Historic Salt Lake City Triplex
My wife Amy and I purchased a historic brick triplex home in the Autumn of 2004 near downtown Salt Lake City. What we thought would be a six month spruce-up, turned into a full gut, partial tear-down, complete remodel, and redesign. With little experience, but great resolve, and with valuable support from knowledgable family & friends, we accomplished most of the major work ourselves over the next three years. We did all the demolition, excavation, foundation, radiant in-floor heating system, framing, sheeting, shingling, trim, cabinets, flooring, painting, custom shelving, and finish plumbing & finish electrical ourselves… We did contract out some important items including rough electrical, insulation, rough-in plumbing, slab flatwork, roofing, and drywall. In the end, we completed THREE brand new apartments, all building systems, garage restoration, 3 new slab parking spaces, the entire exterior, decks, 2 fences and landscaping. We still live in one of the units, and as of early 2009, we have some exterior painting and a little bit of landscaping still to do.
It has been an ultra-marathon of a project, but our commitment was always to the integrity of the building. We worked as house-painters to earn money to live on while doing it. We pinched every penny and fell asleep every night dirty, exhausted, wondering how we were going to get up and do it again the next day. We were constantly stressed about our budget, our timeline, and making ends meet to make it all happen at the level we envisioned, but we trusted if we put our whole hearts into it, everything would work out, which fortunately, it has.
As gruelling, exhausting, and never-ending as the project seemed, we forged enduring friendships with lots of great folks who helped us out in countless ways, and we learned infinitely more than we ever thought we’d need to know. (I sometimes think of it as graduate school in homebuilding.) In fact, we enjoyed the process so much that through it all we decided to to it for a living. We now have a home improvement, design, and remodeling business called Inspired Interiors. We have one employee and are doing well, mostly working on small residential remodels around Salt Lake City.
Also, a note of special thanks to our architect, beurocratic red-tape cutter, tireless construction consultant, and friend David Richardson at Capitol Hill Construction.
Weston & Amy Noyes
Additional photos can be viewed here:
The whole 2600 sq. ft. house, built in 1895, (converted to a triplex in the 1930's) was basically in similar or worse condition as this original Kitchen photo. We bought the place as a home and investment; to fix up and live in one unit and rent the other two apartments, which in the end has worked out well. It's hard to imagine from this photo how at home I feel here now.
After: The kitchen and whole building was remodeled in colorful, classic contempary style with modern flourishes. We opened the kitchen/living room plan by removing a dividing wall and a two foot dropped-ceiling. We also exposed the adobe brick exterior wall. Trying to stretch our budget, we used plenty of Ikea stuff, but there was no Ikea in Utah at the time. We drove to California three times to haul back our cabinets because it was cheaper than shipping. About a year after we finished the interiors, they opened an Ikea in Draper, about twenty minutes away.
This original derelict addition on the back of the house was basically a disaster waiting to happen. It was a porch addition from probably the 1930's with no foundation that had been walled in. Very poorly built, sinking, with no insulation, and ugly as sin. We completely demolished it and rebuilt a new addition with a proper footing/foundation
The new back addition added a third story and a 400 square foot vaulted, double gable dormer master bedroom, all while keeping the original building footprint. Amy being from Vermont, and me having lived in Maine for a few years, our design was inspired by New England colonial homes. The house sits on a hill and has fabulous sunset views of the Great Salt Lake and Antelope Island. You can see the entry to the basement apartment in this photo.
This is the bedroom we restored first and lived in while using our garage as a kitchen, hauling buckets of water from our yard hose tap to do dishes, and a bucket as a toilet, for four months until we got temporary plumbing. We cultivated a garden in our front yard. We joked that we'd always wanted to homestead, we just never thought we'd do it in downtown Salt Lake City!