When we purchased this house, it did not have a very good layout for family living. The bathroom on the first floor does not exist and the wall is smashed out, leaving us a mutated tiled-bathroom-hallway-pipe-steps which connect the larger part of the first floor to the smaller part of the first floor. On the second floor we literally got lost when we did the walk through with the realtor. Crystal and I were calling “Marco Polo” to each other after we got separated. And then in the basement we inherited some old pipes with sealed-up asbestos on them. Needless to say there had to be some changes! Check out the floor plan we inherited:
One of our main priorities was to arrange an apartment section of the house. We are immigrants to Europe, so we plan to host family members and friends for long periods of time, and having their own living space is really crucial to being comfortable. We are also hoping to help finance part of the mortgage by renting it out for a number of years. We asked the city planning office and they said an apartment is fine, but then the building has to be modified to conform to apartment fire codes. They recommended we make it a duplex and split the “apartment” evenly across the two floors so that nothing of our section of the house would overlap, thus circumventing the needs for rezoning the building. That works for us, but now we need to add another staircase somewhere…
Originally the house actually had 3 apartments in it. All four living spaces shared a back door and a communal stairwell, which led to the basement where there was a sauna (important since apartments 3 and 4 did not have any shower). Here are the 1941 floor plans for the first floor, second floor, and basement:
As you can see from these drawings, somewhere along the way the second-floor roof was raised to a third-floor roof and the entire second floor was renovated into a larger space. The city has last track of that renovation and the plans that were included in it. Maybe as we dig backwards into the walls during our renovation we will find evidence of the big renovation and how they structured the house at that time.
After several months working with our architect, Ilpo Vuorela, he came up with a new floor plan that we think will work well, turning the house into a duplex and adding a stairwell in the smaller section of the house. I will go over the evolution of each area in future posts and link them here as they are completed:
How would you change the house? Draw your ideas and compare them with our new, 2013 floor plans! Note: the dotted lines show where old walls that existed will be taken down.