May 15, 2005

House Project - Day 53 - Sheathing

One week later, and the addition is almost fully framed and sheathed. The window plan is now fully evident from the exterior, at least for the new-built portion of the remodel. And there is now a more fully-developed sense of space on the interior.

One of the critical areas that we've been wanting to take a look at has been the area in the kitchen-to-family transition space around the peninsula. There are a lot of things happening there: the wall jogs in, the countertop peninsula wraps around the jog, the ceiling height transitions, and a window is placed in the area. The location of the ceiling beam that defines the height transition was moved about 1 foot towards the rear of the house, so that the bathroom cabinets on the second floor would not have to be cut to "ride" the beam.

This means that the ceiling height transition happens right at the left edge of the window. It also means, though, that the height transition does not happen right above the heads of whomever happens to be sitting at the peninsula. Plus, it gives us more flexibility to use drawers in our bathroom vanity cabinets.

My favorite feature of the new addition, so far, is the walk into the master bedroom. It's still a bit misleading at this point since the ceiling isn't in yet, and it appears as though the bedroom will have cathedral ceilings. Part of me wishes that we had specified cathedral ceilings in the bedroom, but I'll just have to see how the tray ceiling looks.

A note to those clicking on the links to the pictures: in these blog entries, I've only linked to a subset of what's available on Flickr, the hosting site for the photos. There are more pictures in the "House" set of photos, which you can browse through using the navigation on the right side of each picture's page.

May 09, 2005

House Project - Supplemental: New Furnace

Back when they were laying the foundation, they also installed a new furnace. Our old furnace was an ancient model that looked like it was at least 50 years old. In addition to being inadequate to heat the expanded structure, it was also probably horribly inefficient.

This new Weil-McLain unit comes universally recommended by many plumbers and heating experts, although if you squint at the yellow Energy Guide label you can see that it falls within the lower range, efficiency-wise, of other comparable units. Hmm.

You can also see from the picture that we're going to be set for 3 zones of heat: the original portion of the house (except for Miranda's room) will be on one zone. The master bedroom and bathroom, and Miranda's bedroom will be the second zone, and the new family room and kitchen will be in the 3rd zone.

May 07, 2005

House Project - Day 45: Framing

After a lull of about 2-3 weeks during which weather and delayed town inspections resulted in a slow-down of work, things have finally picked back up. Since the last blog entry on April 9, the foundation floors have been poured, and the foundation backfilled. The excess dirt that was excavated was then used to grade-off the backyard.

The delay by the town in the inspection of the foundation work resulted in the framing crew being reassigned to another job. When they finally finished with that job, the weather then conspired to delay them even more. However, they were finally able to start framing this past Monday. We've been told that this portion of the project goes relatively fast, and by Wednesday they had finished framing the first floor. And as of today, a portion of the second floor has also been framed.

From what they've done so far, we're able to get a sense of the rear exterior elevation for the first time. We can also start to get a sense of the interior of the new space: views from the kitchen sink, as well as across the new family room. One interesting view that I've always wanted to see was from the family room back towards the kitchen area, because of the fact that we designed the family room to have 9 foot ceilings, with a drop back down to 8 feet for the kitchen area.

That design choice also means that there will be a couple of steps up to the new master bedroom on the second floor, which in turn should afford some nice views of the wetlands/Ash Creek behind our property, as well as Long Island Sound beyond.

And at long last, we've reached a point where we can finally start to get a sense of the proportion of the addition as it relates to the old house, especially when seen from the road. We had been mildly concerned that the addition would loom gigantic, but thankfully that appears not to be the case. From the north west vista, the addition actually appears quite small, given that it is set in from the west side of the old house. From the north east side, the addition does appear larger, but the road is more even with the level of the house instead of being below the house as from the northwest, so the effect is diminished.