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After Two Years, Couple Has Dream House
January 23, 2005
By Cyndi Lieske - The Livingston County Press and Argus
The 1970s ranch-style home on Coon Lake Road in Genoa Township that Chuck and Monika Ealovega inherited from Chuck's parents presented some unique challenges when they decided to expand and renovate it.
The home was on a small lakefront lot, and the Ealovegas were living in Florida when they decided to make changes to the small, outdated home, said builder Paul McClorey of Paulson's Construction Inc. of Howell.
"It is a big process to do what they did," McClorey said. "It's not your typical remodel -- it took close to two years. With them being on a lake and with such a small lot, it's highly regulated as far as what you can do."
Relocation of a septic field from the back yard to the front yard was one of the big hurdles at the start of the project. McClorey said changes due to health department regulations and going through an appeals process added several months onto the work.
Rebuilding the home only took about six months. The result is a spacious 3,200-square-foot, two-story home with three large bedrooms, two bathrooms, a library, a covered porch and two balconies.
"We just love it," said Chuck Ealovega. "My wife calls it a dream home. It is a completely different house than it was originally."
At 1,400 square feet, the original dwelling had three small bedrooms and small windows. Getting rid of those small windows was a priority for the Ealovegas.
"When the original house was built, they didn't take full advantage of the lake at the back of the house and the pond at the front of the house," Chuck Ealovega said. "We said, 'We want bigger windows.'".
From their home in Palm Harbor, Fla., the Ealovegas gave the green light for the renovation project.
Over the next several months, McClorey was the go-between for the couple. He obtained the permits they needed in place before the work could begin. Once the paperwork was completed, McClorey was able to start work.
The couple kept the original brick on the home, but little else on the finished home resembles the original.
"The house was gutted," McClorey said. "Then we added out on the front and out on the back."
While the work was ongoing at the house, the Ealovegas were wrapping things up in Florida. They sold their home in Florida quickly, so Monika continued to live there while the couple's son finished school there. Chuck took an apartment in Howell while the work was taking place on the house.
Chuck Ealovega said one of the best things about the renovation is the increased function it brought to the home. He made changes to the home after recognizing all the wasted space in his large home in Florida.
"We had this huge house built," Ealovega said. "It was about 3,330 square feet. We found that some of the rooms couldn't be used as they should be used."
In the new home, all of the space is put to good use, he said. He credits McClorey with helping envision a home the family could live and work in.
"He was very innovative and had good suggestions," Ealovega said. "We worked together very well. The end product is something we are very, very pleased with."
A bonus with the project is that the house is now much more economical to heat, Ealovega said. The home was converted to natural gas heat with the renovation, he said.
"We had electric heating, which was about $350 a month," he said. "I had it on low just in the basement two rooms at either end of the house so the pipes wouldn't freeze."
The heating bills are much more reasonable now, he said.