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New Additions at Betsy’s House – Part II

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Hi there.

I’m back with some progress and also some news of holy crap, no fast progress.

As a reminder, we are looking to add an addition onto our home on the slope of Rustic Canyon in the Pacific Palisades, CA. The dude and I are also welcoming the addition of our new baby human child into our home.  I have passed the halfway mark and I must be in the sweet spot of pregnancy because let me tell you, I LOVE being pregnant. I wanna be pregnant all the time. It’s my favorite way to be. I haven’t felt this good in years. I know all you mama’s are all “just wait for the hell that is your third trimester and then the sleep deprivation of baby time and worry through the teenage years and heartbreak of the empty nest” whatevs. I’m all about all of it at this moment!

These are my two baby purchases so far.

Not long after I published the first look at this new addition at our home, I got a note from our architect. My inquiry was about how long the permitting and design process should take. Since I’m expecting our baby in July and this new addition has everything to do with whether or not she will have her own room, I was curious how I might set my expectations.

You know how pregnant design blogger  women like to decorate nurseries and pick out cribs and bedding and mobiles?

The news I got back completely blew my inexperienced mind.

” Optimistically, we’ll have a permit by September or October. “

WHAT? That’s so forever away. And it doesn’t even include the time it will take to actually build the thing! We might be on baby #2 by the time this all comes together.

Not that I had any expectations that the project would be built by July of course. But I didn’t expect the permits to take as long as all that. Perhaps it’s not like this everywhere else in the country but here, particularly with the coastal commission, this is apparently the norm. Here’s how it breaks down as explained by the architect.

  • Consultants schedules, city reviews and architectural design time can vary greatly. 3 to 4 months to get a submittal together.
  • The City can do an expedited  review in approximately 4 weeks or 6-8 weeks for a regular review schedule. The City’s various departments, Public Works, Fire, Planning, Coastal all must review the project.
  • Upon receipt of their review, the Architect & Structural Engineer can resubmit within a month.
  • That totals 7 months. So, optimistically, we will have a permit by September or October.

With that news, we got started immediately in February. Nita (that’s the architect) sent out one of her team members to measure every square inch of the house, and then just a couple days later she had a surveyor team out for topographic and slope analysis. I’ll show you what that survey looks like below.

The Surveyor’s Drawing after a Topographic & Slope Analysis

Now that it’s complete, the architect has full CAD files of the property and the home to begin designing around.

I must admit, that sounds super fun to me!

So far, the only thing I know about the designs to come is that if we are lucky, we can get the city to approve an addition that sizes out at around 20×25 feet. Due to all of the lot requirements, it means we have to push the garage toward the back of the home, taking up what little yard space we do have. But the living space that we get out of the deck on top will make up for that. I sent the below sketch to Sarah and she said it was a bit tough to make out what’s going on. Hoping that it’s a little more clear with the illustration from above – but basically the gist is that its showing us where our addition will be situated on the lot from a bird’s eye view. Flush with the back of the home leaving 18 feet between house and property line for the entire length of the backyard.

A Google Maps view of the home with Architect’s notes for new garage placement. Hoping to get approved for 20×25 feet of addition

I realize that this progress report isn’t quite as exciting as say, a design plan… but my understanding is that a design plan is what is coming next. I can’t wait to see what the professional pulls together for our new living space and garage addition.



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