Get information about the area around the Ballot Box Return to the VOGT Family TreeHouse Why do we call it the Ballot Box? The history of the Ballot Box View a live WebCam of the front yard of the Ballot Box Get information about the area around the Ballot Box Ballot Box Home Page

Changes Are Afoot!
updated 07-Jun-2019
Jump to most recent update

Our quaint little Ballot Box is changing! We bought the house in 2009 to get our "foot in the door" in the mid-coast area in preparation for eventual retirement. When we were originally looking, our mindset was to get something that would get us up here and worry about whether or not it was "the" house later. But we ended up with "the" house, first try.

But alas, it's too small for a permanent residence (~900sf, great for weekends and vacations!), and it didn't have a garage (a necessity in the winter up here), and it didn't have great accommodations for guests, and... and... and.

We had three options; sell and buy something better, tear it down and start new, or expand. We couldn't bring ourselves to sell it or tear it down, so that left only option 3... expand. So we're expanding!

We're keeping the basic house and all it's charm, but bumping out six feet in the front/south to add to the tiny kitchen and dining cubby, adding a 4-season sunroom on the west side, building a 3-bay, 2-story garage on the east side (at a slight angle to the main house) with 2 bays for cars (the third bay for tool shed and woodworking shop), and the entire top floor as a quilt studio with half-bath, and connecting the house to the garage with a heated entryway. Finally the existing basement will be converted into a guest suite with another half-bath.

Click here for an architectural drawing of the end result. The yellow shading demarcates the original Ballot Box structure...

We'll post occasional "progress" pictures below as the work progresses. Click on a thumbnail to see a slightly larger image...

Excavation Equipment Assembled:18 Sept. 1:00 pm
1 hour later, garage is excavated:18 Sept. 2:03 pm
View from other side of garage:19 Sept. 5:55 pm
     
Sunroom is excavated:19 Sept. 5:57 pm
Footings done, foundation forms done:22 Sept. 11:04 am
Sunroom forms, seen from the deck:22 Sept. 11:28 am
     
Breezeway and garage footings ready:22 Sept. 11:27 am
   


29 Sept.
We drove up Thursday night (27 Sept.) and I telecommuted Friday while Lynn met with her Fiber-Friday sewing buddies down in Boothbay Harbor. After "work" we drove over to the construction site to see the week's progress. No-one was there but the foundations had been poured, set, and exposed, and probably had some more curing to do. The form panels were gone, on to the next construction site we presume. We'll be up for the week starting next weekend, maybe it'll be done by then! Click on a thumbnail to see a slightly larger image...
Site view from the driveway:
Garage foundation, but no slab floor yet:
Sun-room and bump-out foundations:
     
Bump-out foundation with Lynn checking out where the entryway will be:

Sun-room foundation from the back yard:
Breezeway and garage as seen from the old house door:


05 Oct.
Back up on Thursday night, Gene's on vacation for the following week. We visited the site Friday afternoon and there were lots of changes, but they were more subtle than last week. The most obvious visual change was that the picket fence and associated garden was removed. It was in the way of the needed grade away from the new addition in front to provide drainage away from the foundation. We'll relocate the fence and recreate the garden when construction is completed. The foundations have been waterproofed and the excavation has been backfilled. The new cellars and garage have been prepped for a poured floor. A new retaining wall has been built by the foundation for the new sun-room, and the new 200 Amp service panel has been installed by the treeline, away from the house. Click on a thumbnail to see a slightly larger image...
Long view from close to the lot entrance from the road

Closer view of the work area
Entryway crawlspace ready for concrete floor
     

Sun-room foundation backfilled
Sun-room foundation ready for concrete floor
Sun-room foundation and retaining wall as seen from the back yard
     
Close-up of the sun-room foundation with drainage pipe, ready for a concrete floor
200 amp service panel, away from the house by the treeline


12 Oct.
We were up for the week so we visited again on Friday, and bumped into Ron (the GC) who was cutting the opening from the existing cellar to the entryway crawlspace. More progress, but nothing visually dramatic. The concrete floors are poured for all the new construction areas (sun-room cellar, bump-out crawl-space, entryway crawl-space, garage). The sills for all the coming new construction are in place and bolted to the concrete foundations. They'll put the decking for the new spaces' floors down for the sun-room and bump-out, then start building the garage and entryway next. Power might be restored soon, so the webcam pictures should start flowing again then. Click on a thumbnail to see a slightly larger image...

