Category Archives: Architect

The Architect’s Site Visit

Our architect has been trying to see the progress on our home renovation which she designed for at least a month.

The Glade was redesigned to accommodate 2 additions.

The Glade was redesigned to accommodate 2 additions.

The weather has not been cooperating. It’s been cold and snowy even after spring began.

Early March at The Glade this year.

Early March at The Glade this year.

At last she made it by and I think she really likes what she saw.

Approaching from the street this is the view of The Glade.

Approaching from the street this is the view of The Glade.

She did not pick any of the finishes.  She basically designed the structure including all the little details that make the final building so special.

The architect thought our choices in the kitchen really represented our style.

The architect thought our choices in the kitchen really represented our style.

Some tweaks have been made in the building process due to local codes and our personal preferences. Early in the contractor bidding we were advised to eliminate the conservatory to save money.  I know now that we would never have gone for a second round of excavating and framing to build the conservatory at a later date.

The conservatory is one of our favorite spaces.

The conservatory is one of our favorite spaces.

You can see our architect’s other work here.

What’s special about your house that you enjoy?

 

A Problem on the Front Porch

Upon my arrival home one evening I was excited to check out the front porch lights.

I have 2 of these coach lights for the front door.

I have 2 of these coach lights for the front door.

That’s right they’re not there yet.

I wasn't expecting 4 columns on the front porch.

I wasn’t expecting 4 columns on the front porch.

Instead there are two 6-inch columns near the house that I wasn’t expecting.

Those back columns seem like over-support to me.

Those back columns seem like over-support to me.

They’re not in the plans.

I only see two columns on the front porch on the architect's plan.

I only see two columns on the front porch on the architect’s plan.

I quickly emailed my contractor and said if the columns are not needed for support I prefer they not be there.

There must be another way to support the back of the porch roof after all it's been without support for over two months.

There must be another way to support the back of the porch roof after all it’s been without support for over two months.

He emailed me back and said they are structurally necessary.

The light was perfectly placed until the posts were installed and they can't be moved closer to the door due to ductwork inside the wall.

The light was perfectly placed until the posts were installed and they can’t be moved closer to the door due to ductwork inside the wall.

I hate them. I want them gone.

We have a lot of landscaping to do.

We have a lot of landscaping to do.

The contractor said we’ll talk about them next week. Aiiieee!

What happens when you don’t get your way?

Changing the Traffic Flow

When the HVAC subcontractor put ductwork in the living room and dining room that runs from floor to ceiling new walls were determined by these large protuberances.

The white door leads to the basement and the ductwork to the left and right will be encased in walls.

The white door leads to the basement and the ductwork to the left and right will be encased in walls.

Even in the architect’s floor plan we new we would get a new wall near the basement steps which are accessed from the living room but are destined to be accessed from the mudroom.

The new walls are marked in blue and the ducts in grey.

The new walls are marked in blue and the ducts in grey.

Now the framing must take into consideration the air ducts.

The ductwork has been encased in a zigzag wall that blurs the diving line between living room and dining room.

The ductwork has been encased in a zigzag wall that blurs the diving line between living room and dining room.

The new wall needs to zigzag around the ductwork so we split the difference and put some of the space in the landing near the basement steps and the rest in the living room near the fireplace.

The new framing allows us to enter the kitchen from the living room or the side hall.

The new framing allows us to enter the kitchen from the living room or the side hall.

We’re getting accustomed to the floor plan.

Framing A Better Way Up

At The Glade we used to use the kitchen door (marked #1 below) to enter from the driveway.

New Entrance

New Entrance

In order to go upstairs from there you must walk through the living room then up the stairs. The steps outlined in brown above are 2 steps up, a landing, then 2 steps down.  We’ve found that friends with mobility issues find this difficult to manage.

The stairs and landing to the powder room.

The stairs and landing to the powder room.

