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115 years of history being brought back to life.
I"m Mike Britt and I build kitchens and bathrooms. I've been self employed for over 30 years with the last 13 being in the business of building for others.
I enjoy what I do and it shows. Please visit my other website to see a picture gallery of some of my work. Just click on the link to the left and it'll take you there.
I don't use voice mail so if you can't get me to answer the phone, just send me a text. I'll call you back just as soon as possible.
Mike Britt Construction
Hi, and welcome to a journey.
Follow us as we embark on a quest to rebuild a stately old home in the heart of Hartsville's historic district located across the street from the tall and majestic columns of Coker College, and just a couple of hundred yards from Sonoco Products Company's corporate headquarters.
In search of a gem.
Late one night in December of 2014, I was doing what I often do which is peruse the house listings in search of a project. I make my living building kitchens and bathrooms for other people but have been looking for just the right property to purchase as an investment. I had looked at 502 E. Home Ave. a year earlier but the price was beyond what I had available to spend so I never visited the home. That night in December when I ran across the house again, the price had dropped to where it was time to go take a look. I called my agent and we drove over.
Love at first sight?
From the moment I walked through the front door into the main hall, I knew I had to have this house. It has been added to at least three times including the addition of the second story but in it's current configuration, it appeared chopped up and congested. Luckily I've taken down enough walls to be able to see past the clutter and envision the possibilities of this monstrous old home. Upon inspection I discovered that the home had been stripped of almost all of the copper wiring by thieves and what little copper water pipes there were have been stolen. None of that mattered because I knew from the beginning that the electrical and plumbing systems needed a total replacement to meet modern code standards. It all had to be removed anyway. The thieves actually saved me a little time.
Fireplace? Without a chimney?
One of the first things I noticed was the absence of chimneys even though the house has several fireplaces. I later learned that Hurricane Hugo had been the culprit of the removal of the chimneys when it tore through in 1989. Thanks to the invention of vent-less gas fireplace systems, the chimneys will not be replaced and instead will be completely removed to facilitate bedroom closets.
Big bedrooms are the norm.
When completed the house will have 5 bedrooms and 3 1/2 baths. The master suite will come in at just under 700 square feet with an extremely large his/her walk in closet. The master bath will have what could easily be termed "an over-sized shower" with dual hand sprays, a rain shower head and is large enough for two to easily share without bumping into each other. A hot water on demand unit garauntees an endless supply so take as long as you like. Side by side lavatory sinks on a marble topped vanity will compliment the free standing soaking tub. This master closet will be the only one I've ever seen with a back door. A very convenient second entrance into the laundry room saving lots of steps on laundry day.
Parents need privacy, so the master is the only bedroom downstairs. The second floor will handle the rest of the family or guests. There are four bedrooms upstairs, the smallest of which is 14' x 16' having been down sized slightly to accommodate the addition of spacious closets. Two bathrooms, one with a nice walk in shower and the other with one of the original antique claw foot tubs that were in the house. Completely refinished.
A dream kitchen of course.
Yes.... the kitchen will no doubt be where the WOW factor comes from. Measuring 15' x 25', this ultra-modern kitchen may actually make cooking fun. Sub-Zero brand refrigerator and separate wine cooler with double refrigerated drawers will provide ample space for cool storage. The Bosch 800 series dishwasher is so quit it requires a laser shown on the floor just so you'll know you didn't forget to turn it on. An ice maker capable of producing 25 lbs of clear ice per day will come in handy for those dinner parties and family get togethers. The 36 inch six burner gas range top and the Wolf double oven with convection cooking will make preparing that large Thanksgiving dinner a breeze. The breakfast area with built in benches keep the family together for those quick meals and the separate but adjacent formal dining room will serve well for other times. Dry storage will be in a large 6' x 6' walk-in pantry.
How cool is that?
I was told that the house was built as a single story house and moved to it current location. As I began to deconstruct the back section of the house and peel back the layers of walls, floors, and ceilings I discovered that the house indeed was at one time a single story home with a detached kitchen. The roof was removed, the second floor was added and then the roof was replaced. The soffit was never removed and is still visible in the attic of the back addition. Inspection of the ridge beam and rafters in the attic space above the kitchen reveals obvious differences in the construction techniques proving that the kitchen was added to the house at a later time. Another of the additions to the house is a room used either for servant's quarters or maybe even for boarding. This room, which will become the master walk-in closet, had a chimney port for a wood burning stove and a small bathroom which will now be used for the laundry room.
As a result of the upper and lower levels of the house being built in different eras, there is a difference in the trim of each floor. The doors for instance are a horizontal six panel upstairs and a basic 2-1-2 panels down. Other differences include baseboard and crown molding. My first thought was to just replace the doors with new that were all alike but after giving it some thought I realized that those subtle nuances were as much a part of the history and charm of the house as the heart pine floors. They have to stay.
Some things just can't be saved.
As bad as I hate to admit it, some parts of the house are just too far gone to be able to be saved. Luckily, it's almost all on the outside. The windows have fallen into dreadful condition and there are few that could even possibly be considered for rehab, so all of the windows will be replaced with modern, high efficiency windows with all the bells an whistles of modern technology. Currently I am planning on replacing all of the lap siding with Hardie Plank which will assure that this lovely house will last for another 115 years. Also, the HVAC system including duct work will be completely wrecked out and replaced with a 95% efficient gas furnace downstairs and a separate unit installed in the attic for the upstairs.