By Jocelyn Farrell
Just nine months after the firestorm devastated Sonoma County in October 2017, fire surviving families are beginning to return home and sit around their dinner tables once again. Take Art Ramirez, for example, whose home on Skyview Court was one of 1,200 homes that burned in the Coffey Park neighborhood of northwest Santa Rosa last October. Art is among the first of Coffey Park’s residents to walk through their new front doors, just in time to celebrate with a Fourth of July barbecue.
Since the fires, HybridCore Homes has had their office doors open to help fire survivors navigate the rebuilding process. While building a home can often be a daunting task, HybridCord Homes’ unique blend of off-site production with traditional on-site construction streamlines the process, without limiting the homeowners’ options. Though the company was founded in 2009, HybridCore Homes is playing a vital role in the rebuilding of Santa Rosa, enabling homeowners all over the city to rebuild their homes in a quicker and more cost-effective manner than other many other traditional “stick-built” options, while still maintaining the flexibility to customize their home as they desire.
With local labor and materials in high demand this year, the more that can be built off-site means the quicker the family can move into their completed home. This is part of what initially attracted Art, and many other homeowners, to the HybridCore Homes option. Though this is Art’s first time building a house, “the process has been fairly easy,” he remarked. “The whole HybridCore group was easy to work with and keep me up to date on the progress.”
Art’s home consists of two factory-build cores, each measuring fifty feet in length, and were lowered by crane onto the foundation in April. That in and of itself is an exhilarating part of the process for many. For Art, “it was exciting and incredible at the same time. My house was at least 70% done at that time.” Because the cores contain the kitchen and bathrooms — the more costly and time-consuming parts of a home to build — the builders have been able to compete the rest of the 1,480 square foot home in just three months.
Admittedly, there’s more to recreating a home than simply rebuilding a structure, and this is what many fire survivors find overwhelming about the process. Some homeowners are choosing to rebuild homes nearly identical to the original, some opt for minor improvements, and some prefer to begin with an entirely new floor plan. Art is among those who chose an entirely new floor plan, and while excited to get settled, he admits that there’s also some anxiety. “It’s a new place,” he said, “and it’s not yet mine.” Learning to call a new place “home” again can take some time for many fire survivors, but it’s a process that is filled with so much hope for what these next few months and years have in store for our community and for all those who experienced loss last October. Here at HybridCore Homes we are committed to standing beside you in that process and eagerly doing everything we can to get you and your loved ones back home again.