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Rebuilding Documentary Series

Rebuilding Together

Bill and Vicky standing in protective clothing in front of the the remains of their home

The County of Sonoma is following the rebuilding journey of Bill Collins and Vicky McKay, a couple who lived in Hidden Hills (off Riebli Road) in Sonoma County and lost their home in the Tubbs Fire in October of 2017.

This documentary series of short videos, posted on YouTube, captures  their experiences, highlighting information that is relevant to our broader community as we move forward with recovery and rebuilding. Some examples of topics that will be covered in this video series include navigating the permitting process and many of the design considerations such as green building options, accessory dwelling units, and new building technologies.

We'll be adding new videos as Bill and Vicky's rebuilding process continues to progress.

1. Looking Ahead in Hidden Hills

An introduction to the documentary series that follows one couple's rebuilding journey.

2. Thinking About Design

Bill shares his initial thoughts on design considerations for rebuilding their home.

3. Planning for Gray Water Usage

Vicky meets with a permaculture consultant to discuss gray water options as part of their rebuilding plans.

4. RPC Meeting: Rain Water and Gray Water

Bill and Vicky visit the Resiliency Permit Center and learn more about options for permitting gray water systems.

5. Best Use of Felled Trees

Bill and Vicky meet with permaculture specialists to discuss their fire-damaged trees and how to utilize them to help their land recover.

6. Alternative Building Methods

Bill and Vicky talk with James, at the Resiliency Permit Center, about alternative and green building materials.

7. Taking Advantage of the Resiliency Permit Center

Bill and Vicky reflect on their preapplication screening appointment at the Resiliency Permit Center.

8. Insurance and Building Plans

Bill and Vicky discuss the challenges they are encountering with the insurance claim to rebuild their home. They talk about the difficulty of recreating the building plans for their original home (no designs survived the fire).

9. Insurance: What’s Next?

Bill and Vicky talk about the unique challenges of rebuilding a home that has been destroyed rather than buying a house.

10. Community Support

Bill and Vicky attend a community meeting of Hidden Hills homeowners on rebuilding issues and challenges.

11. Mobile Integrated Building Energy Science Training

Bill attends a MI-Best workshop which stands for Mobile, Integrated Building Energy Science Training. Mobile Integrated Building Energy Science Training (MI-BEST) to learn the science behind construction, from the process to the refrigerant to the HVAC system to the building itself. These trainings are sponsored by PG&E in collaboration with the County of Sonoma Energy and Sustainability Division, Sonoma Clean Power, and the County of Marin Community Development Agency.

12. Is the Resiliency Permit Center Working?


Homeowners discuss their experiences with the Resiliency Permitting Center. 

13. Straw Bale House

In this video, another segment in the series Rebuilding Together, Bill and Vicky continue the discussion about the benefits of straw bale building with Lorna, straw bale house homeowner.

14. Alternative Building Materials

In this video, another segment in the series Rebuilding Together, Bill and Vicky explore straw bale home design and building.

15. Reflections One Year Later

This video revisits several of the homeowners in Hidden Hills to reflect on their rebuilding experiences during the last year since the fire.

16. Build Green Expo

This video follows Bill at the Build Green Expo at the Veterans Building in Santa Rosa as he learns about new building products and efficiencies.

17. Deciding to Use Natural Building Materials

This video follows Bill and Vicky at the California Straw Building Association conference, as they learn about using natural building materials to rebuild their home in Hidden Hills.

18. Showing Architects the Site

This video shows Bill and Vicky showing their site to different architects as they plan for rebuilding.

19. Time for an Architect

This video shows Bill and Vicky meeting with their architect.

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