Many of you have probably heard that Solomon Law Group will be moving our main office to a new location at 3501 Main Street in Columbia later this month. We are all very excited about the move, and I wanted to share a bit about the growth process.
I have always wanted to have an office in an older, converted home. So many of these old houses have a unique feel and character that you don’t typically see in newer construction. I had found an older home in need of repair that was coming up for auction in July of this year. I was intrigued by the house, which is located not too far from where I grew up. I didn’t necessarily plan to buy the house, but attended the auction anyway. Thirty minutes later, I was the proud owner of the property. You may not know this, but usually when properties are auctioned like this, potential buyers don’t get to inspect the home; it is sold “as-is.” While I knew the house needed work, I didn’t know exactly how much of a “fixer-upper” I had purchased until the renovations started.
We believe construction started on the original house in 1911, and it was deeded in 1913. When the 4,000 square foot house was built, all heating and cooking were done with wood, and windows allowed light and air in. There were 8 fireplaces in the house and 34 windows, almost all 6’ tall and of varying widths. The interior doors were as solid as most exterior doors you find today. As some of the interior walls were removed and repairs began, I was fascinated by the construction techniques that were used initially and for renovations over the years.
Unfortunately, opening up the walls and looking more closely at the foundation quickly resulted in the discovery of incredible termite damage. Work stopped when the damage to the wood was found, and we had to bring in a structural engineer to make recommendations. We also involved a civil engineer and an architect. We ended up having to replace the footings and a good portion of the wood structure of the house, delaying the project and pushing costs up. At one point I joked that we should put in glass floors so everyone could see where all the renovation money was spent!
One of the things I did not know (but now do) is that when the house was built, wood beams labeled 2×4’s or 1×6’s were truly that size. They are not anymore. That means you can’t buy replacements at your local Home Depot or Lowe’s, as over the years the sizes have changed and become smaller. This discovery led me to a man whose family has been in the sawmill business for more than three generations. He was able to provide the wood we needed for the renovations.
The renovations are close to being finished now, with sheet rock, fixtures, paint and flooring in process. For safety reasons, there were weeks where I could only see the progress while looking in the windows; now I am able to see how close we are to move-in ready. Someone asked me recently if, knowing what I know now, I would still buy the house. The answer is yes. While we did budget 25% extra for contingencies, the budget still ran over. That said, this has been a labor of love and I would do it again.
I would like to reassure our clients that the new office is easy to get to. It is two blocks from 277 and three blocks from Richmond Memorial Hospital. It is in a redeveloping part of town, and we expect to see lots of good things happening in the area. We hope to move in before Christmas or at the latest before the new year. If you have any concerns or questions about the move, please feel free to call our office so we can address them. We look forward to continuing to serve you.