For long suffering home remodelers there comes that magical day when the building inspector arrives, pulls your plans from the PVC tube where they’ve been safely stored during the one or more seasons of your discontent, pulls out their trusty pen and signs off below the box marked “approved for occupation.”
And with that convoluted lead I’m pleased to say that biggest part of my remodel/addition project is now complete. So, I called “the boys” (nephews and such), and arranged for them to help unload the two storage pods that come back up the hill tomorrow morning.
The reopening of my house and move back into somewhat normal living spaces is something I’ve been awaiting a long time. There’s really no way to honestly say that living in your den for six months is a lot of fun. It’s definitely not something I’d recommend, ever.
So now all that’s left is to settle down in the new space, arrange furnishings I haven’t seen since December and then get Ma Forbes, packed up and ready to move into her new digs. That comes in two weeks and by then I hope to hav her house sold so I can close the last chapter of my family’s life in little Azusa, CA.
Now that it’s all done except for the moving in part, I can’t say it’s been fun. It’s not. It’s been a pain in the ass. But, the remodel simply makes my life a lot easier by eliminating the once or twice a week 200 mile round trip excursions I was making to Azusa to take Ma Forbes shopping and the like, and it helps me reat easier knowing that my90 year old mother is somewhere safe and not alone in a house opposite a freeway off ramp.
The really good news is that Ma Forbes now has a safe, new living space that’s designed around her needs. Also there were no unpleasant surprises during our remodel and finally it came in on budget and nearly on time.
I think the lack of problems we had can be traced back to two factors:
- We spent a lot of time during the front end planning process, thinking about what kind of living space my Mom wanted and what she wanted in her new digs. We plotted out the room using graph paper numerous times, going so far as t o create scale paper cut outs of her furniture and then encouraging her to arrange the planned space.
I also was very fortunate to have a fellow co-worker from Windows Magazine, Jonathan Blackwood, come calling with his partner, who is an architect. Jonathan and Dean spent a long time talking to us about handicapped accessibility and senior living requirements. That conversation is reflected throughout Ma Forbes’ new quarters, even though she still is very ambulatory.
- We made sure the contractor’s designer understood what we wanted and involved Ma Forbes in that process. We were also open to any suggestions the designer had and then made sure all the parties agreed to what was proposed.
- As a result of our planning there were no “While We’re at it” changes to any of our plans.
- At the end of every work day we made sure we knew what was on tap for the next day and most often reviewed progress with our site/job superintendent.
- As the project moved along, I periodically brought MaForbes down so that she would stay enthusiastically connected to the remodel addition. I’d also call her at the end of the day to give her progress reports.
- Our remodel took place just as contractors were being deluged with rebuilding homes lost in the Witch Creek Fire. Most of the contractors down here in north San Diego County have been absolutely slammed with work, but ours, Jackson Design and Remodeling, completed the job efficiently and on time.
- When I started the project I foolishly assumed that because I used the Internet for many of life’s transactions my contractor and local building department would too. Boy was I ever wrong. The Building trades and their corresponding municipal agencies very much run on inked signatures (although it’s commonplace to exchange .PDF documents. Someday building processes will come to the Internet, but it’s going to be a while before that happens.
And that’s it for my remodel. The first payoff for me is a long soak tonight in my new Jacuzzi bathtub back in the master bedroom suite. Ahhhhhhhhhhhh.—Jim Forbes 04/30/2008