clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

HANDY COUPLE TRANSFORMS HOME

"A work in progress" is how Glenn Pollock describes the do-it-yourself remodeling project he and his wife, Judy, em-barked upon in 1990 when they moved to Monterey, Calif.

The do-it-yourself couple are still working to finish the house, which had been on the market for six months. It now bears little resemblance to its old self."The first thing we did was paint everything white," says Judy, pointing to before pictures showing dark wood paneling, low ceilings, gold carpeting and a dark, open beam ceiling with very low pitch.

Then for the next six months the couple worked out a remodeling plan of attack that would satisfy their desire to maintain yard space and privacy while capitalizing on the spectacular views of Monterey Bay and Mount Toro from the hillside lot.

Glenn, 54, was a practicing architect in the San Francisco Bay area for about 15 years before he got into renovating and selling properties - 20 in all - in the '70s and '80s, eventually getting into property management almost exclusively.

Remodeling was nothing new for him, and it became old hat for Judy, too.

"This is the third kitchen we've done in eight years (of marriage)," says Judy, 52, proudly showing off custom details that she and Glenn designed into the room: gas and electric ovens (one under the counter), a special pullout pantry-shelf unit in space under the stairway, custom tile work and even a special recess for the cat's food and water dishes.

The plan the couple eventually settled upon is one in which the kitchen is central and open so that Judy, who loves to cook, can interract with guests. The custom glass doors on the stock cabinets also permit display of Judy's colorful collection of Fiesta ware.

Also important were the placement of sink and stove, says Judy, who doesn't like to stare at a blank wall when cooking or cleaning up. The kitchen sink is placed in front of a window with views of the bay and trees while the cooktop is on the peninsula separating the kitchen from the dining area.

The plan also required that much of the existing home be gutted. "We lived amidst the construction, tearing down the back half of the old house and framing in the new sunroom, kitchen and dining area," says Glenn.

Then the couple moved into that area while they tore down and rebuilt the front half, which now encompasses an entry hall, powder room, living room and stairs to the master suite.

To better capture the views, the new kitchen, dining room and sunroom are two steps up from the living room, which looks out upon a small street-facing front garden through a double pair of French doors.

With the living room, the dining room (with kitchen adjacent) and sunroom all open to each other, the effect is one of a single, long living space. "If not a great room, at least it's a pretty good room," Glenn jokes.

There is also ample wall space to display the professional-quality photographs taken by the couple over the years as well as souvenirs picked up in their travels (Judy has worked in the travel industry.).

Plenty of light and lots of wood and tile, which "make a warm house," Judy says, were also paramount in their design.

To keep the feel light, the Pollocks limited the use of wood to trim, board-and-batten wainscoting in the living room, some flooring and cabinetry, while using Sheetrock, painted white, for most wall surfaces. But Glenn took special care with the woodwork, which incorporates clear redwood and vertical-grain fir and some clear pine as well.

"I used contrasting woods, but they (the colors) start blending as they are exposed to light," he says.

He also departed from the norm in trim for doors and windows. "By reversing the usual trimming details (trim usually covers the edge of the framing) I extended the frames beyond the face of the trim, creating a sense of greater wall thickness."

The Pollocks' final plan also incorporates about $5,000 worth of windows originally intended for remodeling another house, a project that had not begun before they found and bought their house in Monterey.

The couple saved a bundle of money doing most of the construction work themselves, but they left the foundation work, roof sheathing and roofing, new electric service, furnace installation and pouring of the mortar bed for the tile floor to professionals.

"Don't live with the mess unless you have a good relationship, strong marriage and, most importantly, a good sense of humor," Glenn advises. He also recommends that owner-builders establish a good working relationship with the lumber yard and with the building inspector.