View of the work area
Garage floor is poured
The carriage house door is off it's track
The new electrical service entrance is in place (meter is at the tree-line)

Bump-out crawlspace floor is poured

Sills are in place and bolted down


26 Oct.
Two weeks away created an expectation of visual changes, and we weren't disappointed! As usual, we came up on Thursday after work. It was dark when we arrived in the area so it was pointless to stop by the Ballot Box that night. Power had not been restored (it was by the next day) but the water supply from the well would not be restored this weekend at all, so we wouldn't be staying at the BB this weekend... maybe next time up.

Progress is being made! Two first-floor garage bays have been rough-framed and the 2nd floor framing has been started. The 3rd bay/woodworking shop will have a different frame height because of the roof pitch, so that gets framed separately. Joists and sub-floor decking for the sun-room, the bump-out, and the entryway have been applied so you can really picture (with a little imagination) what the finished result will look like!Click on a thumbnail to see a slightly larger image...

Today's view of the work area
The bump-out sub-floor
Lynn gets to use the sun-room first!
     
Framing the garage 1
Framing the garage 2
Inside the sun-room cellar
     
The non-trivial retaining wall by the sun-room foundation
 
The view from the back yard
     


11 Nov.
Lynn's sister swung by the construction site on the way by today... BIG changes! The garage has it's full shape and most of the walls and roof are in place! Exciting!! Click on the thumbnail to see a slightly larger image...
 
View of the emerging garage!
 
     


17 Nov.
Up for the weekend, and first snow of the season! Drove up Thursday afternoon before the storm, woke up at the Ballot Box to a winter wonderland! Snowed lightly most of Friday, so the first pictures of this visit were taken Saturday morning! Met with the general contractor this afternoon; plan is to waterproof the garage roof, and build and close up the bump-out and sun-room before breaking through to the main house. It gets more and more exciting! Click on a thumbnail to see a slightly larger image...
The full construction site...
View of the stairs up to the quilt studio and the entrance to the garage from the house... through the future entrywaty!
View up the stairs to the quilt studio
   
View from inside the garage...
Panorama of the front of the future quilt studio from the back...
Panorama of the future quilt studio from the front (stairs are on the left). No, the ceiling joists are not curved, stitching the 3 photos into 1 creates that illusion.
Another view of the inside of the garage...
     
Another view of the inside of the garage...
The GC repurposed the stairs I built for the entry deck to let us get into the house easily... Brilliant!


08 Dec
Another two-week gap between photo updates! We stayed in Brunswick at Lynn's sister's place for the weekend. Lynn drove up Wednesday morning by herself, and I came up on the Amtrak DownEaster™ Thursday after work. and telecommuted Friday. Again, lots of progress in those two weeks... all the separate parts are framed and outer-walled, and all except the bump-out has a roof, and that will be done soon! It's really shaping up now! Click on a thumbnail to see a slightly larger image...
The requisite long view from across the front lawn show the entire project:
From Friday afternoon, Lynn with our two framers, Stuart (L) and Danny(R):
The house-side of the project. The sunroom is framed, roofed, and paneled. The bump-out is framed and paneled, awaiting a roof.
     
The inside of the sunroom, with the makings of a cathedral ceiling
The entryway is framed, roofed, and paneled, with a front-porch-like platform
The view out the not-long-for-this-world front window, with the bump-out in front of it.
     
The view of the sunroom as seen from the lot-long-for-this-world dining area side window.
The back of the entryway and garage as seen from the back deck.
The sunroom and cellar below, as seen from the back yard.
   
The entire back view, from two stitched side-by-side photos
The construction site as seen from the other side of the driveway.



22 Dec
And another two-week gap between photo updates (almost)! We came up Friday, leaving a bit after noon, and hit a typhoon on Route 1 above Bath. We got to the house and the typhoon had knocked out power, so we booked a room at the Cod Cove Inn just above Wiscasset for the night. Power was back on next morning, so we headed back north to start packing up the downstairs in preparation for breaking through the old walls and into the new areas.  Visual changes are more subtle now that the new parts of the structure have been framed and walled on the outside.  They roofed the entire bump-out (which required the removal of the dormer windows since the roof connection extended a little higher than the bottom sills of the existing windows), and started the installation of the white roofline fascia and under-eave soffit. Click on a thumbnail to see a slightly larger image...
The requisite long view from across the front lawn shows the entire project:
A close-up of the white roofline fascia and under-eave soffit:
Longer view showing fascia and soffit and the plugged-up former dormer windows:



