Curved Porch Renovation

This curved porch is located in Barre. It is the former house of DeForest Clinton Jarvis, probably known to few, but he wrote a 1958 book Folk Medicine: A Vermont Doctor's Guide to Good Health. 

Anyway, the porch was trimmed out with short straight bits of crown moulding which may have looked ok at some point but were in a terrible state of disrepair. We removed all the old crown moulding and rehabbed the dentile area below it. The new curved crown moulding was constructed from laminated strips of wood which were glued up into a curve and then milled with the matching crown profile using a custom shaper knife which matched the old profile.

There was also a lot of sheathing and framing repair. Re-roofing was also in the scope of work with new black drip edge. A difficult and challenging project but in the end a satisfying result.

Before and after photos below...

Kitchen Renovation/Dining Addition/Dormer Repair

The scope of this project was to renovate the kitchen, add a 14x14 dining addition which also will house an upright piano and extend/modify the dormer to eliminate a snow buildup problem.

When we got into what should have been a simple 4' extension of the dormer we found that the dormer had been poorly framed-undersized lumber and failure to carry roof loads to the ground had resulted over 30 years into a near failure of the roof. We observed a 3" sag in the rafters at the worst point!

The finished product gives the owner a  stable and sturdy dormer, reduced maintenance, a beautiful new kitchen and a dining room space.

Middlesex addition...

Above is a drawing for an addition that we did  in Middlesex. It is a 2 car garage/mudroom/bath addition. The site ended up having a lot of ledge and to accommodate the drainage we have a stepped foundation that follows the site grade. The bathroom has warmboard hydronic radiant floor heat, tile floor and wainscot and a curbless shower with heated floor and bench. Roman tub with wall mount faucets.

There is a wedge shaped connector between the mudroom and garage to allow the garage to sit at a good angle for pulling in and to give the building footprint a more dynamic shape. This was a design that greatly benefitted from 3D design as we went through a number of ideas before settling on this one and being able to see the project in 3 dimensions helped the design team and client decide what worked best visually and functionally. This project also benefited  from design savvy owners as they were highly involved in creating a number of aesthetic decisions.

Screening in the porch...

This past week we have been screening in a porch that we built a few years ago.  The customer decided that it was more important to keep the blackflies at bay than to have a 100% unobstructed view. We used vertical grain fir for the trim pieces and charcoal screen.

porch screened in
porch screened in
screening porch
screening porch

Montpelier renovation...

This project is an interesting one. I would describe it as a collaboration between us (the builders), the designer, the homeowner, two painters and a heating systems company. The job has many aspects to it. After a structural assessment we addressed a few support issues in the basement with new footers and posts. We replaced a number of large double hung windows in terrible shape with new Marvin full replacements. We duplicated the historic trim inside and out and one painter did a fantastic job matching the trim to the old mahogany. We have performed numerous floor patches to match the old floor as the old radiators have been replaced. The new heating system is a Pellergy boiler with Runtal low temp panels that operate at 140 degrees. The heating project has been mostly the brainchild of the homeowner and heating company and will also include solar panels. We have altered closets and walls. The project also includes a full kitchen remodel.

The Blue Ranch House...

living room
living room

This 1970's ranch is located up high with an amazing view across to some wooded mountains. The main focus of this project was to replace the current windows with much longer ones. The new 63" high casement windows extend down to about 14" above the floor, providing a nice sweeping view. The windows on the south side of the house have a coating that allows much more solar gain than a traditional low-E coating to help lower heating costs. The master bedroom and living room each have a triple set of 37"x63" windows. Additionally we will be added a partition wall and moved a few others to create a new bedroom and a mudroom. We added transom windows on either side of the hallway in the office and mudroom to help open up the space. We also built several built-in bookcases with the same modern no trim style as the windows.

hall
hall
mudroom
mudroom
bookcase
bookcase
 bedroom

bedroom

dining room
dining room
piano room
piano room
 Before and After

Before and After

 Before and After (after on left)

Before and After (after on left)

Flood repair in Waterbury...

