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 Paul Greathouse - This Little Old House

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Dik Harrison


Posts : 233
Join date : 2008-07-01
Age : 70
Location : Evans, GA, USA

PostSubject: Paul Greathouse - This Little Old House   March 20th 2009, 5:41 pm

This thread was originally posted on SMC by Paul Greathouse. It is here with his permission.

I've seen lots of threads in the past, where people chronicle the building of a shop but I haven't seen any about building or remodeling a house. We just rescued a little 980sqft house from town that a developer was going to have torn down. He gave it to my oldest son, all we had to do is pay the moving fee.

We moved it out to our property in the country, across the road from me and my dads houses. We will be adding onto and completely remodeling it. The parish inspector made us pour a concrete grid with the outer piers poured as part of the grid. The inner piers will be normal pyrimid shaped piers.

I have done alot of additions and remodeling in the past and I thought some of you might be interested in seeing what we do with the house. I will post some pictures of where we are with it now and update as we go along. I'll watch the views and replies and if I see there is not much interest I'll quit updating. If this should go in another area please feel free to move it.

So far I have a couple pictures of the move, some of the house sitting next to the pad that it will eventually be on and some of the grid and pier forms. We poured yesterday and wreaked the forms this morning. The mover wants us to wait 7 days before he sets it in place so that will happen next week.

The first one is the house coming down the road.
The second two were the movers very creative way of getting a whole house across a 12' culvert.
The next couple are the house sitting on the trailer.

Aurelio Alarcon posted:

Sweet move!

Paul Greathouse continued:

Here are some of the concrete footings. The flat metal you see sticking up from the piers are Simpson straps for attaching the house to the piers at the corners. There are alot of new regulations now since the hurricane Rita in 2005.

Richard Young Posted:

hey this south of town or east? just curious as i live in lake chuck myself.

Paul Greathouse Replied:


First, welcome to Sawmill Creek, I see its your first post. We are located south of town on Lincoln Road between the Gulf Hwy and Tom Hebert Road. Come by and take a look if your interested. The house came off of LaGrange street. The developer is building some town houses there.

Jim Becker Posted:

Paul, that's a fine thing you're doing, preserving that home. And from the looks of things, it's going to be "tied down" pretty good, too, once it's on the new foundation!

Richard Young Replied:

paul...thanks for the invite...i just might give you a holler someday and pass my eye over to see your project. looks like it's gonna be real interesting.

Paul Greathouse Replied:


Its well framed with Fir lumber and has 3/4" Oak tongue and groove flooring. We will be adding a 28' X 28' addition to it, which should bring it to 1760 sqft.

Irvin Cooper Posted:


That is an awesome project. I have frequently considered what a great project a house relocate would be.

Keep us posted on the relocation of the house. This will be very interesting to follow.



Art Mulder Posted:

My first house was about 800 sq ft, and for a young couple that is fine, or even with 1 or 2 small kids... but we did have a full basement also. Are basements not common down in your area? That adds a lot of storage and utility space to a house that you don't have.

With the small size, I was wondering why you bothered, since my understanding is that moving can be quite pricey. However from your comments above it seems like the house is in good shape.

Please do keep updating, as I love reading about home renovations. Some before and (planned) after diagrams of the floor plan would be great if you don't mind sharing them.


Ken Fitzgerald Posted:

Paul.....very interesting thread! Please keep posting the progress!

Art......because of the local water table in the area, I suspect basements are pretty scarce in the are where Paul lives.

Paul Greathouse Replied:


Kens right, there are no basements down here due to the water table. You probably can't tell from the house pad pics but the pad is built up approx. 4 feet to meet the parishes requirements for elevation. Like I said earilier since the hurricane we have been hit with so many new regulations and codes. Some good, some bad. Luckily for my son, him and my dad are in the heavy construction business (trackhoes, doziers, ect) so they had the equipment to build the pad and were able to trade off a little equipment work for the fill sand with another contractor.

My house and my dads house are across the road, both are on peirs, both sitting on the virgin ground. Niether one has ever flooded. We are about 20 miles from the coast but we do have a bayou less than a mile south of our property.

Both my house and my dads house came throught the hurricane with minimal damage. Mostly missing shingles and mine had a pecan tree limb break off and poke a small hole in the roof over my living room.

