Hello from the best city in the world, Chicago, Illinois.
Where life isn’t always a bouquet of flowers, the weather sometimes sucks, the music is HOT or COOL, depending on the night, and on your coordinates. Spring is the best time of the year, and coincidentally lasts for about a week, and the wind blows off of a lake that looks like an ocean.
It’s been my home for just about 3 decades, and I couldn’t imagine living anywhere else.
I am a working artist, have been for about 2 of those 3 decades, and for the past 8 years in the field of entertainment production. It’s fabulous, and hard, and magical, and discouraging. It's 13 steps forward and 14 steps back, and then 4 steps more… to the side.
Covid inspired, I decided I was ready to take on an aspirational project.
I was going to become the General Contractor for the build of a full functioning
house in Chicago
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Due to a need for affordable housing, in May 2021, Chicago’s city council opened up the permitting process for ADU (Accessory Dwelling Units) for the first time in generations. This new permit process covers attic dwellings, basement dwellings (commonly known as ‘in-law flats or suites’), and free-standing coach houses.
I am going to be chronicling my experience in applying for, managing, and building one of Chicago’s iconic ‘Coach Houses’, aka Carriage Houses, aka little house behind a big house.
Artist rendering of the new property.
To find out more about coach houses, take a few moments to view Geoffrey Baer’s nickel tour of Chicago Coach Houses. The what and why.
Within the virtual confines of this website, you will find details of resources, how-to, how-not-to, blog posts, photos and videos of the process that I have been through and will continue to go through, and general things that I deem as pertinent to the conceiving of and building a Chicago Coach House, last seen as legally permissible in 1957.
I have it on good information that I may very likely be the VERY FIRST person to build a stand-alone coach house in Chicago in about 65 years. That's kinda cool.
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It’s been a ride, that’s for sure, and the ride is far from over.
Maybe you’re interested in looking into this for your own purposes? Dive in!
Maybe you have an interest in the project management that something like this involves? Right this way!
Maybe you want to start off with a shortcut to some resources for doing this or some other construction project? Here you go!
Maybe you just want to read up on how an erstwhile bartender, babysitter, and bathroom cleaner took up the mantle of being a General Contractor for the construction of a WHOLE HOUSE in the city of Chicago, tripped, fell, and got back up again. Come on in... the water is fine!
Information will be added daily, as time allows. Most will be chronological, some backdated to fall into line, some will be misspelled. I’ll do my best!
Articles, facts, figures, and everything else along the way...