I proposed cutting a door (marked #2 above) from the old kitchen (new mudroom) through to the front stairs which will also access the downstairs powder room (Le Bibliotheque).

The kitchen has been removed and a doorway to the front of the house is in progress.

The kitchen has been removed and a doorway to the front of the house is in progress.

This small modification will allow access to the powder room without using any steps and entrance to the upstairs without circumnavigating the entire downstairs.

Reframing the doorway is a little trickier than expected due to a tangle of plumbing and wiring.

This opening will connect the front and back of the house.

Reframing the doorway is a little trickier than expected due to a tangle of plumbing and wiring.

The opening is crisscrossed with pipes and wires.

The opening is crisscrossed with pipes and wires.

In a side note, #3 in the plan above is the current kitchen window which will become the new entrance from the driveway from the bluestone porch. The kitchen will become a sort of mudroom and pantry area.

Kitchen Window will become Mudroom Door to the driveway

Kitchen Window will become Mudroom Door to the driveway

Is there a doorway change that would make your life better?

Interior Framing and Such: Part Two

I showed Part One: the progress in the conservatory that has been accomplished in the past week.  We had also made decisions in the upstairs addition (master closet and master bathroom) which have now been framed.

The new door to the bedroom will take the place of this window.

The new door to the bedroom will take the place of this window.

A doorway has been made where the window once was.

A doorway has been made where the window once was.

Just as in the conservatory  this second floor addition will not be “finished” in the first round of improvements but the interior walls and closets have been framed. Electricity, plumbing, and heating ductwork will be roughed in.

The casement window over the bump-out is on the wall where the sinks are planned.

The casement window over the bump-out is on the wall where the sinks are planned.

The view from inside the window over the bump-out includes the potager (foreground) and the back yard.

The view from inside the window over the bump-out includes the potager (foreground) and the back yard.

As we enter the new hall the master bedroom is on the right and will be open to the new hallway.

The amended layout for the second floor addition.

The amended layout for the second floor addition.

On the left is a walk-in closet with a window in the center of the exterior wall which looks out over the driveway.

This enormous area (7'-8" by 11 ') with a window will be our new master closet.

This enormous area (7′-8″ by 11 ‘) with a window will be our new master closet.

Continuing down the hall past the closet straight ahead is a linen closet which I would love to look something like this.

The linen closet/display shelves will be straight ahead.

The linen closet/display shelves will be straight ahead.

Making a sharp left one finds oneself in the master bathroom.

Step across the threshold and turn left, you're in the bathroom. (This photo is looking through the closet wall into the bathroom.)

Step across the threshold and turn left, you’re in the bathroom. (This photo is looking through the closet wall into the bathroom.)

As in the conservatory we have decided to put the shower along the back of the room where the bird’s eye window is located.

The shower in the master bathroom is as wide as the room.

The shower in the master bathroom is as wide as the room.

Under the window (not visible in photo above) on the right we’ve decided to have a cabinet with double sinks.  Tucked in the corner on the left is the toilet.

Viewed from the shower, the interior wall of the master bathroom.

Viewed from the shower, the interior wall of the master bathroom.

Between the shower and the toilet knee-wall I plan to use the vanity that I inherited from my mother.

The dressing table will sit between these two knee walls, toilet on the left and shower on the right.

The dressing table will sit between these two knee walls, toilet on the left and shower on the right.

Not being a fan of knee-walls myself we chose to use them in this room for very specific reasons which I’ll explain in a future post.

Charlie and I still have lots of decisions in here: fixtures, towel bars, mirrors, window treatments, cabinets .  .  .

How do you make your vision become reality?

Interior Framing and Such: Part One

Last week I wrote about the walk-through with our contractor  where Charlie and I made some decisions that changed  the building plans.

Adjusted conservatory floor plan.

Adjusted conservatory floor plan.

The conservatory (which will not be “finished” in the first round of improvements) has framed interior walls and closets.

The conservatory bathroom will be built in this niche.

