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Diary of a Mad Renovator: And the Decision Is...

Written by Jaqui Lividini

SO, I’m sure you’re all waiting, with breath that’s bated – we’ve decided to: RAISE the house not raze it.  Of course the first step in this decision-making process was to hold another "feet to the fire" meeting with Chip Brian, the head honcho of the Design Development team.  He was brutally honest about the grim realities of building a new house, coupled with the grim reality of what I – Jaqui Lividini – would do with a completely blank canvas – which led to the conclusion that razing it would be a very bad idea.  As for the cost, I have a funny feeling it would sky rocket. What can I say?  Although I live by the simple-is-more philosophy – simple can be very expensive.

In reality, keeping the integrity of the cottage was primarily the deciding factor. I knew, no matter what was designed, I would not be able to preserve the authentic charm if starting from scratch.  However, I did feel we needed to add a “specialist” to our team.   I called our original architect, David Preusch.  Although we decided not to continue with his plan a few years ago, that decision had nothing to do with him or his excellent work.  We had worked for a year with David, and I felt his intimate knowledge of our cottage would be a big help in keeping the aesthetic of our Connecticut shore house intact.

So now Design Development and Preusch are working together.  Another endearing fact about Chip, Doug and the DD team: egoless! They are happy to work with David on finding the right solution for the façade of the newly elevated house.  We are hoping to choose between 2 different designs – one elevated house with a garage and one elevated without a garage.  We’ll decide from there, which one we want (because we haven’t been faced with enough decisions.)

The other more difficult decision that needed to be made was when we’d actually lift the house. With FEMA’s new ordinance, lifting services along the Connecticut shoreline are as coveted as an Hermes Birkin bag.  So we decided to renovate, then lift (It still scares me to say that -- let alone do it).  Chip assures me it will all work – a leap of faith for John and me, but we have complete trust in Chip and team.  And the view will be even more spectacular from our newly elevated house.

All in all, the two big choices have been made - raise not raze, renovate then elevate. When this is all over and done with we’re thinking of making a Lifetime movie. What do you think?

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