HRRC workshops make home remodel affordable

The half-bath after renovation. Photo by Larry Coleman.

Larry Coleman returned with his wife Lisa Lock, to his home town of Cleveland Heights in 2006 after 27 years away, purchasing a house on Scarborough Road just west of Lee Road. Built in 1917, the house had undergone a major remodeling in the 1930’s, with the addition of glass block walls, rounded corners, and other art deco features. Since then, however, the house had been let go, and was now a “serious fixer-upper” with more than 80 point-of-sale violations.

Early on, Coleman discovered the hands-on workshops offered by Home Repair Resource Center. He enrolled in electrical and plumbing classes and started to work remodeling the five bathrooms in his house, none of which were in working order. Coleman, who describes himself and his wife as “pretty adventurous,” jumped right into the one that was least problematic, and moved on to more serious remodeling – including completing a half-bath that literally started out as a hole in the floor.

Perhaps their biggest project was the kitchen, a project that involved gutting walls, creating an entryway, and constructing a countertop, in addition to plumbing and electrical work. Coleman credits HRRC’s workshops with preventing problems, although he admits to making a few mistakes along the way. Even with those errors, he is sure that doing the work himself was much cheaper than hiring a professional, and he takes satisfaction in how his skills have improved. 

Coleman also learned plaster repair at HRRC. Although he repaired walls throughout the house, he adamantly declares that he “hates plaster.” So, for the ceilings he designed a system of removable OSB panels that provide easy access to run new electrical, water and drain lines for the bathrooms above and fit nicely with the décor of the home.

Self-described “perfect green citizens,” Coleman and Lock are regular customers of the Habitat for Humanity Re-Store and have given new life to items “rescued” from tree lawns. Their current project is the master bath, where Coleman removed an old ceramic shower stall and opened up the area for a Jacuzzi tub, installed electrical and plumbing lines, and is now designing the surround and counters. 

“Training in art teaches you to think out of the box,” he explains, when asked about his approache to a project. A professional photographer and videographer, who also studied industrial design, he is willing to experiment with new materials in different ways. He thanks HRRC for helping him to bring to life the vision he and his wife have for their home.

Becky Stager, home repair education program coordinator at HRRC since 1989, is always excited when workshop attendees use the skills they learn to improve their home.

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Volume 3, Issue 7, Posted 10:04 AM, 06.14.2010