11 Jan
Yet another 2-week gap between updates (see a pattern?). We drove up Thursday night, staying with family in Brunswick, and drove the rest of the way up to the Ballot Box Friday morning. The propane tank had to be moved closer to the garage so it could be filled (too much new construction in the way to allow the propane truck driver to drag the hose from the driveway all the way to the old tank location under the deck in back), so the house heat was off for a week or more, which meant the water had to be shut off and the toilet tanks emptied and plumbing traps anti-freezed while the heat was off.  Tank is in the new location behind the garage now and got filled Friday afternoon, so the heat is back on. Visual progress is more subtle still; most of the new roofs have been shingled except for the bumpout, which needs to have the old single-window dormers in the front replaced by new wider but higher double-window dormers, which has begun! By the end of work Friday afternoon the right-hand dormer was gone and the remaining gaping hole buttoned up for the weekend.  Click on a thumbnail to see a slightly larger image...
Stitched composite of the entire construction site from the west side of the front lawn...
Nicely-shingled west-side garage roof, with an eclectic coat rack in view...
     
Working on removing the skylight and narrow dormer...
The east side of the shingled garage roof with roof-jacks still in place to facilitate siding installation. Propane tank is just behind the garage, around the corner...
By late Friday afternoon the right dormer was gone!



20 Jan
Lynn's sister Jan stopped by the house on the way by Thursday and snapped a status picture for us. New dormers are built (double-wide for two windows each) and the openings were boarded or covered up in preparation for the weekend snowstorm... (click on the thumbnail to see a slightly larger image):



6 Feb
A bit longer gap between visits (19 days) than before, and a lot has been accomplished visually. Front dormers are done, most windows are installed, new roofs and the front of the old roof has been shingled (back dormer will be rebuilt soon so makes no sense to shingle the back roof yet). Waiting on entryway doors and garage doors. Here are some pictures showing the visual progress so far (as always, click on a thumbnail to see a slightly larger image);
View of the entire front, with roofing and windows in place ...
The main house a little closer ...
The quilt studio windows (double-front, triple side dormer, double back) are in - LOTS of natural light...
Closer view of the front dormers on the main house...
The sunroom windows are in (looking through the open window from the living room which will be removed once the wall gets opened from the living room ...
Inside view of the dormer in my new office (formerly Lynn's quilt-room and occasional guest-room) ...



14 Feb
Happy Valentine's Day! Up again the next week to further refine electrical decisions and describe to the GC what we don't like about the newly-installed kitchen and laundry-room windows in the first-floor front (too much white vinyl, not enough clear glass). They will be replaced. We looked at LED ceiling lights at a lighting showroom in Portland on the way up, and finished specifying lights and outlets in the new areas (kitchen, quilt studio, garage/workshop). Also took photos of the new composite siding; siding installation finished on the east side of the garage and being worked on on the back (north) side of the garage... (as always, click on a thumbnail to see a slightly larger image);
The east side of the garage showing the new composite siding installed...
Closeup of the workshop window and siding and trim...
Closeup of the siding...
North (back) side of garage with composite siding installation in progress...



25 Feb
Up again (Sun-Tue) to see the first coat of paint on the exterior doors (not quite right, color needs adjusting) and to talk with the GC about kitchen layouts and options and flooring. Old upper kitchen cabinets have been removed and stored in the sun room for use in the quilt studio, and the support structures for the old front wall (to be removed) and the west wall (getting a pocket French door entry into the sun room) got exposed to begin the new wall support design and construction. Also discussed new kitchen layout with the GC... (as always, click on a thumbnail to see a slightly larger image);
The west side of the sunroom showing the new composite siding installed...
Closeup of how the composite siding gets installed...
Closeup of the now-exposed west wall to help the GC figure out how to support the wall across the expanse of the pocket French Doors into the new sunroom...
The old front wall (to be removed) with beams and support exposed to allow the GC to figure out how to brace the existing beams before removing the entire wall... Close-up of the exposed west wall witha VERY old support beam from the original 1860s structure... The GC and Lynn working out kitchen details...