 Hurricane Irene Flood Damage

Hurricane Irene Flood Damage

To state the obvious, what a disaster. The house is a 3 family rental. It belongs to clients who I have worked for over the years doing small projects to make the apartments nicer for the tenants. Luckily there were no tenants when the flood happened. Unluckily we were 2 weeks away from doing a medium sized renovation when the flood happened. When the Winooski overran it's banks the houses on this street were filled with water up to the 1st floor windowsills. The basements were of course full, and in this house the heating oil tanks tipped over and an environmental cleanup was necessary. We filled 5-6 20 yard dumpsters (the big long ones). Luckily the town paid for trash removal. The basement is about 100 feet long and was basically full of stuff. It took weeks just to clean the place out. Then came the power washing and treatment for mold and drying. After all that was over we finally started rebuilding. I am amazed by the fact that it seems that everyone has stayed put. I would have expected more people to just start over somewhere else. Maybe it is the community spirit that kept everyone going. People were handing out free lunches and coffee for weeks. Youth and church groups were everywhere helping out. Thanks to the Mennonites from Morrisville! They saved the homeowner thousands of dollars by providing hundreds of hours of labor for free.

Partial kitchen renovation...

The customer wanted to add a dishwasher and update the kitchen a bit but did not have the budget to redo the whole kitchen. We came up with a solution for about 1/3 the price. We changed out the sink base and added new Cambria counters. They chose a top mount stainless sink with a shallow bowl because they are tall and don't like to stoop over the sink. They also chose a stainless dishwasher which matches the counters well without clashing with the white stove. We also added a new outlet and updated to GFI outlets and added a tile backsplash. We were able to keep all of the old built in upper cabinets and one of the lower cabinets (with a little alteration). I think it all came together nicely and fits fairly seamlessly.

Dormer addition...

This addition was on a pre-civil war cape. The inspector dated it by the rafters, which were 4x4 timber that was sawn on a vertical blade mill instead of a circular saw mill. The old rafters were 3' on center. Andy reclaimed the rafters to make a bunk bed for his kid. We framed the new roof up with a structural ridge. The eave wall rests on the old 8x8 timber plate. The original bedroom had a small footprint and was built in a kneewall space so it had very tight headroom which required the owners to get out of bed at the end. In addition they had a 5' tall closet that was about 2 feet square. Now they have an additional 80 square feet with 6 feet of headroom. The two new closets are 82" tall, 24" deep and 44" wide.

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 After

After

 Before

Before

Mother in-law house renovation...

IMG_1508-300x225.jpg

This 600 ft2 house was originally built as a camp and then added onto. Major demo work, moving and removing walls, removing carpet, repairing subfloor. Old chimney was torn out. New plumbing. Upgraded insulation in walls and air sealing on many walls. Added a bath fan for ventilation/moisture. Blocking up doors and windows. Laid a solid wood floor and tile for the bath floor and shower surround. Installed a stacked washer/dryer behind a bi-fold door in the bathroom. It was all topped off with a marble counter and stainless/black appliances. The customer noted that the solid surface stove has made an excellent small house extra counter space for cooking projects.

IMG_1509-300x225.jpg
IMG_1315-300x225.jpg
 Before

Before

 Before

Before

September...

This past month has been spent in the midst of replacement windows and some renovation work on an apartment in Waterbury. Nothing that is really visually exciting enough to be photo worthy. The lack of aesthetic excitement has turned the mind toward some of the basic issues behind the work. When refinishing a floor it was clear that our sanding was to be the last one in the life of this 100 year old floor. SO...how best to preserve this floor? What is the greenest option? I am generally a fan of the Vermont Coatings floor finish but personally do not believe that it is anywhere near as durable as an oil based poly. So the choice was made to go with the oil knowing that when this floor needs help again it will have to be torn up. That way the wood will have a much longer useful life and that seems more important than saving the VOC and petroleum action from occuring in this case.

In the same apartment there was a tub surround that had failed due to tile on drywall accompanied by failing caulk. The question in this case was should we re-tile or replace the old set up with an acrylic unit. About the same cost either way. We decided to go for rebuilding the wall and insulating it properly followed by tile with epoxy grout. That way we eliminated the dumping of the old tub and the use of a lot of extra plastic.

These are the kinds of things that go on in the background of every job.