Ten years ago we bought our property because it was perfect. The small acreage was close to town and at the edge of the small business district. It was on a busy road (desired) and best of all it had an adequate house on the property that was livable for the short term. The house wasn't so nice that we wanted to keep it for the long term. We painted the inside, put some carpet in areas that needed it, upgraded the wiring as required by code, and made lots of small repairs (including half of a new roof) to keep the house habitable.
I being the eternal optimist promised Janis that I would build her our dream house in two - five years. Janis, the realist, figured five - seven years was a little more realistic. As usual she was right.
It was eight and a half years before I finally applied for a building permit for the new house. The city officials wouldn't give me one unless I took out a demolition permit for the old one at the same time. I choked a bit on the fee but was happy to oblige.
Three days ago everything was finally out of the old house. We and all of our family, neighbors and friends had salvaged everything we could. A lot of other things went out to the road with a giant free sign. It all disappeared - including the free sign. We moved fences to allow room to get at the large piles of soil that would fill the hole afterwards. Our friend Len, brought his giant excavator to the property and the long awaited destruction of the house was set to begin. On Tuesday mornng neighbors, family and crew gathered to watch at a safe distance.
With the new house so close (the roofs actually overlapped) it called for destruction with a plan. Len peeled layer after layer off the back of the house and then toppled the last remaining walls and roof into the pile. The old house was down without even a scratch to the new one.
In less than an hour nothing of the old house was left standing. It was just a huge pile of rubble. The bits were then loaded into a series of large bins and hauled away to a sorting yard for salvage, recycling and chipping. The foundation was next. Because there was no rebar in the old house foundation, the concrete was taken to a gravel pit for grinding and recycling as well. Seven hours after we started nothing was left of the old house except the hole which had to stay empty until the inspection by the city officials the next day. For the first time since the building project was begun we could see the new house from the rear.
Yesterday it was time to begin the backfill and shaping of the yard. Aother twenty truckloads were hauled in to make sure there was enough fill to get the contours we wanted. The new house was four feet higher than the original grade. Our plan was to literally build a giant hill around the new house so it looked like it grew there instead of poking way out of the ground. Once the grading was done it was obvious our plan had worked our pretty well.
Were we sad to see the old house go? NOT A BIT! In a few days it will be hard to remember it was ever there and we are OK with that!