Dream of Home

March 10, 2010

For those that don’t know, over the past two years I have had an ever-expanding vision of my next home (the picture above is NOT it although my own Trailer Park Taj Mahal would be totally cool as well). 

I plan to build a warehouse with a two-story, climate controlled ‘build-out’ that takes up maybe 20-25% of the interior footprint (within which the boys and I will have the more customary features of the typical home – bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchen, etc.) as well as the more traditional warehouse space for all the fantastic and crazy projects I’ve always wanted the elbow room and concrete floors to embark upon (taking a welding class as soon as possible and I’ve always wanted to carve a totem pole for some reason).  The boys – while no strangers to big, messy habits, hobbies and dreams – have also lobbied for zip lines, a movie screen, stage, pool ping-pong and air hockey tables, go-carts, cat walks, fireman poles and/or slides from our bedrooms, and a hunting blind from which we can hunker down during our Nerf gun wars.  (To conserve floor space for dancing and whatnot, we plan to hang our gargantuan, fully decorated – and perhaps, somehow, fake – Christmas tree upside down from the ceiling.)  Needless to say, there will be plenty of room for my friends and loved ones to fulfill a space-challenged fantasy or two as well.

As Houston is littered with old warehouses, at first I thought I’d just find one, buy it and make it fit the dream.  But the more I have looked and learned and thought, the more inclined I have become to build from the ground up exactly what we (boys and I) think we want from the get-go.  This is not to say I would not consider buying an existing building, but there would have to be a lot of stars lined up exactly right to convince me it was the best idea.  (And no way if Mercury is in retrograde at the time!)

While I’m guessing there are number of people who, given the prospect of months of potentially exhausting cancer treatment, would take Gabe and Jack aside and say,

“I know, I know.  You’ve both been such patient angels, but now is just not a good time to start this project.  Maybe next year.  Ya know.  If I live.

But quite honestly, I can’t think of a better time to do it.  I mean, if life really is a crapshoot, might as well get out there and shoot some crap!

Besides, because every last person on the face of the earth seems to want to help me somehow here lately, I figured it would be a shame to not enlist at least this collective network (that would be all of you…) and all your hidden know-how, know-who and/or know-where.  Not to mention, someone once asked me how I could possibly live with myself, being as selfish as I am.  She said,

“All these people want to help you and you would actually deny them the pleasure of helping you?!  Pure, unadulterated, selfishness – that’s what that is.”

I guess I’m learning.

So, here’s what I figure I may need first.  Having never done this before, please feel free to correct me if you think I am wrong.

1.  I am looking to buy a piece of land, preferably 8 to 10k SF, inside the 610 Loop.  Cheap.  Super cheap preferably. I’ll look at anything, anywhere within this boundary.

2.  I need to know who builds the least expensive, yet best, pre-fab steel building/warehouse.  Also, I need to know who builds the least expensive, yet best, custom steel building/warehouse.  Maybe the same, maybe not.

3.  I need the services of the most forward-thinking, innovative, and energetic, architect that any one of you may have ever met, monopolized or married, that is also committed to sourcing and procuring as much free building material* as humanly possible.  Again, cheap is good.  Free would be heaven on earth (and I will consider trading studio space inside the warehouse if that would sweeten the pot.)

4.  Most importantly, I need your commitment, even just as a cheerleader, to this wacky dream of mine.  I actually can’t do this on my own, not with the schedule I will be keeping this year.  But I feel it is essential I keep making progress on the project and would be truly grateful for any advice, contacts, friends, research, foreclosure or land auction purchase education, alerts to free stuff on Craig’s List or great heavy trash day or old-house-being-gutted hauls – anything!

For the sake of everyone on the list, I guess you should email me directly if you have ideas, resources or the like(tinaborja AT hotmail DOT com).  Then again, for the sake of the collective enthusiasm and brainstorming of everyone on the list, I’ll just let you guys decide where to post.

Have I mentioned that I love you all – even if I don’t know you – today?


* Before selling the house on 32nd street last year, my original plan was a barn-like studio in my big backyard constructed entirely of ‘found’ materials i.e. put out on the curb for heavy trash and/or builder leftovers picked up for free.  I still have a shed full of windows and doors I picked up in years past and still like the idea of ‘found’ materials.  Check this guy out – Dan Phillips – builds amazing houses this way… http://www.phoenixcommotion.com/.


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