Ranch Redux: A Ranch Done Wright

Adventures in Framing Part 3: Moving on Up | September 4, 2011

In the past couple of weeks our little ranch house has undergone an amazing transformation.  The new house is emerging from the old one as we put on the second floor.  The ranch house first floor roofline still exists along with the California Fill over the garage, but the new lines of the modern house are becoming much more distinct.

I always thought that I was pretty competent at reading floor plans and envisioning the 3d space therein.  I even thought I had a good idea of what the new house was going to look like inside and out, but as it is being built, and I see the actual spaces and details, I realize how limited my view was.  I am so pleased with the work of our architect, Sam Wright.  He took our hazy vision of what we wanted our house to look like and made it better.  The spaces are comfortable and the details make this house look more like a custom built home than a remodel.  Sam has taken a genuine interest in the construction process.  He is over a couple times a week to answer questions and give us moral support.  It is more than we expected and we really appreciate his guidance.

Framing the upstairs has given me hope that someday we will be done.  Tim and I had such hubris to take on this remodel.  Even though I have watched hundreds of hours of HGTV and Tim has successfully completed many small to medium home improvements, we knew nothing about organizing a construction project of this magnitude.  Tim has shown a remarkable ability to learn on the job, but it has been a trial and exhuasting.

If we knew how hard it was going to be I doubt if we would have attempted it.  Tim likes to say we have moxie, but I think we were really just fools.  It is just like how we began our life together.  We were young, foolish, and sure that getting married and starting a family would be a snap.  In both cases I am glad we went all in because now we have a lovely family and will soon have a lovely home.

Last week we had a 40 ton crane at our house to place the large, 500 lb parallams on the roof. It was quite a spectacle for our cul-de-sac and several neighbors came out to watch the action.  Our next-door neighbor, Casey, was particularly fascinated with the work.

Anthony from Bob’s Crane rental skillfully moved the parallams from the ground to roof with incredible precision. From there, J., Charlie, and Tim fastened the parallams to the frame of the house.  By the end of the long, stressful day our top floor came into focus.

J. and Charlie then installed the floor joists and sheathed the roof of the retreat.  We have a nice view of the ocean from the upstairs bedroom suite, but from the second floor roof it is fabulous!  We can see all the way from La Jolla to San Clemente.

We have another workman on the job, Chino.  Tim and Chino are a team prepping in advance of J. and Charlie as they complete the framing.

This summer had been such a blur.  We have been so completely consumed by our project that we just let it slip by.  We didn’t really go anywhere or do much of anything.  Yet, it was a summer full of momentous events.  We had graduations to celebrate: Sam graduated from UC Davis and Corrina graduated from NYU.  They both visited, but sadly not at the same time.  The chickens laid eggs and there was even a volunteer sunflower to brighten up our construction site.

A sad event that happened this summer was the passing of my beloved Auntie Rosie.  Rosie died quickly one night in July soon after celebrating her ninety-first birthday.  I went to her funeral service at The Holy Redeemer Catholic Church on a mild Saturday morning in Montrose.   It has been a long time since I stepped into a Catholic church.  The church was quiet with muted light streaming through stained glass windows.  There is something timeless about Catholic services with the ceremony, scripture readings, hymns, and incense.  There were only a few clues that gave away in what decade  Aunt Rosie’s service occurred. There was the the skin colored microphone that Father Timothy was sporting, as well as the altar boy’s Jason Beiber haircut, and his scuffed, lime green Converse All Star tennis shoes peeking out from the traditional altar boy robes.  It was a particularly lovely funeral mass with an uplifting sermon and a woman with a beautiful soprano voice singing the hymns.  It put me in contemplative mood thinking about my dear auntie.

When I was a little kid I always looked forward to going to Aunt Rosie and Uncle Bill’s for holidays.  The whole, extended family would converge on their house on Shasta Circle.  It was a magical place for a kid from the suburbs.  My cousins had two rather rambunctious monkeys and a pool table.  Generally our parents would be in the living room talking and partying pretty much leaving the kids to their own devices.  My mom was always dressed the nines and smelled divine.  What a knock-out she was (still is)!  My dad and Aunt Rosie, his sister, took turns being the life of the party, telling stories and singing.  I could hear the grown-ups’ laughter and wondered who was having the most fun, them or us.

I loved that Aunt Rosie never spoke to me like I was a little kid, even though I was.  When I got older my Aunt Rosie and Uncle Bill moved from their old house to a new house in Glendale.  We still got together fairly regularly although sometimes some of my siblings or cousins were absent.  Whenever we said goodbye, Aunt Rosie would say “I will pray for you.”  As a know-it-all teenager I thought there was some implied criticism in her kind words and I was probbaly not very appreciative. It wasn’t until I was older that I realized that Aunt Rosie was a devout woman, she prayed for everyone, and it was just her way of saying she loved me.

I will miss Aunt Rosie and will pray for her in my own way.

May she rest in peace.

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We are embarking on an adventure turning a boring little ranch house into a modern style remodel.

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