Last I left off, we had just started to see the walls going up on the construction. So, the past 2 months have been super busy. Some days we would see so much progress and then it would be quiet for a few days. That is very typical for construction. Sometimes you’re waiting on inspections, or supplies or availability of the workers. So many homeowners are remodeling and adding structures that all of those are in short supply. We’ve been busy picking out tile, grout, hardware, flooring lights, curtains and oh my goodness it seems like a never ending list. I have loved designing this project, but I will be so happy once it is DONE!!
So, here’s what’s been happening:
- Exterior walls going up
- Roof built
- Interior sound proof wall (this is the shared wall with our home)
- Interior wall framing
- Plumbing/connection to main sewer line
- Roof Completed
- Windows installed
- Stucco prepped and applied
- Drywall Installed
- Floor Installed
- Finished drywall/mudding main house bathrooms
- Bathroom tile completed
- Closet Built
- Cabinets installed
- Counters Installed
The past 6 weeks have definitely been more time consuming – especially with all of the decisions we’ve had to make. Quick trips to Lowe’s for medicine cabinets, Dunn Edwards for paint samples, early morning calls to pick a stucco color, etc. For tile and flooring, we ended up at Floor & Decor. Choosing bathroom tile that is classic, modern and not “too busy” was a challenge, but my ever patient husband was up to the task. Flooring was chosen on a different day which was a whole other battle, between “is it too grey?” and “what’s our budget for this?” it took us a bit longer than expected. We went with a luxury vinyl for it’s water proof qualities and cost. When it was finally installed it was the wrong one! It has since been corrected, but I will address this in another post. All in all we are finally getting close to the finish line. Next week, I’ll talk about some issues we ran into as well as our experiences on the inside of the main house.
In the meantime. Enjoy the slide show of the past 2 months!
WOW – the summer has just flown by! We’ve been busy with construction and real estate and I haven’t had a chance to update everything. The big news is that WE STARTED CONSTRUCTION! After interview several contractors we finally found the perfect fit! Their name is Fast Track Builders and Luis Huanca is our contractor. He is the best!! Let’s bring you up to speed:
July 21/22 – gas meter get moved to it’s new home, also submitted our RTI (ready to issue) plans to the City of Los Angeles for our actual permits. The permit process is a bit more complex due to Covid. So hopefully we’ll get it soon
July 27 – demolition & excavation begins for the new foundation – since our existing home is on a raised foundation and the access to that is where we are building we had decided to also do a raised foundation for the addition. The are additional costs with that (excavation and more stops for inspection).
August 5/6th – Permits are paid for on the 5th and ready to be picked up on the 6th – So excited!! Just a little over 2 weeks.
August 10th – our first inspection for the forms/rebar for the foundation and WE PASS!!
August 12th – concrete is poured and we need to wait a couple of days for it to set
August 14th – remove all the forms and we’re moving toward framing the floor
August 18 – framing for the floor begins – starting to see real progress, including all the under house plumbing – PASS another inspection
August 24 – Insulation for the floor is completed (who knew you needed insulation, although it makes sense?)
August 25 – PASS ANOTHER Inspection (see what I mean about a lot more stops for inspection?) They begin the plywood for the floor 🙂
August 28 – Next inspection PASSED!! We can finally start building UP! They’ve removed the outside stucco where the walls will meet with the house. They’ve also removed 2 windows. One is for the teenlet’s room and the other is our master bathroom. The third window removed will be next week. Don’t worry – no gaping holes into the house – come on its 100 outside who wants all that coming in the house?? They’ve put in drywall and taped it up, just until they come back and plaster the inside to fix the interior.
August 29 – They’ve started on the walls – woohoo!!!
whew – it’s been a super busy month. Couple of things you might be asking – why are you losing windows and what changes have you made to accommodate that? 1st window being lost is in our daughter’s room. She’ll still have a large window (so all up to code) AND she gets to repaint and redo her bedroom….she’s thrilled 🙂 2nd & 3rd windows being lost are in the hall and master bathrooms. In both bathrooms we will be adding moisture sensing fans as well as “solar tubes”. These are similar to skylights but they’re a tube. Here’s a link for a much better explanation and pictures.
So that’s all for now everyone. Lots of changes and updates in just a short 5 weeks. I don’t want to jinks our progress, so I’m just going to end this with hope that things continue to go well and I promise to be better on my updates. In the meantime. Enjoy the slide show of the past month!
