We couldn't find our dream-house at Pacific Heights, Presidio Heights, nor Sea Cliff; so, we built our own!
Why not just say, "You wanted to build a brand new 3-unit building?"
Well, because it is not entirely true. Unlike a 3-unit building, our home can be converted to a single family dwelling based upon the existing design and floor plans -- we have no physical restrictions to convert our home to a single family dwelling.
My sister targeted our purchase and interest toward this 1904 house.
We bought it and demolished it to dirt level; and, we built our dream-house with our winning contractor, PJ Hegarty Construction.
My sister's requirement: "All cash -- no loans nor credit cards to demolish and build our dream-house." We executed an all-cash transaction on this new construction project.
As she worked on this venture, my family and I would learn many things about building a brand new house in San Francisco -- specifically, at the Top Of Nob Hill:
- It is extremely rare and seldom happens in San Francisco (for you readers living in the suburbs, building a brand new house is common; in 1978, my family built a brand new house in Walnut Creek, California -- piece of cake; however, building a brand new house in San Francisco is a very rare activity -- especially, at the Top Of Nob Hill);
- It would be a tremendous undertaking (e.g., time, work, skills, talent, commission hearings, city approvals, engineering, and design);
- We would have to gain the votes of the commissioners from the San Francisco Building Commission with the entire neighborhood protesting against us because they would lose significant views; and,
- It will cost a lot of money -- cold hard cash was my sister's requirement -- no loans or credit cards -- all cash.
After ONLY two hearings, which was about six months with the San Francisco Building Commission, all the commissioners unanimously and unequivocally voted in favor for us to build our compound. Most people I talked to mentioned it took them four years of commission hearings before their projects got approved and that was for just their remodel...our project was a complete demolition, which is more complicated than a remodel, and it only took us six months to get the commissioners' approvals.
The Trinity definitely helped us because it only took two hearings for the San Francisco Building Commission to approve us; and, one of the commissioners said to the 200 protestors in one of the televised hearings, after I made my closing argument:
This made the news, and this was a major win for me and my family -- in opposition of over 200 neighborhood protestors, we won! I give thanks to the Trinity for guiding us through that event and through completion of building our compound.
After the approval from the San Francisco Building Commission, we were at full-speed to get our family compound under-way. The first part of phase one: get a contractor!
We interviewed many contractors, and all the contractors we interviewed put in their bids for the project. This was an important project for the winning bidder because of the exposure they would get by building a brand new structure in one of San Francisco's most historical and prestigious neighborhoods.
PJ Hegarty Construction got the winning bid:
General Contractor: PJ Hegarty Construction: PJ Hegarty (His company is a one-stop shop, handling construction, electrical, plumbing, sheet-rock, and all the stuff associated to construction -- his company will also maintain the property after it is built.): 1-415-225-8743
PJ Hegarty used these vendors for our construction project:
(You need to have a contractor and vendors that are professional, trustworthy, honest, ethical, and provide great advice without sacrificing quality and project time. Selecting a contractor and vendors are crucial -- if you don't wisely select your contractor and vendors, your project will be in jeopardy, and you will not sleep at nights, and you will lose your money and time.)
- Kitchen and Bathroom Design Construction: Timeless Kitchen: Caroline Sain
- Doors and Windows: South City Lumber & Supply: Dave
- Tiles: Galleria Tile: Glenn Stark
- Bathroom Tile Installation: Ramirez Tile: Jose Ramirez
- Garage Doors & Installation: Sousa's Overhead Doors: 1-408-248-0782
- Movers: CareMore Movers and Storage: David (Owner): 1-415-699-5176
- Door-locks: Markus Supplies: Jeff: 1-510-832-6532
- Custom Shower Glass Doors & Enclosures: Markus Supplies: Dan: 1-510-832-6532
- Crane & Rigging: B & S: Sean Wanlass: 1-415-564-7591
- Wood Repairs and Restoration: Wood Wizard: Darrell Stimson: 1-925-370-1489
- Five stories
- 7 1/2 baths
- 8 Bedrooms
- Four-car garage
- 3 distinct units with three different addresses but can be converted back to single family dwelling
- Helicopter landing pad (restricted to medical operations)
- 1 penthouse with views of the Coit Tower, Angel Island, Trans America Pyramid, and Bay Bridge
- One man-cave -- this is my Elvis & James Bond 007 retreat
- One garden
- Elevator shaft
We were so fortunate to have found our contractor, PJ Hegarty Construction. PJ Hegarty is an immigrant from Ireland with traditional, strict, and sound working ethics and skills. He is honest, reliable, consistent, professional, patient, and driven towards success by his own strict standards, as well as the standards set forth by his clients... in this case, my family and me. He is a man of utmost integrity, and we were so impressed by his professional and creative expertise. Here is an example of his integrity, which took place on 23-May-2013:
"Irene, the estimate to build your house is $X. I forgot to include the installation of ABC, which costs $X; but, I will cover that cost since I screwed up."
My sister offered to pay PJ the cost that he forgot to include in the contract, and PJ Hegarty responded, "No -- it was my error; I will take care of it."