The conservatory bathroom will be built in this niche.

The shower has a built-in bench on the left with a knee-wall and an access closet behind the  shower wall on the right-hand side.

The shower has a built-in bench on the left with a knee-wall and an access closet behind the shower wall on the right-hand side.

The shower is built along the back of the bathroom under the bird’s eye window. To make the room ADA accessible we are enlarging the doorway to 36 inches wide.

The bench is framed on the wall opposite the showerhead.

The bench is framed on the wall opposite the showerhead.

The bathroom wall continues in the room to include a long closet.

The 36-inch doorway on the left enters the bathroom; the 2 doorways on the right open to the closet.

The 36-inch doorway on the left enters the bathroom; the 2 doorways on the right open to the closet.

The closet adjacent to the bathroom has 2 double doors.

A quick mick up of the closet/bathroom wall in the conservatory.

A quick mock-up of the closet/bathroom wall in the conservatory.

The closets are large enough to house a compact-size washer/dryer or closet office.

The closet is large enough to hold a washer/dryer or a small office.

The closet will be plumbed for a washing machine and also have electric.

The sheathing has been removed from the wall adjacent to the dining room and the doorway opened to five feet and shifted slightly right.

The doorway will be widened to five feet and the area of the right could house a TV or desk.

The old door will be removed.

The opening of this wall has made a huge difference in the dining room which now seems more spacious.

The sheathing has been removed from the conservatory wall and a 5-foot opening into the dining room.

The sheathing has been removed from the conservatory wall and a 5-foot opening into the dining room.

We plan to use this room as a conservatory which could also become a first floor bedroom with en suite bathroom if the need arises in our elderly future.

Wait until you see what has happened in the second floor addition above the kitchen.

What changes are you making?

Interior Decisions for Framing and Such: Part Two

I enumerated the plan-tweaking in the conservatory that Charlie and I did on a walk-through with our contractor.  After the conservatory we went upstairs, crawled through the hall window (which is slated to become a door) into the second floor addition over the kitchen.

The new door to the bedroom will take the place of this window.

The new door to the bedroom will take the place of this window.

Just like in the conservatory  this second floor addition will not be “finished” in the first round of improvements but will have interior walls and closets framed. Electricity, plumbing, and heating ductwork will be roughed in.

The round window is in the bathroom.  The window to the right of the bird's eye is in the closet.

The round window is in the bathroom. The window to the right of the bird’s eye is in the closet.

As we enter the master bedroom is on the right and will be open to this new hallway.

The original master bedroom will be connected to the new addition which houses a walk-in closet and large bathroom.

The original master bedroom will be connected to the new addition which houses a walk-in closet and large bathroom.

The second floor addition from the inside.

The second floor addition from the inside.

On the left is a walk-in closet with a window in the center of the exterior wall which looks out over the driveway.

We can't wait to design a totally useful and luxurious walk-in closet.

We can’t wait to design a totally useful and luxurious walk-in closet.

Continuing down the hall past the closet straight ahead is a linen closet.  Making a sharp left one finds oneself in the master bathroom.

Not sure this mock-up helps -- one or two sinks in the vanity under the window?

Not sure this mock-up helps — one or two sinks in the vanity under the window?

The architect drew the bathroom plan to include an extremely long vanity and a long narrow shower (see floor plan above). As in the conservatory we have decided to put the shower along the back of the room where the bird’s eye window is located  much like these showers here and here.

Can you picture a large shower - 7' by 4 ' - with a bird's eye window?

Can you picture a large shower – 7′ by 4 ‘ – with a bird’s eye window?

On the right we’re trying to decide between a cabinet with a double sink or one with a single sink and increased counter space.

This is the amended layout.

This is the amended layout.

Tucked in the corner on the left is the toilet.

The green vanity is just visible in the foreground of this photo.

The green vanity is just visible in the foreground of this photo.

