For those of you who follow my personal adventures with my new house (both of you), I have an update about the mysterious second floor. To catch up, here's part one and part two of the story. Yes, I went up there. No, I'm not doing it again any time soon. Yes, I'm going to build rooms up there. No, not until the stairs are in place. Yes, it will cause me to go into debt until the housing market recovers and I can unload the old house. Continue reading for the rest of the story.
Six months after we moved into our new home, I finally saw the second floor last week! You may recall that Brother Bill went up and took some video, which one of my daughters deleted from the camera before it was downloaded. I finally called an architect to come and explore the possibility of using the attic for living space, which meant borrowing my brother's extension ladder. Mr. Not-afraid-of-anything climbed up to the roof and into the attic (the only access is through the roof) and took some more video.
I would show you the video, but it's not really worth uploading because it's dark and you don't get an idea of how big the space really is. When he told me that, I said I'd go up myself. But I didn't go until Mr. Mountain Goat tied a rope to the rafters so I could hold -like a security blanket- and got behind me on the ladder. Still, my heart climbed into my stomach as I crawled up about six feet of roof to the door-that-looks-like-a-window. Common sense should have told me that the attic is exactly as big as the first floor, but it seemed bigger without the walls separating the roof. There was also a time-warp feeling about the experience, as if no one had set foot inside for 100 years. I'm sure few have, since one misstep on the floor joists would send you crashing through layers of lathe-and-plaster and (cringe) asbestos. Oh yes, this could add a lot of living space to my world. Then coming down was even more traumatic than going up, but I managed to do it without looking down, hanging onto the rope until I was securely on the ladder. So I've seen it. I feel no need whatsoever to go up there again until a proper staircase is available.
In the week since, many people have been up and down the ladder. The architect came and measured every nook and cranny downstairs and upstairs. Three crews came to give estimates on in insulating the roof ($$ka-ching!$$) with another coming today. The architect called to say he believes we can put several rooms up there, but we will probably have to add more floor joists for support ($$ka-ching!$$). Then he told me how much it will cost for him to design and draw up the blueprints ($$ka-ching!$$). The building inspector's office said it was easy to get a permit; I just have to pay a percentage of the project estimate ($$ka-ching!$$). Oh yeah, they require a licensed plumber and a licensed electrician to install pipes and wiring ($$ka-ching!$$). Mr. Sure-I'll-build-it says we should contract out the flooring as well as the stairs because of the reinforcement and leveling involved ($$ka-ching!$$). There's a slim chance I may save some money by doing the drywall and painting with Mr. Handyman, but the ways things are going, I won't count on it.