When life hands you a giant ball of flames…

February 4, 2018

Welcome! We are the Hamiltons, Kathy and Ed.

We have decided to start a blog to document our rebuilding process for our own records and to provide information for those going through the process (or at least thinking about it!).  If you have any questions, please leave a comment and we’ll do our best to answer.

Our custom-built house was located in the Vistara subdivision of Fountaingrove II East.  We are rebuilding the house according to the original design, but with updates for code upgrades and a few changes to improve what we felt were original design shortcomings.

Please feel free to email any questions or comments to me at: rebuild@tekberry.com


16 thoughts on “When life hands you a giant ball of flames…”

  1. This will be very valuable experience for us to learn, thank you so much for sharing this! I would like to follow your story and get updates on every step you move forward on your rebuilding. Wish you the best!

    1. Yes, this is hopeful and valuable information too! Thanks! And to avoid this ever happening again, you can now protect your rebuilt home with flame retardant by West Coast Fire Shield.

  2. Kathleen thank you for this information. I really appreciate your optimism and ability to rally and be organized and forward thinking in the midst of such a devastating loss.

  3. Thank you for your Blog. We are going to rebuild and need to know what we are facing. I think we have adequate funds; however, we need the will and fortitude. Your Blog should help us to move forward. THANKS!!!!

  4. Your blog is providing a helpful service for those yet to begin rebuilding. It’s also a great record of your process and progress, for your memoirs. Great job all the way around.

  5. Hi. Thank you for sharing this with everyone. We are a builder in the area, Sonoma Family Homes, our hearts and prayers are with everyone in the area and are looking forward to helping rebuild your community and give you your home back to begin new memories.

    Daniel Irvin

  6. Thank you for the great insight I am now trying to pick a home insurance company can you suggest a good company. Thank you for any help. Ann Hurst. I am so inspired by your forward thinking

    1. Ann, we were insured with State Farm. They have paid out 100% of our policy limits except for our contents coverage, which we are still negotiating. We, and many people we have heard from, regret that our policies did not reflect the current costs of rebuilding, which are in the $350-550 per square foot range. It appears some insurance companies paid out 100% of contents coverage without requiring a detailed inventory of everything that was lost (I have heard Chubb is one of those). At this time, State Farm is offering 75% of the contents limit without an inventory, but to get to 100%, you need to submit an inventory. I can only recommend that you shop around carefully, make sure you are covered realistically, and be covered for a worst-case scenario that you pray will never happen!

    2. Hi Ann,

      I am a builder and am working with a company called greenspan they are helping homeowners with there claims I can get you in contact with them if that would help. you can call me at 720-236-7780. They help make sure the insurance companies are giving homeowners everything needed to re-build

      thank you,


  7. Regarding contents coverage, I lived in the Oakland Hills in 1991, where the fires were stopped just 4 blocks from my house (I lived right above Montclair Village). I started an inventory, which I update every time I purchase something or get rid of an item, using categories like ‘Clothing’, ‘Kitchen’, ‘General Household’, ‘Art & Glass’, ‘Jewelry’, ‘Electronics’, ‘Tools’, etc. I even inventoried every book title. Using a #10 font, I have 35 pages for non-book items, 25 pages for books, and 11 pages for DVDs. I would never remember half of what I owned without these lists, and I advise everyone reading this to take listing their belongings seriously, just in case.

    1. Wow, Karin – you have done an amazing job keeping your inventory updated! Now that we are starting over from scratch, It’s probably the perfect time for folks like us to start keeping track of our possessions!

      1. Hi Kathy,

        I met with A public adjuster this week that is helping many homeowners deal with lost contents claims as well as home loss claims. His info is Pat Bickford and he works for Greenspan Co./Adjusters International (303) 810-4172 I would suggest giving him a call as he is very knowledgeable with the whole process to make sure homeowners are being taken care of properly.

  8. Hi Ed & Cathy, voice from way back – Tom O’Riordan – so sorry to hear of all your troubles. Delighted to see you rebuilding!
    Xx T.

  9. Hello Kathy, Shannon shared your blog address with me and I look forward to following your progress. I was sorry to hear that you lost your home and contents in the fires. All my best, Dana (Shirley’s daughter.)

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