Several things drew us to the house, its got real oak floors in the majority of the house, the existing floor plan plus the proposed addition will get us roughly the exact floor plan he was planning on building anyway, for me, plumbing a house on piers is much easier in the fact that if I mess up, I can go back and make changes. Not so on a slab where the plumbing is all under concrete. Last but not least we will be starting with a roof over our heads with the existing house and the addition will be rather small and quick to black in.

Monitarily the move wasn't super productive, I figured the materials to replace the existing framework would cost us about $7000. So $7000 less the moving costs we are only about $2000 and quite a bit of framing time and labor ahead. It seemed to be the best option for us since we will be doing most of the labor ourselves. The only labor we plan on hiring out at this point is the sheetrock finishing and maybe shingles because I am terrible at taping and floating and I hate doing roofing.

It will be about a week before the house is set in place but when it is I will take some more pictures of the outside and some inside "before shots" and post them.

Keith Beck Posted:

A free house! That's got to qualify for gloat of the year!


Art Mulder Replied:

I figured it was something like that on the basements. Having always had a basement, it would just be something else to get used to. I would have to come up with some alternate storage/utility space in the house, I guess.

I also hate mudding and taping drywall. That is definitely a skill that takes time, and I have mastered it.

Dave Ray Posted:

Paul, this is a great thread to follow, please keep posting as the work progresses.
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Dik Harrison


Posts : 233
Join date : 2008-07-01
Age : 70
Location : Evans, GA, USA

PostSubject: Part 2   March 21st 2009, 5:33 am

Paul Greathouse continued:

I'm going to revive this old thread to show everyone what I, my son and a few of his close friends have been working on for the past year. Actually we finished in May08. After catching up on other things that were neglected I have had time to take some pictures. I will be adding several so enjoy, I only wish I would have had the time to take more during the process of doing the work.

After gutting all the old sheetrock. There was some mold damage and we had to rewire the whole house anyway. The easiest thing to do was take it all out.

Here's some when we were putting the finishing touches on.

Heres the finished front porch, I enjoy doing porch posts and railing even more than cabinet work.

It ended up being kind of long after we added the addition on the back and the porch on the front but my son and his wife are happy with it so thats all that counts.

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Dik Harrison


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Join date : 2008-07-01
Age : 70
Location : Evans, GA, USA

PostSubject: Part 3   March 21st 2009, 6:12 am

Jack Coats Posted:

Yea, along the Gulf Coast, basements are another word for 'indoor pool'. The water table is often way to high, and much of the area has clay below the relatively thin topsoil. ... We moved from Houston where the subdivisions we lived in were all 'reclaimed' from rice patties. ... Yes, rice farming is alive and well down there, but we moved there to work for oil companies.

Thanks for posting this great thread. ...

Paul Greathouse Continued:

Here's my pride and joy the kitchen I built for them. Its not the biggest one I have ever done but its defintley the best as far as quality. I was able to take my time and do thing the way I wanted. The quartersawn red oak that the cabinets are built of, were trees we salvaged from the hurricane in O5.

We had the lumber sawed on site by a portable bandsaw mill, it air dried for about a year then we hauled it to a mill and had it kiln dried and rough planed. I did all the finish planing with a little Delta lunchbox planer.

I have gotten more compliments on the doors than anything else. After seeing the finished product, a carpenter friend of my son's asked where did ya'll find all the wide boards for the door panels. I guess I jointed those 4", 6" and 8" boards pretty good, they fooled a full time

This is a closeup of the Hutch, it has 3 large bottom drawers and 4 slideout shelves behind the doors.

Brent Ring Posted:


Very nice work. If I may ask, approximately how much was saved over buying a new home and having it built on the property?

This was a very impressive project.

Paul Greathouse Continued:

Some shots of the living room. The living room and Kitchen are actually one large room. There are alot of people doing this sort of layout down here.

The Master bedroom, my son and a friend laid all the Brazilian Cherry laminate floor throught the house, glad I didn't have to work on that project. My 47yo knees don't like that kind of abuse.

The master bath complete with jacuzzi tub and 8' vanity that guess who built.

These are the laminate beams in the living room that I wrapped with with oak plywood and some of the left over wood from the cabinets.

A couple of the small bath and another looking down the long hallway back to the master bedroom.

Last but defintely not least, my new granddaughters bedroom. My daughter-in-law loves to decorate.