Ok, so we are moving along…..sort of. We’ve had the gas company out here to begin the process of moving the meter. That was actually less hassle than I thought. Within a week, I heard from the field tech (called on a Saturday) and then by Friday of the next week, we were meeting. I now have a contract proposal that I need to sign and pay for at the gas company. Once that is done, we can schedule the work (in conjunction with my plumber) and we’ll be good to go. In the meantime we need to finally hire a contractor and set everything else in motion. Hiring a contractor if definitely one of the biggest decisions we’ll make. This is the person I will be working with and communicating with for 2-3 months. The first part of the choosing a contractor is to get multiple bids. Price is important, but you also want to meet with them and determine if our personalities mix well. Anyone who know me, knows that I am a detailed and task oriented person. If you say that it will be done by a certain time, or that you will email m3 by a certain date, I expect you to do so or to at least explain why you can’t meet that deadline. So, although I had met with several contractors in the fall. I’m now in the final states of getting real bids on the project so that I can be sure I’m paying the right price as well as working with someone I can communicate with well.
While all of this is moving forward. We also decided to take care of the landscape removal that would need to occur for the construction. Hence, the question – “Why am I so back at the “before” picture?” This is definitely not the first project we have tackled in our 17 years of home ownership, yet I’m notorious for forgetting to get the before picture. So, here are a few images of our side yard and front of the house, so you can see the “during” and “after”. This landscaping has been here since before we purchased this home in 2009, so it was well established. The yard definitely has the feel of being much bigger once you take out all the shrubs and trees! At lease we’re saving on watering this summer, since all of this will be demo’d once construction begins.
Here I am on a Friday morning in May, while still under our “safer at home” orders, about to embark on an adventure in remodeling. In the fall we made the decision to add an ADU to our home. You may be asking, an AD what?? An ADU is an Accessory Dwelling Unit. These are what you may have called a “granny flat” or “guest house”. They can be either a garage conversion, an addition to an existing single family home, or a separate building on the property of a single family home. Updates to California state laws in 2017 has loosened up regulations regarding the additions/conversions. They have now even begun to allow a second unit to be built as well. Those are called Junior ADUs. Like many things when dealing with the city and city ordinances, there are many rules and regulations. I won’t get into too many specifics, but here is link that explains things in better detail. As always, check with building and safety for current building codes. ADU’s are a great option for additional family members or as additional income (from rent) for the
For us, this all started back in the summer 2019 when my mother moved in with my family. She is a young and vibrant “boomer” and we all agreed that adding an addition for her to have her own area would work well. After meeting with several contractors and designers we decided to add an attached ADU to the side of our home. There will not be direct access from the main house, but we will have a shared wall. It will be a 400 sq.ft. studio, with her own entrance. We had decided against a garage conversion for several reasons: where would we store all of “stuff”, I actually park my car in there and most important – we would lose the beer fridge!
Here’s a brief timeline of how we got to where we are today:
- Fall 2019 – met with 6 contractors/designers to get ideas on cost and options. We also needed to have our property surveyed to locate any easements, property lines, etc. So we hired a licensed land surveying company – Iacobellis & Associates. Yep, that’s my husbands business, sometimes it’s good to know people 😉
- December 2019 – We hired our architect, ASA Design & Engineering, and they began drawing up plans. We reviewed their plans, made adjustments and proceeded to formalize our submission to Building & Safety.
- January 2020 – On Jan 8th, our architect submitted plans to the Los Angeles Building & Safety Department. We paid our submittal fee and now the waiting game begins.
- February 2020 – Almost 4 weeks at Building and Safety and we begin to see progress on our submission. It is reviewed (2/11) and assigned to a plan check supervisor (2/20) woohoo, progress!
- March 2020 – Our architect begins the process of corrections issued by plan check, including paying a couple more fees to the city. These corrections can be minor or major depending on what departments they need to clear the construction. Thank goodness our are minor!
- March 22 2020 – BOOM! Our world as we know it changes – COVID 19 is here and we are now under stay at home orders! We were so close to the end of the process with the city, but all is not lost. Building & Safety is still open, with many modifications, but we are able to proceed to getting our permit, although it may take longer.
- May 2020 – fast forward 2 months and we finally get our RTI on Thursday, May 14th. Ok, so I had to look up RTI – it means Ready To Issue. This means, either my contractor or myself will need to take the final approved plans to the permit department and pay the final fees to the City of Los Angeles and we are good to start!
But wait…..there’s more!
So we meet with our contractor to walk the property again, so he can give a formal bid to complete the job. We go over things, including that we will need to move our gas meter about 12 feet closer to the front of the house. We learn that only the gas company can do it and this can now take a couple of months. Lesson of the day – if you need to move a gas meter for construction start that asap. Called SoCalGas on Thursday, May 14th, to request a field rep to call me back – in 7-10 business days. So our waiting game begins again. In the meantime, we’ll be removing landscape with our gardner and prepping the area.
I’ll keep you posted with pictures and info on my next post! In the meantime I hope to hear from you if you have any comments!
#ADU #ADULosAngeles #ADUNorthridge #architects #landsurveyor #homeproject