Exterior renovation of old farmhouse...

We are currently working on a farmhouse renovation in Washington, Vermont. Tearing off the old cracked and rotten clapboards and adding housewrap and foaming all of the window and doors around the jambs and foaming in places that did not get insulated well when the cellulose was blown in 10 years ago. We are saving the trim in a few areas. It is amazing how well old growth spruce that is covered in old oil based paint lasts! One challenge with this kind of job is what to keep and what to tear off. The other big challenge is working with how the old structure has moved and shifted to bring all of the areas together nicely when the scope of work does not include re-leveling and squaring the whole house!

When it is complete the house will be painted in it's classic barn red color.

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.

Commercial cabinet/shelf built-ins

Built-in cabinet job for a restaurant in Montpelier. Building and installing cabinets, liquor shelves and floating shelves for the back of the bar in a local restaurant. This job was done on a very tight schedule. Only1 1/2 weeks start to finish! Used solid maple doors for the glass front wine cabinet and Purebond formaldehyde free plywood for the other doors and the cabinets. Shelves constructed from pine and painted black with Benjamen Moore Aura paint.

Marching along...

This month has been a steady progression of small jobs with a few periods of rest and enjoying the snow! We have been working on a built in closet bypass door installation and a partial kitchen remodel. The kitchen client wanted a dishwasher so we removed the old metal sink base and replaced it with a smaller sink base and dishwasher. The new counters are Cambria. The backsplash is subway tile. Pictures coming soon.

Platform bed

Here are a few pictures of a simple platform bed designed and built on site for a single mattress.

Montpelier half bath

Renovation of half bathroom in progress. Bathroom is about 4'x4' with a 2'x2' little alcove in it. The sink above is in the little alcove. My favorite thing about this style of toilet is how easy they are to clean since the base is all one solid plane. Have also installed 12" Vermont slate tile. The new wainscoting is clear pine painted white.

Storagebarnport...

The main project this past month has been a 32x34 outbuilding designed to keep cars, firewood and tools out of the elements. There is a fully enclosed space at the rear to store sound gear. The enclosed structure is stick framed, while the outer walls are built up post and beam (not timber frame) with lags and timber screws for fasteners. It is sided with channel groove rustic siding stained with a solid oil stain.

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Little things...

This great little heater unit is made by a company called Envi that we installed in a small (6x7) mudroom addition from this winter. It has a built in thermostat and works as a convection unit, drawing cool air from below and sending it up to create a circular air flow and maintain a consistent room temperature. We also put in a well insulated and air-sealed entry door in a stairwell to replace a cold and drafty old hollow core door. The door trim is fir to match the existing older  trim. True Colors paint store in Montpelier did a fantastic job doing a stain match to the old varnished trim.

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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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Mother in-law house renovation...

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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.

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Spring...

We have been working on several projects through the winter. Pictures coming soon. First... It seemed like it was never going to snow and then...tire chains are required to pull the trailer out! For the homeowner in the winter it may be "some hiking required". Have been working on framing, capping and finishing a walk-out basement on an existing foundation. It was originally to be a whole house but the bank said no to the borrower. Luckily she was able to get financing through a special program for low-income borrowers. She will do much of the finish work. Radiant heat in the slab and a beautiful view of the hills through five 25x74 fixed glass low-E units should create a cozy home. They did. The owner is in and enjoying the view.

Currently two jobs are nearing completion. One is a small mudroom/bathroom addition inside the garage. The other is a reconfiguration of a 600 ft2 mother in-law cottage. More details and pictures soon.

Kneewall second floor renovation...

The second floor of this house was torn down to framing and reinsulated with closed cell spray foam. New LED light fixtures and some new wiring. Local spruce boards on the slopes and ceiling. Built-in shelving.

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Winter construction...

It seemed like it was never going to snow and then...tire chains are required to pull the trailer out! For the homeowner in the winter it may be "some hiking required". Have been working on framing, capping and finishing a walk-out basement on an existing foundation. It was originally to be a whole house but the bank said no to the borrower. Luckily she was able to get financing through a special program for low-income borrowers. She will do much of the finish work. Radiant heat in the slab and a beautiful view of the hills through five 25x74 fixed glass low-E units should create a cozy home.

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.

Montpelier renovation...

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Second floor of an old house converted into an office building in Montpelier. Dividing space, designing and building new access, reinsulating and general renovation. After demolition it turned out that the old rafters were grossly undersized and had about 6-8" of deflection in them. Mike Beganyi helped with drawings and ideas for shoring up the structure. We have built all of the interior partitions and completed the stairwell. All of the interior walls are soundproofed. The space has been reinsulated to modern standards with dense pack cellulose. Windows were replaced with new Marvins.

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Kowalski porch...

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This project was begun in the summer of 2008. We chose to keep the old roof  intact. The old porch was falling down due to heaving piers, wasp infestation and general deterioration. We salvaged the old pressure treated lumber and some of the other lumber and cedar siding for use elsewhere on the property. The ceiling is insulated with the idea that one day the porch may be fully enclosed.  Originally we were going to do the timber frame with reclaimed spruce but that option fell through in November. The frame is now eastern tamarack which was milled about 30 miles from the site. The frame has been treated with UV blocking oil and and oil/wax finish. The tile is 18" slate. The railings are fir reclaimed from a old granite shed and re-sawn by the neighbor across the road. All that is left now is to put up the screen door and screens.

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porch design
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Live edge stairs...

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These stairs were constructed using two 9 quarter by 20 inch live edge white pine stringers. The white pine was milled up in central Vermont. Stained with a warm golden stain. Treads and risers were slotted into routed grooves. To be trimmed with hickory treads sometime in the future for final finish.

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