Between the shower and the toilet knee-wall I plan to use the vanity that I inherited from my mother.  I remember it in our house since I was a little girl.  Mother had painted it green and glazed it decades ago so I might want to change the finish.  I have been wanting a dedicated space to sit and do my hair and make up.

The driveway is the view from the new closet's window.

The driveway is the view from the new closet’s window.

Charlie and I will take our time finishing and furnishing the master suite.  We’ve waited so long to build onto our home we want to make the best decisions we can.

Do you prefer a single or double sink in the master bathroom?

 

Interior Decisions for Framing and Such: Part One

Now that the exterior framing is finished Charlie and I had a walk-through with our contractor (who is finishing the interior) to note details and changes we might want to make from the original drawings.

The architect's plan of the conservatory and attached bathroom.

The architect’s plan of the conservatory and attached bathroom.

We started in the conservatory which will not be “finished” in the first round of improvements but will have interior walls and closets framed.

The left alcove of the conservatory will eventually become a full bathroom.

The left alcove of the conservatory will eventually become a full bathroom.

The green lines mark the interior wall plans.

The green lines mark the interior wall plans.

The architect drew the bathroom plan to include an extremely long vanity but a fairly tight shower (see plan above). We have decided to put the shower along the back of the room where the bird’s eye window is located  much like these showers here and here.

After measuring and discussing we made some changes.

After measuring and discussing we made some changes.

To make the room ADA accessible we are enlarging the doorway to 36 inches wide.

The bird's eye window has been installed in the conservatory bathroom looking out toward the front yard but tucked behind a tall boxwood shrub..

The bird’s eye window has been installed in the conservatory bathroom looking out toward the front yard but tucked behind a tall boxwood shrub..

We have taken out all the built-in closets except for the one running along the wall near the bathroom. I was a little worried when the contractor said he has a preference for a certain type of closet doors.  Uh-oh! Turns out he doesn’t like bi-folds or sliders.  Yea, we see eye to eye.

I have always hated the bi-fold doors on our bedroom closets which are rarely closed.

I have always hated the bi-fold doors on our bedroom closets which are rarely closed.

The original plan left no open wall space to put a piece of furniture like a desk or armoire (or a television).

The doorway will be widened to five feet and the area of the right could house a TV or desk.

The doorway will be widened to five feet and the area to the right could house a TV or desk. No closets on this wall.

One more detail we thought of during the plumbing rough-in was to add a washer/dryer hook-up in the closet in case we ever need to live on the first floor due to disability.

These compact washer/dryer units are stackable and could fit into a closet.

These compact washer/dryer units are stackable and could fit into a closet.

We plan to use this room as a conservatory which could also become a first floor bedroom with en suite bathroom if the need arises in our elderly future.

One of the first jobs will be to replace the short ladder with a set of stairs so we and the carpenters can easily get into the house without traipsing through the living room.

One of the first jobs will be to replace the short ladder with a set of stairs so we and the carpenters can easily get into the house without traipsing through the living room.

On our tour we talked about other parts of the house as well on this mini-tour which I’ll cover in part two.

Do you second guess the experts?

The Kitchen Wing

Last week I sang the praises of our newly framed conservatory which is a one-story addition on the east side of the house.

The first part of the kitchen wall framing was the bump-out.

The first part of the kitchen wall framing was the bump-out.

The really exciting building is happening on the other side of the house.

This window overlooks Charlie's garden.

This window overlooks Charlie’s garden.

A two-story addition which will contain a new kitchen, a master bathroom (on the second floor) and a walk-in master closet (also on the second floor).The kitchen is about 4 times the size of our present kitchen.

Looking into the kitchen from the second floor.

Looking into the kitchen from the second floor.

There will be a long wall of cabinets on a window wall that will have a prep sink on the left of the window and a stove on the right side.

This wall will have a stove and sink in addition to upper and lower cabinets.

This wall will have a stove and sink in addition to upper and lower cabinets.

In the middle will be our homemade island with a granite top.

