ST. CHARLES, Ill. (CBS) – Clifford McIlvaine of St. Charles first began his home remodeling project four years before the iconic home improvement program “This Old House” even went on the air.

But without the help of Bob Vila, Norm Abram or even an average-Joe home remodeling contractor, McIlvaine has been taking on a massive home renovation project all himself.

For 35 years.

St. Charles city officials have filed a federal lawsuit against McIlvaine, and have requested a search warrant to look at his home remodeling project.

The lawsuit cites neighbor complaints and exterior code violations for McIlvaine’s home. It says he has parked a box trailer in his yard for 11 years and has parked vehicles under a tarp outside of the garage and in the yard for 12 years.

For his part, McIlvaine believes the city is picking on him and contends that just because he was granted a building permit back in 1975, it gives the city no right to inspect his home or property.

He tells the Daily Herald he thinks the case “might even end up in the Supreme Court because I’m mad as hell.”

McIlvaine declined to tell the Daily Herald exactly what he has been building, but he attributes the long time frame to the fact that he’s doing the work himself.

He says he’s an independent thinker and likes to build things so they last, because, he tells the Daily Herald, “When you build something fast and cheap, it destroys itself.”

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