Friday, September 16, 2011

Clarifications and Chagrin

It's been some time since we received word from Maryland that our plans weren't good enough, but today I managed to talk to one of our main points of contact up in Crownsville, Renee.  I wanted to see if she could clarify some of the points the board put in one-huge-paragraph of a letter, and she did so quite nicely.  I relayed the information to my dear wife, with all her Southern sensibilites, on the phone from work, and she unloosed a cute little tirade of unpublishable words.  Not aimed at Renee, mind you, but at the situation.  (She actually really liked Renee when they met on Monday.  Really!)  Here's why she's not happy:

  1. We will not be allowed to raise the ceiling in the kitchen, which at my last measurement was about, oh, 4 1/2 feet tall.  And we have to keep it beadboard, which is not exactly the look we were going for.  Apparently, one of the bungalowish things about any bungalow is its abundance of porches.  It's not our fault that the Army enclosed the porch, and they're fine with us taking the already enclosed porch and making it into a kitchen.  But since the porch ceiling is still there, we've gotta keep it as is.  I guess this was one of the main objections of the board to our application.  It's also one of Abby's main problems with the house.  Hmm...
  2. You see the boards under the ripped drywall?  THAT's what they want us to keep as our kitchen ceiling, rather than having the gorgeous exposable beams that are directly above them and continue into the Great Room.
  3. We will not be allowed to make the doorway into the kitchen into a wide opening.  We will be able to widen the doorway and get rid of the door itself, but wall has to remain on both sides.  Again, because of the original this-is-inside-and-that-is-outside nature of the rooms.  That we can both deal with, although I think it'll look silly.
    This is the doorway they will only let us expand, and not remove.
    And above it are the beautiful beams they don't want us to expose.
  5. We can raise the ceiling in the upstairs bathroom.  Huzzah!  If the kitchen's clearance is 4 1/2 feet, the bathroom's is just over a yard.  They would rather we not have the bedroom closet jut into the Great Room.  Yeah, so would I, but I would also like a closet.  I guess this is not a make-or-break section of the plan, so if we leave it in the next application (which we will), and it's the only problem, then they'll either say okay begrudgingly or just make the approval conditional on us getting rid of or shrinking the closet.  Then I'll just hang all my clothes on a hook outside the house or something, I guess.  That'd be "very bungalow," no?
  6. They do not care about our paint colors or tile colors, at least at this point.  Too bad, because Abby has them pretty much all picked out.  Cabinet facing too, after a lucky trip to a specialty cabinet place in Hyattsville yesterday that was fortuitously located across the street from a brand new Burger Delite-- the best place for Carolina Barbecue outside of NC.
  7. The board wanted us to put together a "mock-up" of what our roof will look like.  Puzzlement ensued.  Did they want us to do a third-grade diorama?  No, actually, Renee clarified, just some architectural drawings of a cross section of how the new roof won't make the dormer look weird.  That we (and Mohamed) can deal with.
So it shouldn't be that bad.  We have 11 more days until the second round of applications is due.  No doubt we'll be working on it a lot this weekend, and hopefully will have it done by Monday so we can pass it to Rory.  Renee repeatedly mentioned to me that she and Amy were reminding the board that our financers are not too happy about the work not having started.  That said, I made sure to email Patty (our financer) and Sheyy (our guy from FHA) to let them know we had another 45-day wait ahead of us.  I'm sure they're both thrilled...

From everything Renee said, it sounds like the people on the board (who are all specialists of one kind or another-- architects, historians, bungalowists...) are just trying to get things to be perfect.  That said, a comment I received on my last post from Paul, a neighbor I haven't met yet (Hi Paul!) echoes a sentiment I'm sure is shared not only by us and our neighbors but by Renee and Amy as well: that the heretofore moniker "Save our Seminary" should be altered to be "Finish our Seminary!"

1 comment:

  1. So wait... does it just have to 'stay beadboard' vs. 'restoring the existing beadboard'? That leaves a bit of room for creativity, at least...