forms done:22 Sept. 11:04 am
Sunroom forms, seen from the deck:22 Sept. 11:28 am
Breezeway and garage footings ready:22 Sept. 11:27 am

29 Sept.
We drove up Thursday night (27 Sept.) and I telecommuted Friday while Lynn met with her Fiber-Friday sewing buddies down in Boothbay Harbor. After "work" we drove over to the construction site to see the week's progress. No-one was there but the foundations had been poured, set, and exposed, and probably had some more curing to do. The form panels were gone, on to the next construction site we presume. We'll be up for the week starting next weekend, maybe it'll be done by then! Click on a thumbnail to see a slightly larger image...
Site view from the driveway:
Garage foundation, but no slab floor yet:
Sun-room and bump-out foundations:
Bump-out foundation with Lynn checking out where the entryway will be:

Sun-room foundation from the back yard:
Breezeway and garage as seen from the old house door:

05 Oct.
Back up on Thursday night, Gene's on vacation for the following week. We visited the site Friday afternoon and there were lots of changes, but they were more subtle than last week. The most obvious visual change was that the picket fence and associated garden was removed. It was in the way of the needed grade away from the new addition in front to provide drainage away from the foundation. We'll relocate the fence and recreate the garden when construction is completed. The foundations have been waterproofed and the excavation has been backfilled. The new cellars and garage have been prepped for a poured floor. A new retaining wall has been built by the foundation for the new sun-room, and the new 200 Amp service panel has been installed by the treeline, away from the house. Click on a thumbnail to see a slightly larger image...
Long view from close to the lot entrance from the road

Closer view of the work area
Entryway crawlspace ready for concrete floor

Sun-room foundation backfilled
Sun-room foundation ready for concrete floor
Sun-room foundation and retaining wall as seen from the back yard
Close-up of the sun-room foundation with drainage pipe, ready for a concrete floor
200 amp service panel, away from the house by the treeline

12 Oct.
We were up for the week so we visited again on Friday, and bumped into Ron (the GC) who was cutting the opening from the existing cellar to the entryway crawlspace. More progress, but nothing visually dramatic. The concrete floors are poured for all the new construction areas (sun-room cellar, bump-out crawl-space, entryway crawl-space, garage). The sills for all the coming new construction are in place and bolted to the concrete foundations. They'll put the decking for the new spaces' floors down for the sun-room and bump-out, then start building the garage and entryway next. Power might be restored soon, so the webcam pictures should start flowing again then. Click on a thumbnail to see a slightly larger image...

View of the work area
Garage floor is poured
The carriage house door is off it's track
The new electrical service entrance is in place (meter is at the tree-line)

Bump-out crawlspace floor is poured

Sills are in place and bolted down

26 Oct.
Two weeks away created an expectation of visual changes, and we weren't disappointed! As usual, we came up on Thursday after work. It was dark when we arrived in the area so it was pointless to stop by the Ballot Box that night. Power had not been restored (it was by the next day) but the water supply from the well would not be restored this weekend at all, so we wouldn't be staying at the BB this weekend... maybe next time up.

Progress is being made! Two first-floor garage bays have been rough-framed and the 2nd floor framing has been started. The 3rd bay/woodworking shop will have a different frame height because of the roof pitch, so that gets framed separately. Joists and sub-floor decking for the sun-room, the bump-out, and the entryway have been applied so you can really picture (with a little imagination) what the finished result will look like!Click on a thumbnail to see a slightly larger image...

Today's view of the work area
The bump-out sub-floor
Lynn gets to use the sun-room first!
Framing the garage 1
Framing the garage 2
Inside the sun-room cellar
The non-trivial retaining wall by the sun-room foundation
The view from the back yard

11 Nov.
Lynn's sister swung by the construction site on the way by today... BIG changes! The garage has it's full shape and most of the walls and roof are in place! Exciting!! Click on the thumbnail to see a slightly larger image...
View of the emerging garage!

17 Nov.
Up for the weekend, and first snow of the season! Drove up Thursday afternoon before the storm, woke up at the Ballot Box to a winter wonderland! Snowed lightly most of Friday, so the first pictures of this visit were taken Saturday morning! Met with the general contractor this afternoon; plan is to waterproof the garage roof, and build and close up the bump-out and sun-room before breaking through to the main house. It gets more and more exciting! Click on a thumbnail to see a slightly larger image...
The full construction site...
View of the stairs up to the quilt studio and the entrance to the garage from the house... through the future entrywaty!
View up the stairs to the quilt studio
View from inside the garage...
Panorama of the front of the future quilt studio from the back...
Panorama of the future quilt studio from the front (stairs are on the left). No, the ceiling joists are not curved, stitching the 3 photos into 1 creates that illusion.
Another view of the inside of the garage...
Another view of the inside of the garage...
The GC repurposed the stairs I built for the entry deck to let us get into the house easily... Brilliant!

