When Timothy Perryman's truck was broken into last year, the contractor called the police. While there's no justification for some punk's criminal actions, Perryman found a big silver lining when Officer Tony Novak came to take the report.
Novak had been thinking about remodeling his home.
"It's been a lifelong dream," Novak said of updating the 1898 house he's lived in for 20 years. "I wanted the epic kitchen ... the master bath ... the dream house. I always wanted to live in this neighborhood (and) the neighbors didn't want me to move."
Instead of a piece-by-piece improvement project, Novak consulted an architect and decided to do everything at once. Although, "at once" will mark its one-year anniversary during the first week of August, according to Perryman.
But the timing worked out since Novak's sister was between tenants for a nearby rental property. Demolition work started in November.
"There were some structural issues. It was almost a full teardown. Some of the existing walls had to be reframed," Perryman said of the 119-year-old structure. "The way they supported the ceiling joists and floors really taught me a lesson about how they built houses back then."
According to Novak, "the city inspector has never seen a remodel this size that wasn't related to fire damage."
The old house had an entryway with a hallway leading in to the rest of the house, a narrow stairwell on the right and a small front room on the left. Now a visitor walks in to see the stairs are wider and everything else is completely open to the far wall.
A 75-inch television is on the wall of the living area and a farm table will separate that space from the stone wall that holds the aquarium.
"That was the biggest lesson I learned. When and where you buy," Novak said. " I saved money staying local because throughout (the project) I'd keep hitting places for deals," Novak said. "I was able to do this by paying $2.99 for tile instead of $12.99."
Behind the stone wall and aquarium is a cabinet so Novak can clean the fish tank and store all of the supplies his dog needs. The rest of the back half of the first floor — which has porcelain tile for the dog — is taken up by the kitchen where Novak plans to spend much of his time.
"I love to cook. I watch all the shows and think 'I'd love to have a kitchen like that.' If I hadn't been a cop I would've been a chef," Novak said.
Some of Novak's cooking utensils will be about the only items to return to the refurbished house. He opted for top-of-the-line stainless steel appliances. Though Novak declined to reveal the total cost of the project, he spent $15,000 on appliances.
"Some people spend that on cars or guns, depending on what they're into. This is what I'm into," he said. "I have a kitchen now I wouldn't trade. I'll never walk into someone's house and wish I had a stove like that."
Upstairs the bathtubs and bedrooms are being redone and a modern HVAC has been installed. But a larger second floor was the biggest challenge during the project, Perryman said.
"Tony and I had to go in front of the zoning board to raise the roof line 8-feet 6-inches," he said. "For all the paperwork and the process it was about a two-month delay to put a full-size second floor."
Another challenge for Perryman was installing the second-floor windows over one long weekend so Novak had measurements to take advantage of a "once-in-a-lifetime" deal on blinds.
"The work he's done has been incredible. People have been watching the process. He's gotten four or five other jobs from this and he deserves even more," Novak said.
Novak had his own challenge upstairs when his interior decorator selected a smaller sink for his laundry room than he'd anticipated.
"The counter space would be good, but I realized my boots wouldn't fit. I called the counter guys who said they could cut it for a larger sink, but (there would be) a $380 difference," he said. "My budget was the most important thing, but I don't want to think every time I'm going downstairs for the next 20 years I should've gotten a bigger sink."
"If you can make your home where you want to be on vacation because you've worked hard enough and saved enough, you've accomplished something," he said.
Novak plans to have an open house early next month where many of the vendors he used will send representatives. He said many of the guys he works with have joked how they plan to keep their wives from seeing his kitchen improvements.
"I thought for a bit as a police officer that everyone's going to know where I live, but I want people to see the work they did," Novak said. "I'm a police officer. I'm proud of my house. I'm proud to live in this community in Joliet. I think people should know that."
Source: The (Joliet) Herald-News, http://bit.ly/2uKgEe0
Information from: The Herald-News, http://www.theherald-news.com/
This is an AP-Illinois Exchange story offered by The (Joliet) Herald-News.