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Remodel adds custom touches

Home Maintenance Series
By: Paul Apfel Inside Lincoln Correspondent
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Martha and Tom Yanger have converted their Lincoln home from plain Jane to an impressive princess with impressive built-ins and upgrades to take advantage of location, location, location, three words often used by real estate professionals to describe the three most important factors in choosing a home. The Yangers purchased their Lincoln home in 2010. The home was originally built by Del Webb Corporation in the Sun City Lincoln Hills community and contained very few custom features but a spectacular view of the surrounding wetlands and distant Sierra foothills. When the house became available for sale in 2010, the Yangers, 30-year residents of Sacramento’s Pocket area; saw an opportunity and purchased it with the idea of making several changes. Initially relying on handymen and small individual contractors, the Yangers acted as their own general contractor, coordinating the efforts of many in an effort to change their new home. That, according to Martha Yanger, was a mistake. It cost more money than expected and involved considerable personal time. The Yangers are unanimous in their conclusion that, if there is one lesson to be learned from their major remodeling efforts, it is to hire a professional contractor to plan, coordinate and complete the project. Based on a recommendation from one of their kitchen cabinet suppliers, the Yangers interviewed and subsequently hired Carmichael-based Bradley Builders to plan and execute the remodel. Beginning this past January, Bradley Builders completed the major part of the remodeling by mid-June. Some work continues, with delays attributable primarily to product availability. J. T. Bradley, the contracting company’s owner and president, noted, “When I first met Martha, I saw she had a lot of individual projects to manage and I thought I could help as a single project manager to design and complete this job.” The Yangers agreed, adding, “We wanted this home to include features we have dreamed about for years and that we could live in comfortably as we get older.” Moving to a rental, the Yangers gutted the existing structures as part of the rebuilding effort. Carpeting and linoleum were ripped out, all kitchen appliances and cabinets were removed, and interior walls were moved and rebuilt. In addition, a front porch was eliminated as the kitchen and entry halls were enlarged, and new windows were added to the home’s great room to take advantage of the expansive views. Those added windows involved considerable effort as they were built into a load-bearing wall. The remodeled home contains several features designed to provide a comfortable lifestyle now and in the future when assistive devices, such as wheelchairs and walkers, might be required. Floors are now either wood or tile so mobility is not an issue. Martha Yanger chose an electric stovetop to replace the original gas appliance to eliminate any risks an open-flame appliance might pose. She now boasts that her new appliance is so efficient that she can boil water in 90 seconds or less. Kitchen improvements include a waist-high, wrap-around granite-covered counter that is just a little taller than a standard table, allowing for easy dining and, as the Yangers point out, “convenient newspaper reading as we enjoy our morning coffee.” Carrying the waist-high model forward, the Yangers installed a drawer-style dishwasher and a similarly designed microwave oven. Using these appliances eliminates the need for constant bending, a physical motion that can be problematic in later life. Martha Yanger’s East Coast roots played a role in designing a “mud room” entry from the garage. That existing entry was expanded and cabinets added for storage. Adding to the cozy environment is a new rock fireplace in the great room. To take advantage of the expansive views, a slider was added to the master bedroom and new windows and doors added across the back of the house. The Sierra foothills now fill the view from Tom Yanger’s study, the kitchen-great room combination and the master bedroom. Bathrooms received new shower enclosures plus grab bars and towel racks for additional user safety and stability. The rear patio was replaced as part of the current remodeling project. Next up is the landscaping in front of the house. Bradley lauded the Lincoln building department for its efficiency and willingness to work with him. “The staff was always courteous and friendly, traits I occasionally find in short supply with some governments I work with,” Bradley said. The Yangers have abandoned their rental home and moved back into the newly remodeled home, although the absence of furnishings gives the impression that this remains a work-in-progress. Martha Yanger pointed out that they gave their old furniture to a son and are now awaiting the delivery of new furniture to complete the project. When asked if this was the end of the project, both Yangers merely smiled.