Hi, It’s Betsy and I got news!
WE’RE HAVING A BABY!
Long time readers around here know that our personal sharing comes in waves. For this momentous event, we decided, hey let’s take the blog along on the journey.
I’m gonna hold off on our conception story at the moment. Some of you may be into that kind of thing since it involves factoring such hardships as his cancer recovery and my advanced endometriosis diagnosis which I casually dropped in this update from last May. But I need to be drinking caffeine (or wine) to get into that one here on the blog. I’m drinking neither of those these days. But the good news is, it worked and we have been #blest!
For now, we’re bringing you along, because with the addition of this human being to the world, we will also be introducing an addition onto our home!
Well, we hope to. Here’s the skinny.
This is a current image of the two story end of the home with the open garage we’d like to convert.
The vehicles represent the area where we’d like a new garage to go.
If you weren’t around for the house hunt and the progress we’ve made since 2015 – the home is perched on the slope of Rustic Canyon, in the Pacific Palisades. It’s just a quick walk to the beach, nearby restaurants, and the Santa Monica Palisades Park. It’s a 1960’s rancher built into the slope and on the exterior, it gives off the impression that its a two story house. It has charming blue window frames with a white exterior and its surrounded by huge leafy tropical plants.
I rarely leave it. Especially these days!
In the past two years, we have converted the upstairs living area from a two bedroom back to its original 60’s floor plan with three bedrooms. We added HVAC, removed some of the previous owner’s more traditional built-in units to modernize a bit and we painted all the main living areas white with black interior window frames. We are slowly but surely making it our own.
This is our baby Aussie that we call Kitty. She loves to feel the sun in the sunroom.
It’s somewhat of a split level home in that when you walk in the front door, you are immediately led up a set of stairs to the living space. But once you are up, it’s all up here. The downstairs is nothing but garage, cellar and a studio. Downstairs is the area we want to become livable.
I took this photo of the front entry back in the house hunting days, when the previous owners still lived here. So, that’s their lamp. Don’t look at me!
The Entryway stairs open up into the middle of the home, between the Living area and the hallway that leads to the bedrooms.
Here’s a look at the current floor plans for the upper level and the lower.
We are hoping to add on a new garage and convert the existing downstairs garage & studio area into an integrated living space with two new bedrooms, a laundry room, storage and if we can squeeze it, a little TV den. This should turn our downstairs area into an official teen dream for Heffe’s kids as they are entering into a more grown-up era of their kid lives. (They are 10 and 12.)
Currently, we access the downstairs studio from the back side of the house, through a separate entry at the bottom of a terraced patio. On the front, there is a two car garage that is half tools and normal garage mess, and half Heffe’s car, plus another room that we call the cellar. We call it that because that is where we store all of Heffe’s home brew supplies and his craft beer collection. It’s also where I moved the laundry because I hated it in the kitchen. But boy its rough down there and its only accessible through the garage door, which makes laundry even more deplorable. It has straight up plywood walls, exposed plaster, wires and plumbing, dude mess everywhere, SHOP TEOT packaging supplies and kids bikes.
This image of the empty cellar is of particular interest because it illustrates the height difference between the front entry main landing and the cellar floor. You can see where the plaster wall ends at the entry landing floor.
Now bear with me from here, or skip along to the pretty pics. I wouldn’t blame you.
I’d hoped we could work with the architect to open up those plaster walls of the current entry and maneuver the existing stairwell into an access point to a new downstairs mudroom/foyer area that is currently the cellar. Upon initial consultation, she and the contractor agree that we may wish to explore other options for stairs. It’s apparently too challenging with the floor height discrepancy, and being that its our main entry, they agree it will be easier and more cost-effective to build a new stair and keep things as they are in the current entry.
I really want to be able to illustrate better for you, but even in person it requires a certain amount of bouncing back and forth between the cellar and the front entry to see just why this idea is such a challenge. Let’s pretend the height discrepancy isn’t so steep and below is a rendered view from the same vantage point as above, but with the walls blown out.
It would take about 7 or 8 steps to get from that entryway landing to the cellar floor in the real world.
Anywayz… that’s why we hire an architect! We’re waiting to hear from her on what’s feasible with the city, zoning wise and hoping that we can add enough square footage to accommodate our new needs. At the very least, we’d like to squeeze another two bedrooms into this house, somewhere. But at the moment, I’m not sure what the end product might look like.
That’s the gist. Now let’s look at some eye candy, that may or may not apply to our final plans.
Dreaming of a clean white laundry nook in my future.
We need bottle storage in a major way. The dude’s craft beer collection is a tad bit over the top. Maybe we will get to explore something creative under the stairwell.
by Studio McGee
I believe a downstairs den area will result in a small and cozy media focused room. Some new windows for light will be crucial to keep it light and airy.
I’m looking at small spaces for the den too, in case we end up needing most of the area for bedrooms.
If ever you are gonna pull off the low slung Togo profile, a teen dream den seems like the opportunity. I’ll take mine in a leather as aged and smooth as the design idea itself.
This is just a corner that I like. If I was a teen I’d be into this in my SoCal dream den.
A built-in daybed with some storage seems like a cozy solution for a small bedroom.
I don’t know what the consensus is on babies and spiral staircases, probably imminent death, but I know that if we have to add a second set of stairs somewhere, I’d like for it to take up as little real estate as possible.
These doors are a dream that may not fit into my reality anywhere. They are a bit of a departure from the current style of the home.
Maybe this is more our speed. Either way, I’m dreaming of a wide opening with large panes of glass, to take in the view.
The new garage roof will hopefully end up as outdoor living space for us (in exchange for the yard we are giving up.) That means the current sunroom with the black window frames will open up to this outdoor space and the french windows will all have to be replaced.
We’ll likely talk about that aspect more in depth as I can hardly wrap my mind around it at the moment. It just opens up all kinds of worms. Excited worms.
All of this is very exciting and the beginning of a whole new era for our home and our family as we grow from a crew of 6 to 7. If you need help figuring out that number, that’s two pups, two adults, two kids and a brand new tiny baby.