FAIRFIELD — “This is my dining room,” Jean Hamilton said as she gave a quick tour of her home-to-be. “That will be the living room.”
It still takes a little imagination to envision all of this. The wooden exterior walls of the house have gone up and the roof is in place, but the floor is concrete and interior walls have yet to be added to the framing. The sound of hammers could be heard inside on Tuesday morning.
Solano Napa Habitat for Humanity is building two houses at the corner of Acacia and Clay streets. One will go to Hamilton, the other to Lolita Parker.
Work started about three months ago. The 1,300-square foot, three-bedroom, two-bathroom houses are taking shape.
“You’re halfway done when it’s closed up and the doors are in and the windows are in,” said Jamie Calderwood, a former Benicia Middle School shop teacher who is one of the project’s construction managers.
These two homes are near to reaching what Calderwood considers the halfway point, the point where the outside is done and the inside work remains. Siding is starting to go up on the outside walls.
Hamilton presently lives in a two-bedroom apartment with her three grandchildren, ages 12, 14 and 15. It’s very crowded, she said.
“My grandson will finally have his own room,” said Hamilton, who has lived in Fairfield off and on since 1958. “Right now, the grandchildren are sharing a room.”
Habitat for Humanity requires those who are getting houses to put in 500 hours of “sweat equity” helping to build them. Hamilton has already done so. She mowed the field before building started and helped put up exterior walls.
She served as the “hostess” for the site Tuesday by checking in volunteers. She stood at a table near the sidewalk with a hard hat on. She may have completed the required sweat equity, but she’s still at the site on building days, which are Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.
“It’s been a thrill,” Hamilton said.
Parker works for MV Transportation and drives a Fairfield-Suisun Transit Authority bus, with her route going down North Texas Street a half-block from her home-to-be. She is a single mother with a 5-year-old son and three daughters, ages 13, 16 and 18. They live in a two-bedroom apartment, with the four youths in one room.
Her 18-year-old daughter Brandi Hill looks forward to the day when the new house is finished and home life becomes less crowded.
“I drive by here every day to just look and see the progress that’s being made,” Hill said.
Hill will be putting in some sweat equity of her own. Her construction experience might be limited to building a chair in high school shop class, but she can see herself doing such things as painting.
The houses wouldn’t be taking shape without plenty of volunteers.
Among them is Nell Teter, who at 79 is still willing to don a hard hat. On Tuesday, she helped measure the distance between studs.
“I am working and enjoying it,” she said with smile.
She seemed somewhat envious of the volunteers working on the roof. Heights, she said, are no problem for her.
Teter is a Habitat for Humanity veteran and a longtime friend of Hamilton. She used to work at Solano Community College, where Hamilton’s late husband worked.
Seventeen-year-old Ezequiel Rodriguez has also been putting in hours as part of an Armijo High School advanced building trades class. He’s done such things as install the small metal straps on the sides of the house to secure the structure against earthquakes and put plywood on the roof.
“Now I’m working with the electrician to get experience with that, because that’s what I want to do when I graduate from high school,” Rodriguez said.
The Habitat for Humanity building project in coming months should be entering the home stretch, but it’s not yet home free. More donations are needed to bring the two houses to completion.
Solano Napa Habitat for Humanity is looking for cabinets, plumbing materials, toilets, sinks, tubs, landscaping materials, fencing, flooring and light fixtures. It is also looking for cash donations. Each home costs about $150,000 to construct and another $30,000 is needed.
People who want to donate materials and money can call Executive Director Diane Agnone at 422-1948 or Development Director Kathy Hoffman at 644-5190.
Reach Barry Eberling at 427-6929 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/beberlingdr.