Jumping through hoops…








When I started the renovation of my building for the new studio, I thought it would just be a simple process of gathering ideas, talking to the contractor and getting to work. Not really so.

When the housing boom came through our county in 2005, our town didn’t have some of the precautions in place to keep some properties from being razed and developed. And not really in ways that they were in favor of. One old house was taken down, which could’ve been renovated to be replaced by townhouses. So the town couldn’t stop it because they didn’t have regulations in place. They quickly got to work and did just that, getting the county involved and forming a committee of their own that made it harder for that kind of change to happen again. This was a good thing. The house that is directly behind our property was scheduled to be next and they have prevented the same from happening there. Although, now, the developer that owns the property has abandoned it and it is now gradually falling further into decline. It is a beautiful old Victorian house that would take lots of money to fix up but would be doable. I’m grateful that the town saved it and they have told me that they have plans to get the developer to make some moves on the property.

SO, now I am close to starting work on the building. Given the committee has to be involved, it has been a bit more complicated than it would’ve been a few years ago. My initial plan was to add an addition to my building to house the kiln (s). I prepared drawings and took this to the town to show them what I was doing. You see, the building sits exactly on the property line and that is a big no no. You have to put a building, a new building, at least 15 feet away from a property line. So my addition had to be okay’d by the committee. Given that I was renovating the old building, it can be grandfathered into the regulations and is automatically okay to do the work to, but the addition had to have permission and a waiver to proceed.

Then my contractor gave me his first quote…. OUCH! The kiln room had to go, as did my concrete floor. In order to bring the project into my budget, I had to shave things off the project. AND, even though I was no longer doing the addition, I still had to get permission from the town to proceed. In the meantime, my contractor is running out of work before the meeting of the committee. He wants to get to work and they want me to hold on a few more days to give it a go ahead. They needed revised drawings of the project and 7 copies of the drawing and a check for $25. The meeting is March the 7th and I should be able to have permits in hand by the 8th since I also started the process of obtaining the permits with the county. This will get my contractor working early in March rather than have to wait until April.

Code for the county is also something that I have had to follow for safety reasons. The inspectors came out and looked at the property and gave me more insight as to what I can and can’t do. A local business sells used and odd sized windows which I had found some really cool triangular windows for the eaves but they are too big and aren’t a tempered glass, so those had to come out of the project. Also, windows have to be at least 18″ up from the floor and the triangles are just too big. They would’ve been really cool though, giving my moved stairs the much needed light.

Enter, Craig’s List. I spent a day working to find some windows that would suit me to add the whimsy to the building and give me plenty of light but also save me some money on new windows at Lowe’s or Home Depot. I found some half rounds, quarter rounds and an arch window up in Maryland that I am planning on going to purchase tomorrow. They are a major brand of window, but at a fraction of the cost that I would have to pay if I had to buy them from a retailer. I just have to drive a bit to get them.

So I spent yesterday working on revised drawings and using the dimensions that are on the Craig’s List listing, figuring out where I can place the windows to give me the light that I want inside the new space. And making sure that I have the proper distance from the floor to the window to meet the codes. By placing the half rounds in the eaves, I get a window that looks a bit like an orange slice or a smile, which I will be doing a lot of, come March, when I can see the changes start to take place.