Every place I've ever lived has been designed for that "average American family," with lots of bedrooms, living room, dining room, family room, etc. The problem was that I was a single person, not an average family. I needed space, but for hobbies, not people. And because I'm over 6'2", bending over to use sinks designed for children was a constant frustration. Over the years, I collected a list of things I would change if I could have my dream house. As I approached retirement, I realized time was running out for that house; it was now or never.

Dreams are not always perfect, however. I could never afford my dream house, a spacious Southern California home overlooking the Pacific Ocean. But I could afford a modest ranch house, with a 20-mile drive to the beach. It was a very long way from perfect, but it had potential.

This blog documents the process of turning that small average house into something that matches my lifestyle. It will be as close to my dream house as I can make it. I'm doing all the work myself to stretch my resources. By not hiring contractors, I can afford high quality materials, and I'll know the job is always done right. The remodeling will be my primary avocation for a few years, even as I try to fit in my writing and other hobbies.

It promises to be an interesting journey, and a challenging one!

Sunday, May 25, 2014

My Writing Blog Becomes Mostly a House Remodeling Blog

I moved to Southern California from the East Coast almost a year ago, buying a small house (about 1400 square feet) on a third of an acre north of San Diego.  It's not on the coast; it's a 20-mile drive to get to the ocean.  I guess about the same distance heading east to get into the mountains.

The house was a foreclosure, but bought after the period when such houses could be had for pennies on the dollar.  Banks decided they could flip their real estate as easily as anyone else, so they spruced up this house and advertised at market value.  Even though the repairs were lipstick on a pig, demand drove the price up, but I persisted.  Why?  Great potential.  The house was in a decent neighborhood and had a decent size lot; closer to the ocean, lots are barely bigger than the house.  It also had what I called "big sky," on high ground in a town that was about 900 feet above sea level.  After living in well-treed East Coast neighborhoods where you could only see blue looking straight up, the atmospheric views here were amazing to behold.  The dry crystal-clear air gives you blue right down to the horizon; I can't see the Pacific, but I can see puffy clouds that are out over the ocean.

The house was a mess, but I could fix it, change it, make it my own.  But oh my goodness, it's going to take years!

When I moved in, I had my ideas about what I needed/wanted to do.  But most all of that has changed.  The longer I lived in the house, the more my ideas evolved.  The design progressed and changed, for the better.  I plan to live here for the rest of my life, so I'm not trying to make it marketable for the average home buyer.

Here are a couple of floor plans to finish out this post—a before and an after (I will explain in future posts).  Haven't gotten to the after quite yet, but working on it.  That's what this blog will be about henceforth (as well as progress on my novels).  Thanks for coming along for the ride!

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