Mill Creek Haunted Hollow: Halloween Galleries

From April of 2012 to October of 2013, I ripped my house apart, transforming it from a 1.5 story Cape Cod into a Victorian manor suitable for haunting. It's always been my dream and I got tried of building styrofoam facades, so I went ahead and built the real thing. Fueled by my love of Halloween, Victorian architecture, and carpentry, here is the story of our remodel.

For a more detailed view, or to read about the experience in detail, visit the remodel gallery or remodel blog:

Remodel timeline: 18 months

When completed: December 2013

Why we did this remodel: I wanted to live (and haunt) a Victorian manor - so I built one!

What we did: This was a complete rebuild of the front of the house, garage, and second floor. I took a 3 bedroom/2 bath and turned it into a 4 bedroom/3 bath with a home office and grand master suite. It included every aspect of building, from demolition, pouring new footings, framing, plumbing, electrical, sheathing, siding, insulation, drywall, tile, carpet, trim, etc.

The hardest part: I removed the existing roof too early in the process and rain flooded the front of the house. This forced me to replace the ceiling in the living room and the front bedroom. It added a lot of work to the main floor that I hadn't originally planned. It was also tricky sorting out where our four girls would sleep during certain portions of construction.

What we liked best: I love my home and the craftsmanship that went into it. I can look at my house and honestly say, "I built that with my own two hands." It's an incredibly satisfying feeling. Of course, I also look at the house and see all the other things I want to do. Trimming the dormers, adding finials to the towers, more fretwork, etc.

How we saved money: I saved money every place I could. First, I did all the work myself. No trades were paid (except the installation of new carpet). Also, on larger items, my wife and I went to local salvage businesses to search out the front doors, clawfoot tub, light fixtures, etc. All the detail work, such as the corbels, I build myself from shorts and extra lumber. I also tried to reuse as much lumber from the house as I could.

Other comments: This process took 18 months to complete due to delays from the County office, but I am proud of what I built. I'm still adding and changing things with molding, paint, fretwork, and other features. It will always be a "work in progress".