CHATHAM, NJ - It's been a year in the making, but all the parts started to fit for Hackensack firefighter Tristan van Gendt on Friday when his plans for piecing together a modular home came to fruition on Ellers Drive in Chatham Borough.

"There are a lot of moving parts that you have to coordinate," van Gendt said. "This is the first one I've ever done. I want to get my blood pressure down before I think about doing another one."

The two-story, five-bedroom home was trucked down from Wingdale, N.Y., by Westchester Modular Homes and stored in the parking lot of the Chatham Middle School this week before being transported the short distance to Ellers Drive, where the different sections of the house were craned into place.

Sign Up for E-News

Van Gendt said the project was made possible by the help he received from the Chatham Board of Education, which allowed him to use the CMS parking lot and the Chatham Borough Police, who made sure the pieces made it safely to Ellers Drive. 

Brian Colatrella, the community services officer for the Chatham Borough Police Department, pitched in when one of the doors fell off on the way to Ellers Drive. Colatrella transported the door to its destination in the trunk of his vehicle.

"It's not cheap," van Gendt said of his purchase of the modular home. "Even though it's modular, it's high-end materials. For us, the big thing is that it is environmentally conscious.

"What made me go with Westchester Modular Homes is that it's an employee-owned company. It's on their logo. I saw how they work at the factory and you can see how much care they put into what they do at every level."