The following is pictures and activities of the progress that took place at different phases of our new construction. When I look back at these pictures, I think to myself, "Daaang...we sure did come a long friggin' way -- how did we do this?" Then, I thank the Trinity for His guidance every step of the way; because, the entire new construction of our compound was smooth as silk.
PHASES OF CONSTRUCTION
4-January-2014, @ 1400 hours PDT:
Sousa's Overhead Garage Doors created and installed the new doors to our paddock.
We installed Bison tiles to the deck in the penthouse. This is the latest and greatest technology in tiles.
Well, each tile sits on a platform that rests on the actual deck flooring.
Then, each tile is laid on the platform. Each tile can be removed by lifting it if cleaning or deck repairs are needed; but, the main feature is the fact that water drains from the deck -- in other words, no sitting water; and, no sitting water means not potential of water damage or wood rot to the deck.
So, what do we do when our European refrigerator and stove do not fit along the staircase in our house that leads to the penthouse?
Well...we contacted B & S Crane & Rigging : Sean Wanlass: 1-415-564-7591, and he did his magic.
26-September-2013, @ 1430 Hours PDT:
The driveway is under construction, as well as the paddock. Concrete was poured and paved today, and I put some of my sweat-equity into our new house. The guys taught me the way to shovel concrete from the concrete mixer truck. I had a lot of fun.
All the power is on; so, my mom, sister, and I decided to do a night tour. Tonight, San Francisco was clear and warm; and, it was a magical evening, as we turned on the power to our beautiful new home for the first time. We are all so grateful for our good fortune; and, we thank God every single day for our wonderful home. Thank You, Lord!
13-September-2013, @ 1330 Hours PDT:
PG&E worked on installing and turning on the gas and electricity.
The paddock is getting close to completion -- all the lights have been installed, and they will light up the paddock like daylight.
All the door locks and handles have been installed to all the doors. Gas, electricity, and water have been installed and all operational. Interior painting is done to all the units; and the staircase to the roof has been created and installed.
The front door is in from South City Lumber Supply, and it will be stained next week. The locks to all the doors have been ordered and should be arriving real soon.
The interior painting will be done next week or so -- the glass on the railings to the third unit and penthouse are all done, too.
All the hard-wood floors have been laid and stained; all the railings have been installed; all the appliances to all kitchens, except for my mother's kitchen, have been installed. My mother's kitchen appliances are special order from Europe; hence, it takes about 6 weeks to arrive, which is also another contributing factor to the delivery date of completion being changed to end of August 2013.
PJ and his team are laying down the hardwood floors -- the borders and hardwood floors arrived today. The wood my sister selected is oak. It smells so amazing. No nails will be used in the installation of the hardwood. The process used will enhance the radiant heating throughout the house and increase the sound-proofing throughout the house. Each floor will be heated and provide heat throughout the house.
Jose Ramirez is working on the installation of the bathroom Italian tiles we ordered from Glenn at Galleria Tile. These tiles are special-order from Italy and of the highest caliber. We have 7.5 bathrooms that will benefit from Jose's tile-work.
Scaffolds are off -- the exterior construction of the house is complete -- the copper rain-gutters running down the left-side of the house in the picture are still being worked on.
Countertops are all installed to all three kitchens as are the cabinets, shelves, and drawers. All the counter-tops in all three kitchens are rare Italian Quartz.
21-May-2013, @ 1530 Hours PDT:
Today, we drove by the house to check out the application of golden harvest stucco; and, we are so jazzed and impressed with the color. We are getting closer and closer to completion.
We visited PJ Hegarty to check out the brown-level process before the application of the Golden Harvest stucco.
This picture shows the brown-level. The brown-level is the concrete-looking material that goes onto the front, sides, and rear of the house. The stucco will be placed on the brown level.
I visited our new-house-to-be and met up with PJ Hegarty. The framing for the stucco is almost done; and, the paddock is coming together quite nicely.
13-November-2014, 1200 - 1700 Hours PST: When you build a brand new house, there are some post-construction stuff that needs to be done because the house begins to settle; so, stuff like the doors need to be adjust, cracks in the walls need to be repaired, and so on.
Today, our Sonos speakers arrived -- all nine of them were installed throughout the compound; after they were install into the walls, I hooked up Sonos Amplifiers in my sister and mum's homes.
View from penthouse.
View from penthouse.
View from penthouse.
View from penthouse.
View from penthouse and outside our front door.
My neighborhood is the safe, whereby my mother, sister, and I can go walking or jogging any time of the day or night; it is convenient, so we don't need a car -- we can walk to Fisherman's Wharf, Union Square, Financial District, Chinatown, and North Beach; if we don't feel like walking, we can hitch a ride on the cable car or MUNI. Getting a cab is just as easy as living in New York City's Manhattan.
This was a major accomplishment for my sister and me. It was challenging, but we had a lot of fun executing this major endeavor; and, we would do it all again. Thanks for dropping by and for all your nice emails regarding the construction of our brand new house.