Our Net-Zero Home in Long Beach, California

Living the Change We Want to See in the World

  • Who Knew?

    We bought the house next door to where we live. The original owners of that house Ed and Virginia Christensen, were both alive, active, and retired when we bought our current house at the end of 1993. As related to us by Virginia, she and Ed built the house before World War II and raised their family of three children there. They expanded the house to its last configuration with the help of a local oil company. Their house was also one of the first houses in our heighborhood.

    Ed preceded Virginia in death. After Virginia passed away we did not have any contact with the people that moved into the house. We found out after we purchased the house, that the parents of a single mother bought the house for their daughter and granddaughter and they were the last residents of the house that the Christensen's built. What we didn't know was the true condition of the house.

    The listing for the house read:

    LOCATION! FIXER Worth looking at! Nestled between Marine Stadium and the Colorado Lagoon in Prime Alamitos Heights! Lovely, quiet, tree-lined street. Surrounded by million dollar properties! Construction Loan Easy & Available! Sold "As Is". Private Showing with easy Appointment! Come Dream the Possibilities! California Distinguished Schools & all freeway access.

    The key phrase was, "Construction Loan Easy & Available!"

    We somewhat unwhittingly bought a complete tear-down. The roughly 75 year-old house was literally falling down. This met our needs very well but we were surprised that the house was in such poor condition.

    Also, the lot has a radically different grade than our current lot despite being next door to us. Retaining walls on the north and east boundaries of the property are in poor condition and concerned some of the deconstruction and demolition contractors who we contacted for bids to remove the existing house. Adding to the complexity of the project was the 10-foot deep in-ground swimming pool that we needed to remove.

    So began our year-long journey of removing the house.

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