By the fall in 2006 we had purchased the first home to be sold in a future Del Webb "active senior community" in
. Our model featured
a separate "casita" (or granny flat) in front of the main house, a
perfect man cave as it was designed but in need of alterations to become a
suitable layout room. Hemet
At the time of purchase not a spade of dirt had been turned for this community. I asked if the builder would construct the casita without the dividing wall and other obstacles to having a full, open layout room. I was politely refused. This was 2006 and home builders were selling every home they built almost as soon as these were completed. No concessions to buyers were required. Two years later the housing bubble burst and at that point I could have asked for the same thing and gotten it.
I made plans for converting the casita to a layout room. In July 2007 we moved in and a track plan was completed in October. I found a reputable contractor who removed the partition wall, bathroom and closet, transferring all the new components to a rental unit he owned. The work was done in such a way that the room easily could be converted back into a living unit in the future. The resulting layout room was nominally 12 feet by 20 feet.
In February 2008 new carpet was installed and the walls were painted the obligatory sky blue. The ceiling was given another two coats of white paint following two coats of primer in the hope that I would never have to paint it again. The two, intrusive inward opening doors were replaced with a single sliding door.
The basic track plan ran around the walls and around a peninsula. Industries would line the walls and a citrus packing house district would be placed inside the peninsula. A swing gate would be built in front of the entrance.
The benchwork was set at 58 inches. At this height the trains would be viewed at nearly eye level for the average person. In a quest for a maximum layout area the aisle space narrows to 28 inches in several places. With the high benchwork there actually is more than 28 inches of clearance at belly level.
Benchwork construction began in March 2008. Much of the lumber came from previous layouts as these were built using screws rather than nails.