We began to talk seriously about a home remodel almost a year ago. On the table was gutting our existing kitchen, an earthquake retrofit
, new flooring, and installation of a new HVAC system. After discussion with a contractor and a designer, my husband proposed a plan that, among other things, involved expanding the kitchen's tiny footprint by pushing out the exterior wall by 5 feet into the back patio. Perhaps that doesn't sound like that big a deal but we live within a designated open spaces hazard zone. In fact, the boundary of that zone runs diagonally through our house. Obviously, that designation didn't exist in 1951 when the house was built but we were aware of it in vague terms when we bought the house. The thing is, the city proposed pushing that boundary well beyond our property line in 2012, a couple of years after we bought the house. However, in 2018 when my husband paid the first of many visits to the city's planning office, he discovered that, while the proposed change "could" happen by the end of that year, it wasn't yet in place. Rather than wait and see, we went ahead with the city's required evaluation process. After a geological survey, securing approvals from parties including the local school board and the fire department, and outlays amounting to several thousand dollars, we finally got general approval to proceed last December. To date, the city still hasn't moved the hazard line.
Discussions with an architect, the contractor, the designer, a cabinetmaker, and construction specialists of all kinds followed. More approvals, including one from the Air Quality Management District, were required before, at the end of May, we finally got our construction permit. In the meantime, my husband had begun his own preparations, starting with construction of a temporary kitchen tacked on to the back of our house.
|By mid-April, he had the temporary kitchen framed out and partially walled in|
|The structure has been ready to move into since mid-May|
|Yes, it even has windows - with screens - and open cabinets. It's just missing the refrigerator, slop sink and kitchen equipment we won't move until the last minute.|
A week ago we started clearing areas for the construction workers, including both our patios.
|I don't have any good before photos of the back patio but we had a bench with a coffee table, a large dining table, and dozens of potted plants here|
|We had another set of table and chairs and more pots here on the side patio|
All that stuff had to go somewhere.
|Some of it's lined up along this path|
|But my husband piled most of it up in my cutting garden, with no attention to sun requirements. I spread the pots elsewhere throughout the garden, emptying quite a few of them for the duration of this project. Our chimnea, one rainwater tank, cement blocks and other paraphernalia are tucked around the citrus trees.|
|Even the rain gutters on the back of the house came down, temporarily stored on a hanging system my husband rigged up on the fence behind the garage. The disintegrating compost tumbler was dismantled and consigned to the trash.|
The driveway is now outfitted with a storage pod and matching port-a-potty.
|Some outdoor furniture got stored behind the port-a-potty|
A construction dumpster was delivered late yesterday afternoon.
And the long-awaited construction began today with the removal of the portion of the back patio necessary to create a footing for the kitchen extension.
|The pavers came out quickly|
|I don't know what we're going to do with the extra pavers. Only a small number will be relaid.|
|The digging has only just begun|
Our contractor estimates that it'll be 2 weeks yet until the kitchen wall comes down. The city requires that the depth of the new footing extends 2 feet below the existing foundation. As we're sitting on bedrock, that means a lot of digging and jackhammering before the concrete can be poured. It's going to be a long 4 to 6 months.
All material © 2012-2019 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party