When we bought this house we had a plan—not a plan on paper, just an idea sort of plan. The plan was to buy this property that we liked, with the trees and the deep lot and the little creek running through it and to make the rather odd and ordinary house something more to our liking, and then out between the road and the creek, we would build a studio for me, attached to a greenhouse for Ray. It was a dreamy sort of plan, dependent on the money we would realize from the sale of our old house.
As you probably know, the old house didn't sell and was rented out for two years, so only part of the plan was possible. The house is getting there, with some further remodeling to come, but now the sale of the old house has revived the dream of the studio and greenhouse.
We actually started the process more than a year ago by asking our talented son-in-law to design the building for us. Carlos was an architect in Ecuador, though he is not working as one here. Learning about American construction methods and standards was a learning curve for him, but he persisted and came up with a very functional and beautiful design. Our next step was to consult with the county agency that regulates building near streams and waterways. We learned where the protected zone on each side of the creek extends and made sure our plans would conform to their regulations. With some modifications they did. Carlos drew and redrew the plans, making each modification as needed.
Finally, this winter it was time to run this all past the county bureaucrats who grant building permits. It was a bit like starting over, since they seemed doubtful that we were truly outside the protected conservation zone. Ray went back to the water people and got the two agencies communicating with each other about our property. Snarls of red tape. The county needed us to have the conservation zone re-surveyed. We did. We were fine, though poorer for the experience. Then they laid on us the news that the building, as designed, was too tall by a couple of feet. So it was back to the drawing board. Literally. Above are the (hopefully) final plans that will go back to the county for approval.
Wish us luck with the next round of applications. With any luck construction can start this summer. I hope to be able to share each phase right here.