This old house becomes a new office

Kevin Clifford/Nevada Appeal The newly refurnished house of 712 E. Musser St. is now occupied by Attorney at Law Norman Azevedo and office manager Rhonda Azevedo.

Kevin Clifford/Nevada Appeal The newly refurnished house of 712 E. Musser St. is now occupied by Attorney at Law Norman Azevedo and office manager Rhonda Azevedo.

Tax attorney Norman J. Azevedo had an office on California Street in Reno, where he had plenty of clients. He and his wife, Yolanda, live by Bowers Mansion on Old Highway 395. Their daughter attends St. Teresa of Avila elementary school, which meant an extra drive to Carson City to pick her up every day.

So when a friend tipped them off that the house at 712 E. Musser St. was for sale, they jumped at a chance to check up on it.

Here's their story:

YOLANDA: When we came to look at it, the owner Othrine Warne was suffering from cancer, but she was very warm. She had lived in the house since 1959, raised a family there. Now she wanted to move in with her family. We liked the floor plan, despite the remodeling we would have to do.

NORMAN: The house wasn't in terribly good condition, but we decided at once to go ahead and buy it. It's nice and close to the courthouse, handy for me. It took four months for Carson City to approve the remodeling and four weeks for the reconstruction. Much had to be done according to the American Disabilities Act, which mandates bigger entryways, bigger doors, bigger sidewalks, bathroom sizes and fixtures and so on. Robert Darney, a Carson City architect, did much of the design work.

YOLANDA: If it hadn't been for Joe McCarthy (Carson City redevelopment director) I don't know how we would have got it done.

NORMAN: We had to get waivers for parking space, for instance, and Joe helped us a lot.

YOLANDA: The one thing we all forgot about was that there was redevelopment money for projects like ours. We're in the redevelopment area.

NORMAN: But you had to apply for funds in advance, so we lucked out.

YOLANDA: We've room for four people here, and the inside has been redecorated. We kept the old front windows; they're an unusual size. People driving by keep asking us if we'd like to sell them, but we love them. Not the most modern, but nice.

NORMAN: We're very happy to be located in Carson City. We've got the best law libraries in the state here, and the people are so friendly.

YOLANDA: In Reno lunch was a major event, taking time and leaving you tired afterwards. Here we can have a nice, quiet lunch in an hour and come back refreshed.

NORMAN: We love Carson and how handy it is for us. Our home was built on the site of the old ME Ranch, at a stop on the old V&T. It was a popular divorce ranch. It's nice and close to Carson.

YOLANDA: (Pausing near a large totem pole in the corner of Norman's office) He saw this totem and had to have it. So here it sits, along with that fish on the wall he caught in South America. Not exactly my choice as chief decorator.

The important question: How's business?

NORMAN: It's good, just as good as in Reno.

What it cost

• The house at 712 E. Musser St., built in 1957, cost $250,000.

• Compliance costs under the American Disabilities Act were $48,683.

• Building permits and fees were $2,272.

• Actual renovation costs such as landscaping, sidewalks, gutters etc. were $32,911.

• Total: $333,866.


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