Today is a big day for the Extreme Home Reno contest winner, Susan O’Connor, as it’s Demolition Day!  After the dust settles, Susan’s home will be transformed to provide her with a fully accessible home.

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For the past few years, my wife, Heather and I, like most parents of a disabled child, began having discussions about the long term living options for our daughter, Susan. For the most part, I was in denial… my body wasn’t and wouldn’t age and Susan would never put on any weight. At some point, a long way down the road, we would downsize to a bungalow or condo with Susan and everything would go as always. Heather had long ago given up on carrying Susan up and down the stairs to and from her bedroom and was certain that it was only a matter of time before I was unable to bear that task. Heather, proactively began researching some real options. One of those options was getting an estimate from MacLellan Contracting for a renovation moving Susan’s bedroom from the 2nd floor to the main floor of our house. One of the facts of life in families with a special needs child is that those families are, by and large, single income and money is a huge factor in any decision. Money was the main factor in not making the renovation at that time (approx. 5 years ago). The plans and estimate were kept, though.
 
Through the years we had become clients of Durham Medical. Most recently, they had built Susan’s newest wheelchair to best suit her needs. Great serving companies do very well in any business, but when they serve a high needs clientele exceptionally well, those companies are golden.  Durham Medical is one of those golden companies. It is not surprising that for their 30th anniversary, they chose to give the best gift of all … a $30000 Accomodation Renovation. The rules for receiving the gift would be that people would write a submission explaining what their needs were as well as what the impact of the renovation would mean for their life. Durham Medical formed a committee of community and ‘in the business’ volunteers that would review the applications and narrow the field to a handful of the most viable submissions and then allow the randomness of a drawing at their 30th Anniversary celebration to select the winning submission. Heather wrote a fantastic submission which included the previous estimate (with drawings etc) from MacLellan Contracting (who, as it turns out, are the company that would be performing the actual renovation). In the randomness of the draw, SUSAN WON. Susan was going to continue to live in the only home she’d ever known for as long as she can tolerate us for(haha). You can’t put a price on HOME.

Brian O’Connor

Just before 9AM on Monday April 7, 2 pickup trucks( 1 with the MacLellan trailer hitched behind), pulled up to our house. Out stepped 2 heroic-looking renovation specimens, Dave and Darrell. They came in and toured the area they were going to be working in. Natalie Sims from Durham Medical came in to take some pictures, talk to Dave and Darrell about the work and pat our dog, Lady. Dave and Darrell then pulled out the drawings that John MacLellan had made detailing the work to be done. They started laughing and said it took a combination of genius and technical talent to convert his drawings to the beautiful digs that were going to result from the renovation. I’m just kidding with you, John, they said you were the best boss a guy could ever have, and everything you say and do is perfect. So in true carpenter fashion, Dave and Darrell measured everything twice and demolished the current area once. I found out there truly is an art to demolition. An assortment of power saws, gentle hammer smashes, pry bar work and elbow grease had the area torn down in a day. They’ve set a new bar for work accomplishment for me in our house. Now, Heather will say, why can’t you accomplish in a day what those guys accomplished. Thanks guys!!!

Brian O’Connor