Sandee's stroke was over two and half years ago and her broken hip
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
create a new bath in a portion of what used to be our living room and
was left as a bed room. It was a 12 by 22 foot space with four
windows providing lots of light and we did not really use it since we
family room in 1975 as part of a sizable addition to the original
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
often in Park Ridge. Tony LaPelusa Sr., the founder and president of
agreed to come look at our situation. He seemed genuinely concerned at
situation and promised to see if he could come up with a design that
her needs. His initial thought was that we should use both the living
dining room space to make a super suite, but I asked him to limit
himself to the
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
alternatives at home and thought he had one that met Sandee's needs. He
right over and show us and we agreed. Within a hour he was at our
table showing us the design he had come up with overnight. To our
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
remove the book shelves and cabinets in four big sections. We stored
in the garage with the hope that we will be able to reuse them in what
again be our dining room. Just before Thanksgiving I sent the picture
to Tony LaPelusa telling him that we were so anxious to get started
started with out them.
While it is hard to visualize, the two trash cans are about where the
be and the bench in the right foreground is about where the shower
True to his word, Tony LaPelusa had a large crew start with our new
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
wall and taping followed by installation of a tile floor and tilling of
during the third week of January. The new shower was so fantastic we
to have the plumbers come back to install the shower fixtures so Sandee
begin to use it. The plumbers came through for us and we both
the shower as it was ready and far more convenient that trekking to our
The shower seat and grab bars are just what Sandee needs and Mac was
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
will almost miss getting up early to greet their crews. However, the
will be great for Sandee to get up and start her day while Mac sleeps
This view from the street shows the new windows on the original house
well they match the older Pella windows used in the now 30 year old
By Valentine's day we'd gotten pictures hung and again made the space
with some of our favorite treasures.
What's left is to get the salvaged book shelves and cabinets from the
living room reinstalled in what again is the dining room. It's nice to
the dining room back, but the book shelves will provide the space for
"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
as the debate continues. Perhaps I'll relent and paint the fronts or
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
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
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
the hospital and recovering from heart surgery. Said he could do our
about a month, so.........I had to paint the shelves and cabinets. All
have now been unloaded and the shelves are filled. Too many picutres of
first grandchild and too few of the other two, but that's life. We're
glad to be done!
Last updated 4/20/05