what’s happening with your big renovation project?

September was supposed to be the month. The perfect month for breaking ground on our house project – plenty of time to get things closed up for winter. Our drawings were finished this spring – version 3.0 if you’re keeping track. Big changes, that took some getting used to, especially for me. But the energy was back at least. We left for a big trip for CA, and knew we were coming back to a busy summer of permitting and organizing and financing and maybe even some packing.

And then there was a moment that felt almost like fate. Another house, long admired, became available. We almost didn’t look, the timing was so off, our energy was elsewhere. But we did, and we both fell hard. All four of us did. I pictured a new scenario that wasn’t hard like permitting, organizing, ground-breaking hard. Still financing and packing hard – and in the end that’s what did it in. We weren’t ready enough here or secure enough there to brave the bridge between the two. June and July were hard, and draining.

We learned our long time neighbors were losing their house. They begin to move out as we began to tackle some of the big exterior projects on our house that we had put off for too long. We were trying to fall back in love with our own house again – to muster back up the enthusiasm we had lost along the way. It worked, but it was bittersweet in tandem with the loss felt by our neighbors.

We realized soon after they left that their leaving also meant that our project could not move forward as planned. All the variances we had secured and petitioned for in our conditional use hearing were now void. I spent several weeks towards the end of summer making phone calls between 8am-9am each morning, trying to track down the bank or entity that now owned the house. I have thirteen documented phone numbers in my ill-directed quest. I finally landed on a live person in Atlanta, a representative for the bank in Chicago in control of the house. I had a promise for newly signed variances from this group until they emailed me the Friday of Labor Day weekend to say that they had changed their mind. We were back to the beginning.

We are now in a state of limbo. We cannot obtain a building permit to start construction until we a. have notarized variances and a maintenance agreement from the owner of the house, or b. we appeal the rejection of our permit to the Board of Adjustment and cross our fingers they let us move forward without the signed permissions. The house sold (we think) in an online auction for foreclosures, but I can’t track down any information if an actual sale went through, so option a. is a bust for now. Option b. isn’t much better, as we’re not slated to appear for our appeal until December 11th – over three months from when I tried to get on the agenda. Now I call once a week for possible cancellations, and try to keep my Wednesday afternoons clear at work.

It’s frustrating and hard, and I try not to let it get me down. But time is speeding by these school days and weeks, and progress feels halting and slow and the end is really not in sight to me anymore.

Our dishwasher is completely dead, and we refuse to buy another one until we purchase a new one for the new kitchen. We hand wash dishes each night, and I cross my fingers in the suds that something’s going to eventually break in our favor here.

3 Responses to what’s happening with your big renovation project?

  1. oh, golly. this is a lot.
    so many views and angles here. so much at stake.
    good news: your epic repairs are complete and beautiful.
    hope things progress as they are meant to. hang in there.

    • Thank you! We’ll get there, eventually. You know I like to make a plan and follow through, so this is a challenge to me at the core level. Also, I’m tired of the dishes. 😉

  2. A lot of obstacles. Sorry about that.

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