The house appraised for $140,000 and the total cost of expenses were roughly $80,000. The house is 1760 sqft living plus the 12X28 front porch.

Mark Smith, too Posted:

That is some beautiful work and quite a great thing to do together. The great-grandkids will see what you did together.

Kevin Arceneaux Posted:

Nice house and a great job fixing it up.

It seems that we are getting a good sized group from central and SW LA. We may have to set up something

Glen Clabo Posted:

Very...very...very nice job Paul. Salvaging the old to make it look new is just cool on many levels.

Thanks for bringing it up to date.

Paul Greathouse Replied:

We'll have to see about doing that Kevin, I remember seeing a fellow by the name of Breaux posting but he didn't give his location. With a name like that he has to be from Louisiana. There are probably a few others that I'm not remembering right now.

As you can tell I'm mostly a finish carpenter and cabinet maker, what type of woodworking do you mostly do?

Jim Becker Posted:

Very nice work, Paul! Turned out great!

Kevin Arceneaux Replied:

Just a bit of piddling arounf right now, when I am home.

John Thompson Posted:

Nice job and one that I woudn't tackle at this point of life.


Paul Greathouse Replied:

I know what you mean John, its been a long time since I tackled such a big project. I was 46 years old last year when we started and I felt like I was 76 when we finally finished this year. I'm figuring out what getting old is all about.

And naturally my wife wants a new set of cabinets and a remodeled master bath now, so no rest for the weary. Maybe in another year or so, I will have the time to finish the inside of my shop and get it set up the way I want it, but it is functional enough for now.

Steve Clardy Posted:

Very nice Paul. Your efforts really show in the pictures.
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Dik Harrison


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PostSubject: Part 4   March 21st 2009, 6:19 am

Paul Greathouse Posted:

Thanks for all the replys guys, it just ain't as much fun if you can't show it off somewhere. The time spent with my son's and their friends on the project was great. It felt kind of like back when I worked on a crew.

The plumbing and electrical were the most challenging because I don'tdo either that much but it all passed inspection so it must have been OK. My oldest son got the honor of wiring in the main box on his first wiring job. I put in a couple of circuits to show him how and he did the rest.

Besides hanging the sheetrock installing the plumbing under the house was probably the hardest part physically. All that sliding around on my back and behind wasn't my idea of fun.

Just got finished installing a new toilet in my own house tonight after work. My wife had a new vinyl floor laid in the downstairs bath and utility room today. That was probably the easiest project she has lined up for me.

Kevin Arceneaux Replied:

Mine had a A/C unit installed today. The old one bit the dust and it was a do or die situation.

South LA in the summer. IT has been brutal the last week or so and it just about gave up the ghost.

Norman Pyles Posted:

Great thread.

Charles Wilson Posted:

Sweet project.



Jerry Olexa Posted:

Very nice and interesting project!!! Excellent work...I esp like the Kitchen. The cabinets turned out fine..Did you do countertops yourself? You should be very proud!! Great work!!!

Paul Greathouse Replied:

Thanks Jerry,

Yes I did the countertops myself. It is one of the new formica patterns that looks like granite. Instead of using formica for the edging, I made a simple 1 1/2" oak trim with a bead. The formica with wood edging is not as popular now as it was back in the mid ninety's when I did my last cabinet job for hire but its quick and easy and looks fairly good.
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Bo Jones

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Age : 85
Location : Groves, TX

PostSubject: Re: Paul Greathouse - This Little Old House   March 21st 2009, 11:50 am

Paul, excellent job. After seeing your shop, I'm not surprised at the quality of your work. (Note: I had the pleasure of visiting with Paul and meeting his son in his shop a few weeks ago.) And a public thank you for taking your time to show me around and to share your thoughts on setting up and using the EZ tools. I learned a lot.

" I was 46 years old last year when we started and I felt like I was 76 when we finally finished this year. I'm figuring out what getting old is all about."

Define "old" for this 75 year mature man.

If you all set up something, don't forget your neighbors in SE Texas.

You done good.
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Paul Greathouse


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Age : 57
Location : Lake Charles, Louisiana

PostSubject: Re: Paul Greathouse - This Little Old House   March 26th 2009, 10:08 pm

It was great having you over Bo, your welcome here anytime. If you ever need to take another look or just want to play with someone elses tools just let me know.
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