Looks like just pouring in more concrete is the best way to go for the sunken rooms. I guess we should tear out the bar cabinets, then, and possibly/probably turn it into a pantry instead. They're probably all disgusting and moldy under there anyway. I know the cabinet in the lowest corner has always smelled terrible. Then I'd just have to decide if I want to do 6" to take it up to one step down/still sunken, or the full 12" (8 yds vs 16 yds of concrete, I guess). I like the sunken aspect of the room in theory, as it works with the style of the home, but if I bring it all the way up to match the rest of the floors, then I could maybe also get rid of the hearth-brick half-wall constraining the dining room length, which would allow the dining table to be extended without the end-sitter risking falling over backward. My hearth would end up being a big weird 2-brick high thing (with or without the half-wall removal), though, which might also merit changing. I have no idea what's behind the brick, which is also potentially troublesome for the flood wettening issue. That bottom course of brick is still wet, even though the slab floor looks dry. Or maybe it's just stained? I haven't checked that closely.
Ugh. The $$$ keeps piling up when I start thinking like that. I saw one of those signs today: "Joel buys houses, any condition, with cash!" and I'm tempted. Might be worth taking a loss on the sale before spending tens of thousands on repairs (not even really remodeling to make the place nice!) and still not getting anything like that much delta in the sale price. *sigh* I've already put something insane like $60k into this house for roof, HVAC, windows, plumbing, hot water heater, pool fill-in, added attic insulation, coax and ethernet wiring, plumbing fixtures, drain repairs, attic-critter eviction, and foundation repairs, and none of that is sexy or attractive to average "beauty is skin-deep" buyers. And I need to get someone out to redo a bunch of the rotted eaves/soffits and repaint the siding and repitch/replace gutters one of these days too. After I get the attic critters reevicted. And relevel the foundation/add piers under the laundry and breakfast rooms, which have settled badly. And more. The county tax assessor thinks I could sell this place for $230k. They're on crack/haven't actually been here. I think I'd be lucky to get $200k in its current state. I bought it for $190k 12.5 years ago. =( This house is the definition of a money pit.
But anyway, on the topic of filling the living room with more concrete, there seem to be some good tips in this forum post
and this one