I finally bought a property in Miami that I like...took two years in the
A very unique house built in 1974, all the rooms opens to the interior
courtyard with a pool. It is very dated so it needs some work, but
everything in there seem to be state of the art at the time. Has alarm
system, recessed-into-the-wall microwave, toaster, and can opener,
commercial grade kitchen, but it has a lot of "weird" things the inspector
cannot figure out, All rooms have a central vac opening, all rooms has a
heat censor, some rooms have two intercom units? why? There are two secret
safes built into the floor, but no one has combinations. There is a huge
oil tank (yes oil not gas) in the back, the wall has a hidden compartment
and when opened revealed radios, 8-track tape players and old vinyl record
players, there is a switch labeled "RUG" which no one knows what it means,
there is a pump underground which seems to indicate it pumps it's own sewer
into the city sewer line, but why? Roof pitches inward to the courtyard but
there is a gulley that drains underground to somewhere... a lot of strange
things and the current owner is an elderly who had a stroke and cannot
remember anything and is now staying at a nursing home.
I did hear from his daughter the house was built by an architect as his own
home in 1974, and later sold to the current owner in 1985. City does not
have any records before 1980, so how can i get original plans? Any
architect database that may show information on the architect given the
address? It is obviously a custom designed home.
You have to be kidding me. The city of Miami must be keeping microfilm
records before the 80's.
The city of Seattle does. I am originally from Miami and know that the city
building department by now must be very Information Technology up to date.
See if the main library can point you towards the City's archives
-- they often take over old plans, etc. that have been cleared
out by the planning/buildings department.
At the very least, they might hold some written record -- a case
file, or minutes of a committee meeting -- which records the
formal approval; that which might mention who the applicant was.
Architectural and topographical historian
OK I did some homework and here is what I found. Called Miami County
Buildings Department again and they confirmed that there is no record
whatsoever on the property except for a gas line permit in 1999. They
looked it up and it says the house was built in 1972. All records on
or before 1972 they had a "virus" that attached the microfilm and they
were deteriorated to the point that they had to be destroyed. So
nothing from thr county.
Next I check ownership transactions and got the name of the original
owner, then entered that into the Florida department of professional
regulations and got a match! architect but license suspended 10 years
ago, but has a forwarding address in another state, traced that until I
got a current physical address and number ... so I called. He is now
retired and no plans, threw everything out when he closed his business.
he did answer some questions for me...walls are plaster walls, the
"RUG" switch is to turn on an alarm which is activated by weight,
somewhere beyond the rug is a weight sensor which is part of the floor
and if someone walks in the silent alarm will arm...the hugh exhaust
fan was because he got one free from a friend who owns a
restaurant...but he is in his high 80s does not remember much either.
So now, it seems there is no way to get a set of plans for this place.
Any other source anyone can think of?
Possible mortgage history. Some mortgage companies kept plans of the houses
they had mortgages for.
If you can track names or owners you might be able to get plans from one of
That sounds like your best bet and if that doesn't work you might just be
out of luck. It is just one case of, you will find out what the house
contains and what it is built of by just going head with plans and adjust
when you find out what is behind all the finishes. That sometimes could be
very costly. If you don't want to go forward with what you find you will
have to put the finishes back. On the other hand you will go ahead with the
changes but modified because of what was found. Just a few things to think
This is just a personal peeve here, but:
Not "dated" - "retro chic" <g!>
Pre-existing stuff someone likes is "retro chic" or, if old enough,
Seriously, though, "dated" is a word I'm sick of - from what I can tell,
it's simply a shorthand way of saying "anything old is bad". Also, many of
the so-called "updates" are not automatically "better". I saw a heck of a
lot of "updates" during house-hunting that were merely a case of taking out
old, wrecked stuff and replacing it with cheesy cheap junk from WalMart of
whatever. It wasn't "dated" but it was still something I'd've wanted to
rip out and replace, IOW, which merely added unnecessary cost to the house.
Not a huge mystery -
--The dual intercoms might have been set up so Mom could buzz both kids in
their rooms at the same time - or, one might have been set up as a radio
--The central vac opening in each room would allow you to use a shorter
hose - a super-long hose is still an eccumberance, and it also can still
chip the corners of walls/molding as it's dragged from room to room.
Especially the older hoses, which were pretty heavy. I haven't had a
central vac in many years but I'd assume they've gotten lighter. But the
old ones could chip the paint off wall corners. If a short hose was all
that would be needed, it'd be easier to take it into a room if you only had
to vacuum one.
Can't a locksmith figure that out and set new combinations?
Not uncommon in older places that had oil heat, especially in no-basement
That was "Way Kewel" at the time. So the above "2nd intercom" is possibly
Maybe as a sort of flood control..?
Sound to me like it might be a French Drain out to the street/sewer.
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