Thanks everyone for the kind comments.. nobody has yet [other than myself] questioned my sanity.
I'll try to answer a few questions and fill in a few blanks..
One of the reasons for this project is that as I'm getting older, the desire and ablility to do this much work is decreasing rapidly. So I figured I needed to tackle this project now, so I could enjoy the house in the years to come, instead of wishing I had done the project, and having to live with the compromises the old place forced on me.
I also was concerned with eventually selling the place.. Only another idiot, with super-duper 'rose colored glasses' [ like me] would consider buying this place in it's previous condition. Any house inspector would take one look, start laughing, then start screaming and running away. The old place was such a mess!!
But now, this is an 1850's looking farmhouse, with a real master suite, two-story foyer, high-end kitchen, superior heating and insulation, and low maintenance exterior. So it should appeal to a much larger group of potential buyers.. when the time comes that it goes on the market.. Probably not for 20+ years.
The current costs were another reason for tackling the job, with the economy in Michigan the worst in the country, the building tradesmen are lined up around the block, looking for work, at just about any price. The prices of lumber are about 1/2 of 4 years ago. Interest rates at all time lows.
In 1999, I priced out this job, reusing old appliances, inexpensive floor coverings, baseboard heat. Reusing many doors and windows. The estimates came back at about $160-180K. In 2005 I priced it out again, and the estimates were around $250K..
At this time, I should get done with about $150K spent. This includes High-end appliances, granite countertops, high-end flooring, in floor heat, high end windows and doors. A huge savings.
Just to put this all in perspective, the entire wood package, deck, walls, roof trusses, porch, breezway cost roughly $13,500. that's less than half of the estimate in 2005.
I'm the general contractor, I farmed out the basement, I ran the excavators some, I've driven a lot of nails, worn out a lot of cordless batteries and sweated a lot on this job. I can do it all, I've built a lot of houses. BUT, with plenty of available labor at very reasonable prices.. I've farmed out most of the large jobs. The speed of the project attests to this, so far August 28th to roughly November 24th.. Three months, and it's enclosed, heated, and soon to be wired , partially insulated and drywalled.
Take care everyone, Have a great Thanksgiving with your families.