May 6, 2012. The day that started it all. It was a beautiful, sunny Sunday evening. Arlen and I were taking a walk in the neighborhood when we got a panicked call from our daughter, Tenley, saying that something crashed through the roof and there was glass all over! We rushed home to find that a limb from one of our giant oaks had smashed one of the skylights in our bedroom hallway. There wasn’t even any wind! Our trusty roofers, THE Roofing came out first thing the next morning to provide a temporary shower cap type cover to the skylight and inspect the roof. Turns out the impact of the hit made the roof material ripple and buckle. It also smashed the gutter on the back of the house. An inspection by our insurance company confirmed the findings. We needed a new roof!
Now, as many of you know, when you buy a house with a flat or low slope roof, we always tell you to put your roofer on the speed dial because you will need it! Seams let loose, flashing pulls away, limbs or other debris can puncture. It just happens. Good news is, it is relatively easy to put band aids on this type of roof. Bad news is that a new membrane roof is very expensive. We bought our house in the fall of 1997. Our roof is in two distinct parts – a lower part over our bedrooms and a higher part over the living areas and garage. We knew when we bought the house that the higher part of the roof was in bad condition. THE Roofing has been putting band aids on it for us for much of the last 15 years. The bedroom portion of the roof was newer and had never given us a bit of trouble until that fateful Sunday….
So with a broken skylight and an insurance check for a partial roof in hand, we decided to bite the bullet and put a new roof on the whole house, and I am kind of heartbroken about it. Don’t get me wrong – I am excited about not waking up during a rain storm and wondering if I hear water dripping into the house. But along with a new roof comes ‘new’ roof technology. Our current roof is some sort of built up material covered in white marble chips. Because our house is in a heavily wooded setting, the marble chips are more like petri dishes for moss, and it is impossible to keep all of the leaves, acorns and sticks off of the roof. Believe me, Arlen tries, but it is a losing battle. But our house sits down below the street level and the roof is very visible from the street. I am so hesitant to change the look of the house with a sleek rubber membrane roof. We could put the marble back on the roof over the new surface, but everyone (the roofer included) is talking me out of it. Arlen is ecstatic about a clean and clear roof surface, and new gutters that aren’t full of marble chips. So the plan is to do the membrane roof without rocks….
Then, as often happens with home ownership, I had an epiphany. If we were going to go to the trouble and expense of putting a new roof on the house, why not extend our garage and add a carport? For years, we had a boat in the existing parking spot next to our garage. But once we got rid of the boat and started parking cars there (we now have 3 young adult drivers in and out of the house), we realized that parking cars under Hawthorne trees where birds hang out is a terrible idea! What a mess! A carport would not only solve this problem, it would take our house back to its architectural roots of having an open carport (before the original carport was closed into a garage).
Fast forward 5 months. We are finally beginning construction. This simple idea was anything but. First, we realized that because of the way our house sits angled on our rectangular lot, we were going to be outside of the Amberley Village setback requirements. We applied for the variance the end of July, and had to wait until the September meeting to have our case heard by the Board of Zoning Appeals. Our wonderful neighbors did not object and our variance was approved on September 4. Architect Chris Magee got to work on the plans, which then had to be submitted to the village for approval, and then taken to the Hamilton County Building Department for a building permit. We picked up the permit last Wednesday, and our contractor started digging the post holes on Friday, October 12. Mind you, this is the simplest structure imaginable, and still all if this red tape!
Stay tuned to see how our roof and carport project progresses!