08 Dec
Another two-week gap between photo updates! We stayed in Brunswick at Lynn's sister's place for the weekend. Lynn drove up Wednesday morning by herself, and I came up on the Amtrak DownEaster™ Thursday after work. and telecommuted Friday. Again, lots of progress in those two weeks... all the separate parts are framed and outer-walled, and all except the bump-out has a roof, and that will be done soon! It's really shaping up now! Click on a thumbnail to see a slightly larger image...
The requisite long view from across the front lawn show the entire project:
From Friday afternoon, Lynn with our two framers, Stuart (L) and Danny(R):
The house-side of the project. The sunroom is framed, roofed, and paneled. The bump-out is framed and paneled, awaiting a roof.
The inside of the sunroom, with the makings of a cathedral ceiling
The entryway is framed, roofed, and paneled, with a front-porch-like platform
The view out the not-long-for-this-world front window, with the bump-out in front of it.
The view of the sunroom as seen from the lot-long-for-this-world dining area side window.
The back of the entryway and garage as seen from the back deck.
The sunroom and cellar below, as seen from the back yard.
The entire back view, from two stitched side-by-side photos
The construction site as seen from the other side of the driveway.

22 Dec
And another two-week gap between photo updates (almost)! We came up Friday, leaving a bit after noon, and hit a typhoon on Route 1 above Bath. We got to the house and the typhoon had knocked out power, so we booked a room at the Cod Cove Inn just above Wiscasset for the night. Power was back on next morning, so we headed back north to start packing up the downstairs in preparation for breaking through the old walls and into the new areas.  Visual changes are more subtle now that the new parts of the structure have been framed and walled on the outside.  They roofed the entire bump-out (which required the removal of the dormer windows since the roof connection extended a little higher than the bottom sills of the existing windows), and started the installation of the white roofline fascia and under-eave soffit. Click on a thumbnail to see a slightly larger image...
The requisite long view from across the front lawn shows the entire project:
A close-up of the white roofline fascia and under-eave soffit:
Longer view showing fascia and soffit and the plugged-up former dormer windows:

11 Jan
Yet another 2-week gap between updates (see a pattern?). We drove up Thursday night, staying with family in Brunswick, and drove the rest of the way up to the Ballot Box Friday morning. The propane tank had to be moved closer to the garage so it could be filled (too much new construction in the way to allow the propane truck driver to drag the hose from the driveway all the way to the old tank location under the deck in back), so the house heat was off for a week or more, which meant the water had to be shut off and the toilet tanks emptied and plumbing traps anti-freezed while the heat was off.  Tank is in the new location behind the garage now and got filled Friday afternoon, so the heat is back on. Visual progress is more subtle still; most of the new roofs have been shingled except for the bumpout, which needs to have the old single-window dormers in the front replaced by new wider but higher double-window dormers, which has begun! By the end of work Friday afternoon the right-hand dormer was gone and the remaining gaping hole buttoned up for the weekend.  Click on a thumbnail to see a slightly larger image...
Stitched composite of the entire construction site from the west side of the front lawn...
Nicely-shingled west-side garage roof, with an eclectic coat rack in view...
Working on removing the skylight and narrow dormer...
The east side of the shingled garage roof with roof-jacks still in place to facilitate siding installation. Propane tank is just behind the garage, around the corner...
By late Friday afternoon the right dormer was gone!

20 Jan
Lynn's sister Jan stopped by the house on the way by Thursday and snapped a status picture for us. New dormers are built (double-wide for two windows each) and the openings were boarded or covered up in preparation for the weekend snowstorm... (click on the thumbnail to see a slightly larger image):

6 Feb
A bit longer gap between visits (19 days) than before, and a lot has been accomplished visually. Front dormers are done, most windows are installed, new roofs and the front of the old roof has been shingled (back dormer will be rebuilt soon so makes no sense to shingle the back roof yet). Waiting on entryway doors and garage doors. Here are some pictures showing the visual progress so far (as always, click on a thumbnail to see a slightly larger image);
View of the entire front, with roofing and windows in place ...
The main house a little closer ...
The quilt studio windows (double-front, triple side dormer, double back) are in - LOTS of natural light...
Closer view of the front dormers on the main house...
The sunroom windows are in (looking through the open window from the living room which will be removed once the wall gets opened from the living room ...
Inside view of the dormer in my new office (formerly Lynn's quilt-room and occasional guest-room) ...

14 Feb
Happy Valentine's Day! Up again the next week to further refine electrical decisions and describe to the GC what we don't like about the newly-installed kitchen and laundry-room windows in the first-floor front (too much white vinyl, not enough clear glass). They will be replaced. We looked at LED ceiling lights at a lighting showroom in Portland on the way up, and finished specifying lights and outlets in the new areas (kitchen, quilt studio, garage/workshop). Also took photos of the new composite siding; siding installation finished on the east side of the garage and being worked on on the back (north) side of the garage... (as always, click on a thumbnail to see a slightly larger image);
The east side of the garage showing the new composite siding installed...
Closeup of the workshop window and siding and trim...
Closeup of the siding...
North (back) side of garage with composite siding installation in progress...

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