Our vintage sideboard turned island.

Our vintage sideboard turned island.

One of the features that our architect and I came up with is a totally glassed-in bump-out in which I plan to put a kitchen table and chairs. This space overlooks the potager and the back yard.

The view from the bump-out

The view from the bump-out

Between the bump-out and the lighting fixtures I ordered for the kitchen, there will be lots of light.

What would you plant along the side of this addition?

The open area near the ramp will eventually be windows.

From the outside the room looks massive and reminds me that I’ll need a lot more foundation planting than we used to have since there’s waaaay more foundation now.

What would you plant along this side of the foundation?

What would you plant along this side of the addition?

From the front it’s barely noticeable and will be less so when the porch is roofed.

Preserving the façade was very important to the Historical Committee.

Preserving the façade was very important to the Historical Committee.

I went so far as to chalk out the floor cabinets and appliances just for fun.  And I might have temporarily put a table and 2 chairs in the bump out.  Did I go too far?

The kitchen wing on the right and the conservatory on the left, and we ain't done yet.

The kitchen wing on the right and the conservatory on the left, and we ain’t done yet.

Woo-hoo! A kitchen.

What things are you doing that come under the heading “going too far”?

Conditioned Crawl Spaces

We have architectural plans for the renovation of The Glade.

The section drawings are very specific and include a "conditioned crawlspace".

The section drawings are very specific and include a “conditioned crawlspace”.

Most everybody agrees they are “overdrawn” meaning according to our county code some things are just not necessary.

This foundation drawing includes a 2" slab which the contractor renamed a "rat barrier".

This foundation drawing includes a 2″ slab which the contractor renamed a “rat barrier”.

I had to write a waiver letter to ask the county not to include some items that were originally on the plans.

I asked the county not to require things above and beyond the county code.

I asked the county not to require things above and beyond the county code.

Once that was OK’d the inspectors could approve the work that had been done on the foundation.

The foundation of the new kitchen.

The foundation of the new kitchen.

Although we have a small basement part of the house has always been built over a crawl space.  The original crawl spaces are simply dirt.

The crawlspace under the old kitchen is tight and dirty.

The crawlspace under the old kitchen is tight and dirty.

The new crawl spaces are conditioned.

The crawlspace of the conservatory is covered with 4 inches of gravel.

The crawlspace of the conservatory is covered with 4 inches of gravel.

Conditioned must mean filled with cut stone and covered with plastic.

A 6 mil polyethylene vapor barrier is laid over stone.

A 6 mil polyethylene vapor barrier is laid over stone.

On the uphill side of the house the crawlspace even has drain tiles around the inside of the perimeter and a sump well to extract excess moisture.

This sump well and flexible drain pipe will be installed in the kitchen foundation.

This sump well and flexible drain pipe will be installed in the kitchen foundation.

Only the top of the sump well shows in the corner of the kitchen crawlspace under the bump out.

Only the top of the sump well shows in the corner of the kitchen crawlspace under the bump out.

Our mason created a pass through from the old crawlspace into the new crawlspace.

This hole leads from the crawlspace under the existing dining room into the crawlspace under the new kitchen.

This hole leads from the crawlspace under the existing dining room into the crawlspace under the new kitchen.

The new foundations also have vents to allow for air movement.

Notice the vents on the kitchen window wall.

Notice the vents on the kitchen window wall left and right of the arrow.

And there’s even a trap door for easy access from the outside.

The conservatory foundation viewed from the dining room has vents and a trap door.

The conservatory foundation viewed from the dining room has vents and a trap door.

The new crawl spaces will be much cleaner and easier to maneuver than the old ones should any one need to crawl in there.

The existing crawlspace is even tight for Charlie who weighs in at 155 pounds.

The existing crawlspace is even tight for Charlie who weighs in at 155 pounds.

You know it won’t be me. Oh, Charlie!

Do you like crawling around in tight spaces?