the permitting process


Construction started a little less than 2 months ago. So far we've got a structural slab and some steel columns to show for it.

My last house post left off with acquiring permits. For this particular project, the drawings needed a stamp of approval from four departments in order to get building permits. Planning Department was taken care of with the Design Review. The Fire Department signed off right away with the assurance that an automated fire sprinkler system is provided.  In the state of California, that is required of all new construction, even a single-family residence.

Plan check with the Building Department and Public Works took a little longer, probably because of timing. I submitted the plans around the holidays, not the best time to do so. After a bit of chasing and added notes, we got our third sign off. The most frustration was with the Public Works Department. It was a negotiation of city improvement items PW requested us to pay for or do that we legally don't have to. After consulting with a lawyer, we realized that it would simply be faster (and less cost) to agree to these terms. Much to our dismay, we did but...  we FINALLY got permits!!!

Everything has been going smoothly and on schedule. However, the hard decisions are starting to fall on my desk, which have had a running theme of budget versus environmental responsibility. Why does all things eco-friendly have to cost more? Speaking of which, did you guys notice the radiant heating system being installed in the time-lapse video above?

life lately


Oh my gosh? Has it really been 8 months since I last posted?

A lot has happened since Christmas... all good things. I gave birth to two healthy little boys, Bryant and Hudson. If you're wondering, yes, they are identical twins. It turns out not only do I love making sweets and crafts, I love making babies too, so much that I made two at the same time.

Between keeping two babies (and a toddler) alive, I've also been handling the construction of our house. Yes, you heard right, we are finally building our house that we've struggled to get the design approved. If you follow me on Instagram, you probably know that already. The permitting process went relatively well despite the fact that it happened while we were transitioning from a family of 3 to a family of 5. I'll post more about that later.

Now that I'm 8 months postpartum, I'm starting to get back into the swing of things. On top of our house project, I've got a few renovations and additions in the works, one under construction and a couple others on paper. All very exciting and I can't wait to share with you all. So, to sum things up, life has been crazy and I'm loving it.

ornament snow globe


To get into the spirit of things, a few mommies and I got together for a Christmas playdate, where we had a small secret santa gift exchange and a craft for the kids. The craft was a quick and easy snow globe that the kiddies can give to their daddies. Not only did they all have a fun time creating these gifts, the toddlers were pretty damn proud of themselves afterward.

toilet paper roll christmas wreath


Everyone is in full Christmas mode by now, which includes me. This time of year just makes me want to bake and craft all day long. This season we are sticking around for a very obvious reason... expecting twin babies. So we put up a modest little tree and some decorations. I wanted to put a wreath on the front door but quickly realized that the HOA here has some strict rules, so instead I decided to put a little one the inside around the peephole. 

I've been collecting toilet paper rolls for a project with my toddler and now have one too many. That's when I came up with this idea of making my wreath with them. Here's directions on how to make your own.

an update on the house


If you've been following my previous blog posts about our house (here, here, here, and here), you may be curious to what's happened in the past few months. I'm sorry to disappoint you all, but not much has happened. After the approval of our design in August, our neighbors (yes, plural) filed an appeal (in which they have the right to in this particular city) against the Design Review Board's decision. What happens then? The appeal is presented to the Planning Commission (basically the next level above DRB) for review. This process took two months and to our relief, the Commission denied the appeal and we are finally able to move forward with our project. For me, the meeting started off nerve-racking and ended in joy, relief, (and humor?) All the appellants walked out of the meeting before a decision was made and only after the first of the four members spoke.

Overall, the Planning Commission concluded that we have made a real effort to listen to the Design Review Board, as well as the community's concerns. Above are two renderings, one of an ultra-modern design that we presented at our first DRB meeting and the other is the mid-century modern inspired redesign after considering the major issues that were brought up. The redesign was a difficult process and there were a lot of items we had to compromise. I've learned that even though we had to give up a few things off our "wishlist," our family will still love and live in this house the same. I'm just looking forward to breaking ground.

These were the changes we made from the original design:
  • Roof line changed from flat to sloped
  • The first floor was setback was an extra 5 feet from the required
  • The second floor was setback an extra 20 feet from the required
  • A bedroom on the second floor was eliminated
  • Large fenestrations from the front elevation were eliminated
I am happy to say that we finally submitted our plans for plan check with the building department, which sadly will take 4 to 6 weeks. The twins will be here in T minus 3 weeks. The challenge now is how will I handle two newborns while a building a house.

Stay tuned and send me a prayer.
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