Sandee's stroke was over two and half years ago and her broken hip
just a year ago. After her stroke the advice was not to make any changes
to our home for at least a year to see what she would be able to and not
able to do.

We had been sleeping in what used to be our dining room for two years
and it was convenient as it was adjacent to our kitchen. Our thought was
to create a new bath in a portion of what used to be our living room and
use what was left as a bed room.  It was a 12 by 22 foot space with four
large windows providing lots of light and we did not really use it since we
added a family room in 1975 as part of a sizable addition to the original house. 

Since windows were an integral part of the project, I visited LaPelusa
Home  Improvement in nearby Niles, IL, a Pella dealer, whose signs I'd seen
often in Park Ridge. Tony LaPelusa Sr., the founder and president of the firm
agreed to come look at our situation. He seemed genuinely concerned at Sandee's
situation and promised to see if he could come up with a design that would meet
her needs. His initial thought was that we should use both the living room and
dining room space to make a super suite, but I asked him to limit himself to the
existing living room as we wanted to reclaim the dining room for holiday meals
that were a Main family tradition dating back to 1944. That's right, 1944 was
when my parents and I moved into this home and we had been using the dining
room at least twice a year since then.

Early the next morning Mr. LaPelusa called and said he had worked on design
alternatives at home and thought he had one that met Sandee's needs. He offered
to come right over and show us and we agreed.  Within a hour he was at our family
room table showing us the design he had come up with overnight. To our amazement,
it did seem to meet all her needs.

The neat thing about the design was putting the lavatory outside
the bathroom and next to a window providing natural light. Her
closet was included in the design and it was all wheel chair
accessible with the large circle representing the five foot diameter
clearance needed to turn a wheel chair around. How the bath
fit into the bedroom/bath suite is shown below:

We signed a contract with LaPelusa in mid October and told him
it would be ok with us to work during the Christmas holidays.
By mid November we were getting anxious and decided to start
clearing out the area of the living room where the bath would be.
My parents had bookshelves and cabinets built in the the late
1940s and "stuff" had accumulated in them for almost 60 years.


Our son-in-law John, a really handy and talented guy, was able to carefully
remove the book shelves and cabinets in four big sections. We stored them
in the garage with the hope that we will be able to reuse them in what will
again be our dining room. Just before Thanksgiving I sent the picture below
to Tony LaPelusa telling him that we were so anxious to get started that we
started with out them.

While it is hard to visualize, the two trash cans are about where the sink would
be and the bench in the right foreground is about where the shower would start.
True to his word, Tony LaPelusa had a large crew start with our new windows
on the Monday of Christmas week and by mid week they did the remaining
demolition work and began framing the new space.

Framing was completed between Christmas and New Years and shortly after
the first of the year plumbing and electrical were roughed in. Then came dry
wall and taping followed by installation of a tile floor and tilling of the shower
during the third week of January. The new shower was so fantastic we begged
to have the plumbers come back to install the shower fixtures so Sandee could
begin to use it.  The plumbers came through for us and we both began using
the shower as it was ready and far more convenient that trekking to our 2nd floor.
The shower seat and grab bars are just what Sandee needs and Mac was delighted
to find a CTA map for our shower curtain.


By the end of January the carpenters had completed the finishing work and we waited
for the painter and then the Pergo flooring installers. We had hoped to refinish the original
wood floors, but the length of that process and the sad condition of the original floors
made Pergo a much better choice for us.

Mr. Tony LaPelusa Sr. and all the LaPelusa Home Improvement people have
been a joy to work with. We are delighted with all they have done for us and
will almost miss getting up early to greet their crews. However, the new space
will be great for Sandee to get up and start her day while Mac sleeps in.

This view from the street shows the new windows on the original house and how
well they match the older Pella windows used in the now 30 year old addition.

By Valentine's day we'd gotten pictures hung and again made the space "home"
with some of our favorite treasures.


What's left is to get the salvaged book shelves and cabinets from the old
living room reinstalled in what again is the dining room. It's nice to have
the dining room back, but the book shelves will provide the space for the
"stuff" we've had boxed since mid-November.

The day before Easter son-in-law John got the cabinets and shelves
installed in the dining room. I think they look great and Sandee thinks
they need to be repainted. So, it's a standoff and the stuff is still in boxes
as the debate continues. Perhaps I'll relent and paint the fronts or perhaps
we will call the painter back and have the whole dining room painted as
well as the book shelves and cabinets. Time will tell, but Easter diner in
the dining room was delightful for the eight of us. Nine with Nora, but
she's not ready for a high chair much less a real chair at the table.

BIG NEWS........April 7th, we rearranged the furnture in the bedroom and
much to my delight found we had room for our king size bed! We called
Mark and he and a helper responded within hours and  made the switch.
So, after two and a half years, we have our king size bed back and even
Paxson appreciates the additional space.

April 20, 2005 we are finished. I called the painter and he was just home from
the hospital and recovering from heart surgery. Said he could do our job in
about a month, so.........I had to paint the shelves and cabinets. All the boxes
have now been unloaded and the shelves are filled. Too many picutres of the
first grandchild and too few of the other two, but that's life. We're glad to be done!

Last updated 4/20/05