House moves in to Villa Park

A crane lifts half of the Phelps’ “granny flat” over daughter Melinda Phelps’ existing home into position in the back yard.

“Mom, here comes your house!”

And, yes, there was Jean and Lee Phelps’ new home, delivered to Via Bravo Street in Villa Park. Divided into two sections, it was ready to be craned over and settled behind daughter Melinda Phelps’ house.

Family, neighbors and on-lookers watched as the plastic was removed from the half-a-house, revealing a modern interior, with French doors, nine-foot ceilings, a fireplace, cabinets and bathroom in place. 

The crane then carefully hoisted the house half over Melinda Phelps' residence, deftly placing it onto a pre-constructed perimeter block wall.  The other half of the 1,083-sq.-ft. structure waited in the median of Lemon Street.    

The two-bedroom, two-bathroom “granny flat” was the perfect answer for Jean and Lee Phelps. The couple, who had celebrated their 63rd anniversary the day before, had resided on Villa Park’s Crestview Circle for 43 years. They wanted to downsize, yet remain close to their children and grandchildren. 

After searching fruitlessly for a suitable one-level home in the area, the Phelps found the answer in their own back yard: a prefabricated, one-level home built and customized to their specifications. The Phelps selected the layout and interior finishes, as well as the new home’s siding and shingles, which were tailored to match the existing home.

The process of craning the two sections over the younger Phelps' home was relatively quick: the house was situated in less than three hours.  (The crane operator said they do three and a half homes each week.) Jean Phelps, wearing a bright yellow hard hat, extolled the virtues of her new home, “It has everything we want, at half the price, and we will be close to our family. It’s perfect.”

Melinda Phelps was unaware of the new Villa Park ordinance requiring homeowners to live on the premises if they rent out a granny flat.  "That's OK," she said when she learned about it.  "This is family."

August 18