My Diary

Almost every day for over 20 years I've searched real estate listings and "homes for sale" advertisements, but I was not able to find my own "dream house". My long constant involvement with homes for sale has given me a very good understanding of what is important to both myself and home buyers. Hopefully my diary will help others decide if they want to try to build their "new dream home" or search through real estate listings for the best home for them.

November 2009

Dining room Marble fireplace in family room Eating area and family room Kitchen stove Master bedroom Front bedroom Back bedroom Loft Entry wall

October 2009

Living roomLoft pendants Kitchen

August 2009

Driveway paver installation begun Front walk pavers Entry chandelier Front bedroom chandelierStair railingKitchen pendant

July 2009

Kitchen stove Kitchen with cabinets and stove Master bath shower and sinksDriveway prepared for paversDriveway ready for pavers

June 2009

First fireplace Crack in fireplace mortar Fireplace door blocked Living room fireplace mantel Living room hardwood fireplace

May 2009

Doors varnished Paint interior walls Trim painted, doors varnished, next paint walls

Protect master bath tile from paint Cut ceiling hole to add wiring Interior trim paint

Dining room wall paint Master bedroom wall paint

Front upstairs bedroom walls Master bedroom closet shelves Loft wall paint

April 2009

Kitchen cabinets and counters Cracked kitchen hood Living room paint samples

Kitchen paint sample Kitchen window sill Kitchen cabinets

March 2009

Stone siding Stone siding near driveway Driveway arbor Travertine and stone siding nearly completed

February 2009

Kitchen floor hardwood down Family room floor hardwood Hall and dining room floor

January 2009

Painting exterior Install interior doors Slate for roof

Underground utilities

December 2008

Living room drywall Living room drywall, fireplace Family room drywall

Rock siding preparation Rain gutters Scaffolding

November 2008

October 2008

All windows installed Master bedroom fireplace frame Master bath fan

September 2008

Kitchen window Heating ducts Loft windows

August 2008

heating ducts

July 2008

June 2008

The most visible rapid changes began taking place this month. After the floor joists were installed approximately a week was spent installing the under floor pipes and ducts. When the city inspector came out he said that it was a very good job and that he would buy the house. He also noticed and was pleased that the construction crew placed empty plastic water bottles over long anchor bolts protruding up from the foundation as a safety precaution.

 

After the inspection, the flooring and framing took off at a rapid pace. Probably the biggest surprise was how much effort was spent reviewing the windows. The architect's drawings don't completely specify the windows. The construction crew chief really showed his experience by asking questions early so that construction kept racing on while the issues were resolved. He also spotted other issues such as not enough space for a light switch between a door and a window. The builder and his crew are doing an amazing job keeping the project constantly moving ahead, spotting issues that need to be resolved, and advising us about details so that we can decide.

May 2008

April 2008

Temporary fencing is installed around the property and around the two redwood trees. The electric power, gas, water, and sewer are disconnected. A temporary electric power pole and a water faucet have been installed to help both demolition and construction.

March 2008

January 2008

December 2007

October 2007

August 2007

July 2007

June 2007

May 2007

April 2007

March 2007

  1. The house is too long and takes up too much of the lot
  2. The upstairs windows create a privacy problem for his back yard
  3. The upstairs would block the sunlight from reaching his yard
  4. The upstairs is too close to the property line

The plans met all of the city requirements but he can appeal if the city approves the plans causing a rather lengthy delay. He has a older two-story house with quite a few windows facing my yard. My architect suggests we move windows.

February 2007

Moving the garage back from the front of the house has resulted in a nice courtyard. I actually like the revised plans more than the original. The garage is behind the living room with a driveway curving around the living room and then heading into the garage. The driveway will be like a patio behind the living room and to the side of the dining room and kitchen. It will be a nice semi-private area that provides open space near my "public" rooms.

I also met and talked to one of my neighbors. He was reluctant to provide a written statement that he had seen my plans and approves of them. He also asked if it wasn't my understanding that since I was not asking for any variances, that he would not be able to object to anything anyway. Actually, I think we both feel the new house will be a positive step.

January 2007

December 2006

November 2006

October 2006

September 2006

My Dream Takes Focus

Past and future dream

I've dreamed of living downtown for many years. Finally in 2005 I found a solid beginning. A 90 year old home with vinyl siding, a brick front yard, a dilapidated garage, and two huge redwood trees. This house was probably quite a dream home when it was built ... but not in the way Filoli or Villa Montalvo were. It was solid little 2 bedroom, 1 bath home with a nice living room looking out on San Francisquito Creek. The house appears to have been cherished, having several small renovations performed. A third bedroom was added at the rear of the house. Probably it had redwood siding which had been stripped off, styrofoam insulation added, then vinyl siding put on.

Prelude:

I've owned property in Palo Alto for over 20 years. Although each home I've bought has been special in some ways, I've never owned a house that meets my business needs. I've owned and lived in two different homes having a detached cottage. A cottage helped me keep my business well separated from my personal living space, but I spend much of my time at home working. A detached cottage is not ideal for me. None of the homes I've owned have been very attractive from the street.

I strongly believe in owning real estate both for my own living and as investments. Over the years I have been fortunate to purchase properties which I felt were unique and offered some hard to find features such as a large lot size. Ten years ago I hired an architect to create plans and even began notifying neighbors as part of the approval process. That effort came to a halt after about one year and $20,000 of expenses.

I've reached a point where I'm ready to start building a new home in Palo Alto on property which I've owned for several years.

My Goals:

  1. Very attractive.
  2. Large home office which can be kept neat.
  3. Personal living area near my home office but out of view.
  4. Three bedrooms plus two and a half baths. (or more)
  5. Blend outdoor and indoor areas to provide a pleasant and inviting home.
Have questions? ... Ask Juliana!