After closing on 7/18/08, we interviewed and collected bids from 8 contractors. They came in $60,000-$140,000 more than anticipated - yikes! This is mostly because of the basement apartment we knew we needed to have to afford our monthly mortgage payment. But these contractors have also been spoiled by the hot market and huge profits. We decided to postpone the selection of a contractor and in the meantime focus on drawings and permits. Really, Eric did that, working til 11 or 12pm every night, while I surfed the web for finishes, but we're really not anywhere close to needing to select finishes yet.
We wanted a very open floorplan. Afterall, the house is about 15'x45' and it feels really small with all of the plaster walls currently in place. We're re-organizing the entire 2nd floor. The bathroom is tiny and in an awkward place and 2 of the 3 rooms are smallish with poor natural light. We planned an open "cocaine" lounge space (named for the decor, not the activity) at the top of the steps (that could be turned into a room someday), 2 good sized bedrooms, and a modest bath. Someday (before kids) we want to add a 3rd floor to the house for our master suite. Zoning allows it, structurally it should be ok, but don't ask me where the $ will come from!
We submitted for permits on 9/8/08. We also hired an expeditor for $300. Then we waited, and waited, and waited. The fact the we had underpinning in the basement plans put us immediately in the slow pile!