Fall Plans

So, I was so tired last night after all of the work we did over the weekend that I forgot to post what’s happening next at Zeiss Lofts.


Trim that will have to be removed (and then replaced) to make way for electric and plumbing lines.

This week we’ll have asbestos removal. I drove by the building this morning, and the crew was already there and working. There’s very little asbestos to remove, luckily. Next week they’ll be removing all of the lead paint.

After that, demolition officially begins! Hopefully we’ll soon have our final plans in hand from the architect. Walls will be exposed to the studs, trim removed where we need to run electrical lines, rip out all of the nasty old carpet, the ceiling will be exposed, and the floor needs to be carefully taken up so we can run plumbing and electrical lines.

To save money, we’ll be doing all of the demolition ourselves. And hopefully those of you who have offered to help can come do so. I’ll be posting work weekends as soon as we finalize a few more details. Demolition will likely continue thru January at least.

Stay tuned! Next post in about two weeks, hopefully with pictures post lead-paint removal!



I don’t want to jinx it, but I’m so excited: after receiving several offers on our house, yesterday we picked one! We are elated! If all goes well, we will close in early June, allowing our eldest to finish his school year at his current school.

We’ve also found a lovely townhouse to rent in Brenham while we do our renovations on the Zeiss Building. It just happens to be a short walk from the Zeiss Building, making it very easy for us to access it when we need to. Plus, it has space for us to house guests – those of our family and friends who said they wish to help with renovations will have a free place to stay! Yay!

And lastly, we submitted our project to a list of architects in the Brenham area, and have already received some responses. Once we settle on an architect, and have a price estimate on construction costs, we’ll be able to apply for our construction loan. First order of business will be to hire professionals to remove the lead paint and asbestos. Then, we (and hopefully friends and family) will do most, if not all, of the deconstruction.

So, between now and the middle of June, we’ll be busy packing, cleaning, and unpacking.

Polite “No”

So, as you all know, we’ve been attempting to see if any DIY shows wish to document our unique renovation. Up until today, we felt like we were blindly throwing our project into the ether. Our most recent submission was to a favorite show of ours, Grand Designs, which shows on BBC. We got hooked on it when we lived overseas in Switzerland (admittedly, our choices of English-language television were slim, but we sought out the show when we could). We’d started watching it again recently using our Roku device. Basically, the host, a licensed architect, follows a project for years, and it is always something completely unusual, like ruins of a castle, or someone turning an old chapel into a home. And it always is a monumental renovation. Sounds a bit familiar, right? A few days ago I submitted an email with all of our project information, photos, etc. We really are a perfect fit for the format of the show. Except for one key thing – we’re not in the UK. But, it was worth a shot. This morning I received a very nice email from a representative for the show confirming that they have no plans to film in the US at this time. But it was a personal reply! From a real person! A first! None of the other shows we have submitted our project to have sent us anything more than an automatic reply thanking us for our submission. I’m not sure if I should just keep resubmitting our project until we get a personal response or what. If you have thoughts on that, please leave them in the comments. In other news, we’ve begun the final push to get things ready for putting our house here in Conroe on the market. We decided to spend our spring break at home, working on the interior and exterior. Other than our eldest’s birthday on Saint Paddy’s Day, we have no plans. With any luck in another week or two, we’ll have a sign out front. Our hope is to find a buyer that will allow us to remain in the house until the end of the school year. However, if the perfect buyer comes along (i.e. one that wants to pay full price), we’ll figure something out. The more money we make on the house sale, the better construction loan we’ll be able to get, which will of course, make it easier for our renovation plans. So, send us all of your good mojo for selling our house! Hopefully my next update will be titled “Sold!”

First Hit to the Wallet

So, in order to add to the down-payment for the Zeiss building, we pulled a hefty amount from our savings and retirement. Anywho, today we started our taxes, and it is pretty grim, like five-figure grim. We were expecting a hit, however, and still have two months worth of rent checks coming in from our business renters before our taxes are due to make up the difference between what we owe, and what we had already set aside. Next year’s taxes won’t be so bad, and the year after that we should really be ahead, assuming we are able to build and fill all three of the upper level apartments.

This Saturday we are making a trek out to Brenham to drop another load of our things into storage, and to show a friend of ours the building. If you want to help us load or unload and get a tour of the building, drop me a line. The weather is unfortunately looking ominous for our area and Brenham, so we’re not sure yet if we’ll be renting a truck or borrowing a pickup.