09 Mar
Another 2-week gap again between visits, this time up on Saturday, planning on staying 'til Tuesday. Big changes on the outside are that the replacement kitchen and laundryroom windows and the dining-room window (the bump-out on the bump-out) are in place, the two entryway doors have been painted (yellow) and installed, and more siding has been installed in spite of the spate of bad weather these past few weeks. But INSIDE... WHOAH!! They broke through and removed the walls into the kitchen-dining area AND the sun-room. The interior looks HUGE!!! (as always, click on a thumbnail to see a slightly larger image);

The front of the house, showing the new windows across the front and the two new yellow entry doors...

The customary long-shot from the front yard showing the whole house...

Lynn and her sister Jan standing in the kitchen area, shot from the new bump-out...

Shot from the new yellow sunroom entry door, looking into the living room...

Lynn and her sister Jan standing in the kitchen area, shot from the base of the stairs......

A better view of the window bump-out on the house bump-out...




14 Mar
Happy Pi Day!! (you know, Pi Day... 3/14... 3.14(159)...ϖ... Anyway, we got an email from the garage door installer through the general contractor, the garage doors are installed!! And they look great!! (as always, click on a thumbnail to see a slightly larger image);

 

The new garage doors! Compare with the full house photo in the previous set of photos ...

 

     
     



29 Mar
Split duties this trip. Lynn drove north to talk kitchens/cabinets/appliances with the general contractor and the kitchen designer while I stayed south to enjoy the experience of a crown anchor placement surgery in my upper jaw (phase 1 on the 25th... phase 2 in late June... dental insurance in retirement sucks). Lots of changes inside, while the exterior siding installation slows down because of the snow and rain. The stairway to the second floor is being rebuilt... a little wider and a more accommodating rise/run on the treads. The sunroom is just about ready to be sheetrocked, the back livingroom wall is getting some changes, a new window at the top of the stairs, window replacements in the upstairs rooms, siding continues to get installed, and the quilt studio is getting sheetrocked! (as always, click on a thumbnail to see a slightly larger image);

The doorway to the cellar has been removed to facilitate the reconstruction of the stairs above to the 2nd floor... a bit disconcerting until they get fully enclosed...
Another view of the exposed underbelly of the stairs...
The sunroom is all wired and insulated and ready for sheetrock...
The back (north) wall is getting modifications... a new window, and the patio door will be upgraded and moved a bit to the right...
There's a new window at the TOP of the stairs, to compensate for the loss of the skylight...
The two remaining windows on the west side of the house (one in the master bedroom, one in the former quilt room/future office) also get replaced...
The new livingroom window, as seen from the deck...
The back of the new garage is now sided...
The new quilt studio above the garage is insulated and getting sheetrocked...
     
     



12-Apr
A mid-week run up north to consult with: the electrician on kitchen electrical issues, the GC who will be building a custom-made kitchen island for us, the HVAC guru for heat-pump and Rinnai placement, and to finalize (and sign on the dotted line for) the kitchen cabinet order. Remaining to be decided are the type and look of the kitchen countertops, decisions on kitchen major appliances, what flooring to put down in all areas, and more interior lights and ceiling fans need to be picked out. Interior work progresses in earnest, but the 1 May target finish date will clearly need to be slipped... Sigh! (as always, click on a thumbnail to see a slightly larger image);

Exterior front of the house is pretty much done (except for a lawn and landscaping - the front yard is a mudhole). Siding and trim is done everywhere except the back of the original house which still has some exterior construction to be completed (see last photo in this set), all doors and windows are installed, garage doors, entry doors (yellow) and tool-shed double doors on the garage (wide enough for an existing snowblower and future lawn tractor) are hung.
 
Lynn, Robert the electrician, Ron the GC, and Danny the master carpenter in the front bumpout that will be the future kitchen, going over light and outlet placement.
The pile of "stuff" (old stove, old refrigerator, kitchen table and chairs, packed up dishes and glasses and pots and pans, a couch, a Morris rocking chair, boxed-up stereo equipment, etc.) that was in the living room area, soon to be relocated to the quilt studio area so the living space area can be "finished."
The sunroom, sheetrocked and partially taped and mudded, awaiting ceiling lights and fan. We're going to be spending a lot of our time in this room...
     
The quilt studio, sheetrocked and partially taped and mudded, awaiting ceiling lights.
I had the electrician run an empty 1½ inch conduit from the basement up to my office on the 2nd floor for possible future technology insertion we might not yet know about. Pulling wires through a conduit is much easier than trying to snake cable behind in-place sheetrock!
The last remaining major exterior construction is is to replace the back "peak" dormer with an end-to-end shed dormer that will make the master bedroom much more livable. Note the new windows on the second flloor and halfway up the stairwell on the back.



