4 Things I’d Do to the Units Damaged by the Fire

It was very unfortunate what happened to the three Brittan Heights units that were severally damaged by the December 2014 fire. As of April 2015, these homes have been stripped down to the studs and are waiting to be put back together again. However, this might be an opportunity to perform a few upgrades at a minor cost since much of the demolition is already done and these places need to be put back together anyway. Below are my top four recommended changes to add value to these homes:

  1. Open the Kitchen: this is the obvious alteration most people love to have done to their units. It turns a closed off kitchen and incorporates it into the living room. Great for entertaining or just not feeling excluded.
  2. Get all dual pane windows: while it seems like most of the windows are missing already form these homes, get all dual pane windows. This includes the fixed windows and sliding glass doors. They make a difference in keeping the units quiet and regulate temperature well.
  3. Recessed Lights: the ceilings are off and the electrical is exposed, perfect time to add recessed lights in all rooms. Instead of depending on lamps in the bedrooms and living room, add them in now – especially a few in the hallway which can get so dark!
  4. Gas to the stove: I don’t know if the HOA will allow this addition, but it seems like it should be possible. The ceilings are off, perfect time to plumb in a gas line into the kitchen. You may not want to personally use gas, but bring it in anyway because one day if you decide to sell, this will make your unit very unique.

I would consider upgrades to the kitchen and baths such as wood cabinets and granite counters.


  • We live in this building and those units are getting depressing to look at… Any intel on when they’ll be done? We originally heard 6 months but obviously that is clearly not going to happen. There hasn’t been any work for at least a month- maybe more.

    • My information is that those units are more likely to be completed by the start of the new year. Yes 2016. As I previously wrote, it’s not just a simple process of rebuilding. There are different parties to deal with. The insurance needs to do its thing and come up with the repair cost, then architects and engineers may need to be hired to create drawings for permits to be issued, then contractors need to bid the job, which may involve renegotiating with the insurance again. Typically none of this happens in parallel, so it takes awhile.

  • To be clear, each of the 4 alterations suggested would require an Architectural Change Control request and prior approval by the Board, as they alter the structure, require intrusion into common area, or must meet specific standards / requirements. Not all ACC requests are granted. Owners who make changes without approval may be required to revert them at their own cost. In an extreme situation such as this, the review process can be expedited but must still occur.

  • There’s a lot to be said for NOT opening up the kitchen. In condos such as these, privacy and some normalcy in the living room is paramount. Privacy? from what goes on in the kitchen – cooking, high vent noises, messes, stacked dishes, washing dishes, prepping food, strong smells, ‘swearing’ (just kidding) – especially while entertaining! Unless you cater all meals, you can’t have a decent conversation with your guests, loved ones or yourself with an open kitchen. And how about privacy for the cook? Remember “I love Lucy” in the winnebago?

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