Second Story Renovation

2 story-house


A common problem among homeowners is when their family hits a growth spurt. Out of nowhere your current house quickly shrinks before your eyes. Bedrooms become cramped, square footage is eaten up, and privacy becomes an impossibility. The first instinct is to shop for a new home, but when the size of your family booms, so does your spending. So, financially, a new house may be out of the question, making room for only one solution: expansion. Though ground level additions are easiest, neighboring homes may butt up against one another, allowing for minimal development. But limitations can sometimes create interesting resolutions, and many times the only option is building up with a second-story remodel often referred to as a “pop the top” remodel. Before you begin though, here are some crucial steps to going vertical with your home. Since this is a large renovation, it’s vital to build it step-by-step. It’s important to determine its initial size: do you want a full bath, a bedroom, or more? Then the first step is to ask for permission. Visit your local zoning office and see if you’re allowed to build an additional story. Have in mind an estimate of the total height since most codes hinge upon the vertical length of a structure from the grade to the top of the roof. Next, visit the recorder’s office to see if your particular subdivision allows for a two-level addition: a lot of developers put restrictions on this renovation and it will usually be on the deed. If a second-story remodel is permitted, the next step is contacting trained professionals. Get a hold of a few contractors, tell them what you want to accomplish, and see if they fit the bill.

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House Renovation of Comfort Women’s House

Comfort women during second world war II

A local professor is asking the city to renovate a group of buildings used to house so-called Korean comfort women during Japan’s occupation of the city in the 1930s and 40s. He wants them turned into a museum to commemorate one of the toughest periods in the city’s history.

Shanghai’s Hongkou District

The five buildings in northern Shanghai’s Hongkou District were constructed in 1931, and housed so-called comfort women during the Second World War. The buildings were really just brothels, where Chinese women were forced to work as sex slaves for Japanese soldiers. Some historians say the Hongkou buildings might be the first such facilities ever set up by the Japanese military. Similar brothels, or comfort women houses, were set up in many parts of Asia controlled by Japan during the war. But the history of the Hongkou buildings has been all but forgotten by local residents, including those who have been living in them for more than 30 years. “I didn’t even know it was a comfort-woman house in the past until some people came here to visit and told me. I had no idea the building had so much historic significance,” said Ge Zhongshou. Historians want the buildings to be turned into a museum, offering a strong reminder of that terrible time in the city’s history. Now, people can still see Japanese-style wood carving and an old door panel left from that time. “After 13 years’ study, we found the city had nearly 150 comfort-women houses. Now, only one-fifth of them still exist. Nationwide, about 200,000 Chinese women were forced to be comfort women when the nation fell victim to Japanese intrusion in the 1930s and 40s,” said professor Su Zhiliang of Shanghai Normal University. Currently, there are more than 50 families still living in the five old buildings. Su says renovation is impossible until they move out. But that will require government investment and the amount could be huge. Some local residents say the investment is worthwhile. “It’s a good idea. But I think it would be even better to set up a bigger, comprehensive museum, not only based on the five buildings about comfort women, but more historic materials from the Seond World War,” said Chen Yan.The city now hosts two museums related to the Second World War, but neither is comprehensive. One in northern Baoshan commemorates the Songhu battle in 1932. And the other one in Hongkou focuses on Jewish refugees.

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