Joining two houses


Old 07-22-02, 12:21 PM
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Question Joining two houses

We have 2 houses on 4 lots - One is about 48X30 and the other is 31X26. My husband has a great deal of knowledge and experience about plumbing and electrical. He also has his own large front end loader and smaller tractor with backhoe. As an industrial demolisher, he also has accumulated a great amount of good salvaged beam and wood to use in the project. We also have

The only planning we've done so far are measuring, assessing house and lot conditions and computer design using 3D Home Architect. Broderbund Software

Has anyone here done such a thing? Both of these houses were built about the late 1930s and both are in reasonably good condition. We will be moving the smaller home to "butt-in" to the larger home. We realize the roof lines will have to changed and the plumbing, gas and electrical all needed to be updated anyway.

I welcome any suggestions, warnings or encouragement. This must be done since we need to upgrade my mother-in-law's living condition as well as provide ourselves decent housing in the same home.

Thank you for your input.
Old 07-23-02, 09:52 PM
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Joining two houses


I have merged a detached garage to a home but a home to a home is similar only if they are very similar in dimensions of exterior walls, floors. Alot of furring may be required. Dimensions may vary on height of walls. Roofs will have to be removed and by this time, interior walls will have to be removed to incorporate your desired design. In essence, what you have left may not be worth the time and effort if you just built one part new. If time and sweat is not an issue, go for it but.... It is obvious that your husband has alot of tools but it is labor intensive to say the least. Combining 2 structures is difficult but it can be done but some issues need to be resolved. I would highly recommend seeking an architect to establish sound construction methods and to meet any and all code requirements. I'm sure the city would be asking for and/or requiring alot of information that you may not be able to handle yourself. The city may also require an architecual seal on all drawings submitted as I had to do this just for merging a garage. Consult with your local building official for requirements.

Good Luck!
Old 07-24-02, 06:13 PM
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Smile Joining two Homes

Thanks Doug, for sharing your experience. We realize this is not a normal way of adding on, but the smaller home is actually in better shape than the larger, so we didn't want to tear it down. It's only about 200 feet from the other home, so it's very much in the way unless we just "scoot it over". The term you used - "furring" - is probably the correct term to describe what we had already decided to do. Rather than remove one outer wall on each house, we thought that we could simply add a sort of transitional room between the two and remove only a good portion of each wall. The property is basically level with no major obstacles in the way and there is plenty of room for the equipment to move around.

Thanks for your suggestion to consult an architect. As you can imagine, we are interested in remodeling with as low a cost as possible. Perhaps my computer renderings will more accurately convey our vision to the architect and help hold down his fee. We've never dealt with an architect before, so I'm not sure of the protocol.

If you have any other suggestions, I'll be pleased to hear what you have to relate. Thanks again for taking the time to reply to my post!
Old 07-30-02, 02:00 PM
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Joining two houses

Hi, Merrellee

I agree, sometimes join two houses became a problem and not a solution.
Try to create a mixed solution, perhaps with a big gazebo or porch. Landscape can help if weather is not a big trouble

Hope this helps
Old 07-31-02, 12:39 AM
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Smile Joining two houses

Thanks Patricia,

You've suggested something we've already decided to do. With such a large area (4 lots) I have plenty of room for landscaping, as well as porches. This property is actually a sort of inheritance. The houses were built back in the 1930s and have absolutely no character or charm whatsoever. My husband has already spent several years and we've invested a lot of money just making the main house liveable and safe for his elderly mother. She has been using the smaller home for "storage" ie. accumulation of her hoard of useless junk. This property is in the southwest and if you know anything about the west, you'll know that water is gold here. We have two established water wells there. Although it isn't pretty right now, we know we can make something worth having and worth living in. Judging by the properties directly across the street and down the block, landscaping should be no problem. I have decided on not just one gazebo, but three, in various sections of the yards. By using the 3D rendering software, I've been able to try out various scenarios with the main house as our base.

We know this won't be at all easy, but we have the property and the equipment, the willingness to work and the knowledge as well as the help of good friends. We're willing to be patient and take the transitions necessary one "bite" at a time.

As always, I appreciate knowledge and encouragement.
Old 07-31-02, 05:13 AM
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Joining two houses

You're welcome!

We'll be here if you need more help

Old 08-08-02, 10:41 PM
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Don't know if what I have to say is exactly relevant but just want to share some info. We live in a frame house, we decided we wanted to brick the front and one side of the house, and my husband would do the bricking. (I'll try to make this short)
My husband took the drawing of what he wanted to do to the city for approval. They wouldn't approve because they said we had to have an "engineer stamp." It was hard to find an engineer that was willing to do that kind of work. We found one who would help us, we had to do about $3000 worth of foundation work to get ready to do the bricking. We had to meet his specs for pouring 6' holes with 3'base filled with concrete, and this is every 6 to 8' across the front and side of the house. We also had to tear out the front porch, because some concrete holes had to go there, and then install a new porch. When we did all that, we had to pay $300 for the "stamp". Then the city had to come out and inspect. Well we have been bricking now for about a month, and things are looking good. I said all that to say, dealing with the city requirements, engineers, etc, can be time consuming and frustrating, and expensive, but can be worth it. Good luck on your project!
Old 08-09-02, 02:31 PM
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Smile joining two houses and bureaucracy


Thanks so much for sharing that information. We've been pretty well warned about the regulations and permitting and expense required for all the things we need to do. Actually, owning our own business since 1980, we're well acquainted with the ability of bureaucracy to add much time and expense to a project - if not stopping a project altogether.

That's why we're approaching this project one step at a time. We know our weaknesses and capabilities and we also respect the philosophy and necessity behind building codes and permits.

One reason I posted to this board was to get opinions and experiences from folks like us who have a job to do and who want all the knowledge available concerning that job. I don't discount any experience, good or bad, of do-it-yourselfers who can warn us or encourage us.

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