Tuesday, November 26, 2013


Have you ever noticed when you watch HGTV shows or the house flipping shows, that there is a lot of drama?  They find some big (or not so big) problem, the budget gets tight, people yell at each other and they play Jaws-like music?  Well, our goal in this business is to avoid drama as much as possible.  We hate drama!  We try and go onto a project knowing as many issues as we can and realize that as walls come out and things are uncovered, we might find some surprises.  But we keep a contingency budget to cover them.  Drama free. That was the plan….

Or so I thought.  We were supposed to start work last week.  But when I went to the City to draw our permits, I discovered that the setbacks have changed since our house was built in 1943 and the house is now 5 feet too close to the road.  And because we're changing the pitch of the roof to obtain more headroom, we need to go to the Board of Appeals to get a variance.  In advance of that meeting, the City will be sending letters out to homeowners within 500 feet of the project, asking for their input.  And since most of the lots in this area are .1 acres, that's a lot of people.

Why are we changing the pitch of the roof?  Well, it's all about headroom.  The only place you can stand upright on the 2nd floor is right along the peak of the roofline.  Once you have furniture up there (in this case, an inflatable air mattress for illustration purposes), you have to crouch down to move around the room.

By increasing the pitch of the roof to a 12/12 pitch, we raise the roof 4 feet.  That gives us more headroom for the dormers and makes the rest of the square footage upstairs much more usable.  Without the height increase, we would have to add flat dormers, which would be an odd, contemporary look on our little 1943 cape and the headroom would still be too low.

So, for now we're on hold, until the Board of Appeals gets together next month.  I've started meeting with the immediate neighbors, so they won't be surprised with the notice.  But for the moment we're waiting, waiting, waiting.  I think I hear the Jaws theme in the background…….sigh…..I hate drama…..

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  1. I'm currently dealing with 2 projects that have Board of Variance issues. One went smoothly, the other not so easy. Having the neighbours on board certainly help. Good luck!

  2. Oh boy, I hate drama, too! Fingers crossed all goes well.

  3. How tall was the 2nd floor ceiling to begin with? I’m considering a similar project but hoping that I don’t need to raise the roofline.


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