Meeting with the architect

I feel so official and fancy just saying it.

“Oh, I have to leave work on time today, I’m meeting with our architect.”

“Oh the architect is going to stop by to take a look at the layout.”

“Oh, the architect needs to see the survey they did of the house (pictured above!).”


We get on a train and then on a bus to get to the office in the ass-end of queens (i.e. Fresh Meadows) and we arrive at the same time as our expediter. Luckily, we are both half an hour late (train to bus is brutal!).

We shake hands and she leads us upstairs.

The architect is casual and cool and knows a lot. Between him and the expediter, we get a good picture of how it’s going to go.

Apparently, Brooklyn is poppin’. What would normally take 2-3 days in another borough to file for building permits is going to take 1-2 months in Brooklyn because everyone is building.

Of course, our expediter’s got a guy, and seems pretty confident in general that she can work the system for us so two months is on the high end of the time line. Hopefully. With a house like ours, who knows.

We talk the architect through changes we want to make, walls we want to put up and knock down, and learn some pretty random rules about putting up rooms (extra rooms can’t be more than 80 sq feet in a basement for instance, wtf).

He is going to come see the house on Thursday or Friday.

In the meantime, I ask, what can we do while we wait for this permit to come through?

We draw up a list:

– clear existing sidewalk lien, which could take 2-3 weeks anyway
– clear an unsafe building violation
– clean out the trash in the house
– exterminate!
– get electrical and plumbing checked out
– check for asbestos
– and of course, pick out all the flooring molding kitchen cabinets lighting that we want to go up
– clear one lingering environmental board fine

I think this two months might go by pretty fast.

We say our goodbyes and i write a retainer check ($1,500 of a $4,000 architect and permit fee – this is on the less expensive end!) and luckily catch a cab (who knows what it was doing all the way out there, but we were so grateful we gave him a $5 tip).

Now it’s time to coordinate the shit out of everything. Have contractor send in a change order for the architect fee so I can get my money back, get the proposal, copy of check, and invoice so I can get my money back, set up time for exterminator to come through, clean out the house (big time!). Also, the laundromat next door to us randomly shut down and left a literal mountain of garbage against the side of our house. We are assuming we will be taking out their trash now too. Here’s hoping something awesome move in instead.

And lastly, make friends with our new neighbors so they don’t complain about all the madness that’s about to go down.


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