07-May
Another trip north to check on progress... (as always, click on a thumbnail to see a slightly larger image);

A stitched panorama of the now-empty living room, as seen from the kitchen. The opening into the sunroom (awaiting pocket French sliding doors) is to the left, new slider door out onto the deck is in the center, and the bottom few steps of the stairway up to the second floor is to the right of the deck door.

The kitchen and bumpout with well-matched ceiling beams which were salvaged from the inside of the existing walls. Waiting for kitchen cabinets, appliances, and a custom-made island...

     

The sunroom has been painted, but the wrong color was used so it'll have to be repainted... it has a distinct green tinge now.

The quilt studio, with recessed "puck" lights installed and wired up! The bare bulb in the approximate center of the ceiling is where a ceiling fan will be, eventually.

Our front lawn is truly gone, replaced with a swamp quagmire with all the rain lately and the trucks driving over/through it!

     
     



24-May
We're up for the Memorial Day weekend, left Thursday morning around 11 to try to beat some of the holiday traffic, and it worked! Stayed the night at Lynn's sister's house in Brunswick and finished the last 28 miles Friday morning to observe progress and consult with the general contractor. The Sunday before Memorial Day has been a Maine lobster-feed party day at the Ballot Box for us for the past nine years, hosting Lynn's side of the family as a kickoff to summer in the Great State of Maine, so we always hoped our tenth party would also be a house-warming for the reconstruction, but the 2-month delay right at the start made that target pretty much unreachable. Maybe 4th of July. Anyway, the last outside modification (the back dormer) is well underway (see photos below), and the wallboarding is almost all finished, and the new interior paint color is delightful, and a lot of the windows have inside sills and trim. Most major decisions (kitchen cabinets, appliances, paint colors, flooring, light fixtures, etc.) have been made, and it's all coming together. We'll host our Memorial Day party at a local restaurant tomorrow, and reconvene at the construction site for an early viewing of the progress so far!! (as always, click on a thumbnail to see a slightly larger image);

The dining room windows sport (as yet unpainted) trim and sills. The sills are extra wide to accomodate potted plants and things.

Lynn and the Ron the GC and cabinet-maker stand in the kitchen discussing where the custom island will be in relation to the stock cabinets.

The railing for the main stairway (and the quilt studio stairway, though no pictures this trip) has been installed to let the elderly and decrepit homeowners navigate the construction site levels safely. No, we're not having a purple wainscoat, that's insulation. ..

     

The new master bedroom dormer, as seen from the inside.

The master bedroon dormer from the far side of the room. The new dormer has been roughed in but the old dormer is still mostly in place, so it looks cramped.

The house used to have a fireplace before it was moved and we bought it ten years ago. I covered the hearth over witha sheet of plywood, cut jigsaw puzzle style to fit the irrecular gap in the oak flooring, then threw a rug over it. Real oak flooring will be taking it's place so it's being leveld with epoxy.

The new back dormer under construction, as seen from the back yard.   The fill back view of the house, as seen from the far corner of the leach field. The propane tank (to run the Rinnai heaters in the woodworking shop and the basement, and the generator) will be relocated around the side of the garage to the left.



07-June
Big news!! The kitchen cabinets have been delivered and installed!! The GC sent us a picture (converted to two pictures with a little PhotoShopping). It looks like a kitchen now instead of a dancehall!! There is a slight cockup in that the tall middle glass door cabinet (small one over the fridge-slot, small one over the stove-slot, and a tall one between them) was supposed to go on the far right over the lower cabinet that looks free-standing all by itself (the gap is where the dishwasher goes), but the GC says the sizes don't work that way - the gaps for the stove and fridge will be too small. Looks like the cabinet company or the cabinet orderer screwed up. We'll have to decide if it's a big enough gaffe to wait another ?? weeks for the replacements. Big-Three appliances (fridge, stove, dishwasher) get delivered next week, and we'll be back up the end of next week to see it all in person!! (as always, click on a thumbnail to see a slightly larger image)

Long shot of the kitchen area with cabinets installed...

 

Closer view of the cabinets. The apparent dark floor-to-ceiling vertical streak on the far right cabinets is the shadow of the support beam from the work light on the far left. ..

Copyright 1973-2019 by Eugene F. Vogt. All rights reserved. Last modified 07-Jun-2019 8:33 AM ET. Send questions or comments to the Family TreeHouse WebMeister. View our Privacy Policy.