25 June 2011

And then there was One (O-One)

During the last 20 months, we have been working on two buildings. We finally finished 103 and the new owners moved in almost three weeks ago. There was a lot of little punchlist items that needed to be taken care of and lots of paperwork at the building department along with inspections. Here are a few images of the final product.

Come on baby light my fire

We had a opening framed in the shaft that runs through the house that houses all the ducts, piping, and wiring to accomodate the fireplace. After much research we decided on the Napolean Modern 46" gas fireplace. We loved the look of this type of fireplace. We connected the electrical ignition and ductwork and then furred the face of the opening. The surround must be a non-combustable material. We used fire rated gwb covered in cement board that was reclaimed from the front facade.

BPP - Builders Pavement Plan

As part of a new house, the sidewalk and the street directly in front of the new building must also be rebuilt. We have had to dig up the street and sidewalk various times during construction for foundation, electrical, gas, water and sewer work. All of which has disturbed the sidewalk and street frontage. The BPP is an application with the Building Department that requires drawings, surveys, elevations and details of the sidewalk construction and street pavement. It also requires coordination with the Department of Transportation (fees and permits). I

In new construction you are also required to provide street trees in front of the property. I had spent hours going through the list of botanical names of the allowable trees looking for the perfect type. When the Parks Department came to verify my street tree location, to my dismay, there was not enough room for a new tree in front of each building. There are certain requirements that must be met. (minimum distances from gas, electrical or water lines) So we were required to pay into the street tree fund ($1900 per tree) and two trees were planted in our neighborhood.

The major part of the sidewalk work happened when I was in Moorhead, MN for Grandpa Louies 90th birthday. They poured the sidewalk. It was a lot of work and when the final survey was done - the elevations were only off by 3/100" - perfect by concrete pouring standards.

The final portion was quick, but needed to be coordinated with alternative sides parking. Once a week there is no parking on our side of the street on Tuesdays from 8:30-10 so that the street can be swept. We needed to wait until a Tuesday to do the street paving work. Our biggest problem was that three Tuesdays in a row alternative sides was not in effect due to religious holidays (mainly Easter).

The inspection went flawless and here is our lovely sidewalk and street frontage.

Stepping up

So the stairs turn out to be a large design element in the space. The stair is located in the back corner of each building and has 69 risers from the cellar to the roof. The stairs were fabricated out of steel with a monostringer (one support down the middle). The steel is extremely heavy and thick. There is a landing between each floor with a large window. The stairs are quite open and there is a lot of light that comes from the various floors.

The monostringers are bolted to the large triple wood members as they meet the floor joists and at the landings. Steel plates were then weleded to the monostringers to create steps (treads). Railings were then welded to the steel plates and to posts at each landing and floor. The entire steel stair structure was painted. I was leaning towards high gloss white - but with the super white walls and ceilings, we opted for grey. Finally 1-1/2" oak treads were attached to the steel plates (the metal fabricator prepped the steel plates with predrilled holes) - for the final result.

30 March 2011

Finish work

It is coming to the point where the "construction site" is being transformed into a "home". I would only say "home" as 103 Boerum is much further along than 101 Boerum. Walls and ceilings are painted (partially), interior doors are hung, moulding around doors and windows are ongoing, and floors (both tiles for the bathrooms, and wood for the majority of the house) are underway. The guys who are working on the drywall started at 103, and worked their way down and then to 101. The images are from 103. The drywall is all hung in 101, but they are taping and plastering, still very much a dusty construction site.


The hardwood flooring is being installed this week. The material is quartersawn oak prefinished as it is being installed over the radiant heating. This is the recommended flooring by the manufacturer. They have started today on the 4th floor and will continue down. The walls in this area have been sanded and primed/painted the first coat. Ceilings have been painted with the second and final coat. Since the floors are prefinished, there will be less dust, and a stronger finish.

Fenced up

Finally the day after the concrete was poured as a base for the stone pavers, the guys started working on fence. It is a cedar fence with planks running horizontally. It is really starting to feel like a backyard.


After almost 20 months, the construction fence is gone. The sidewalk and curb was poured and the fence was removed. The entire building can now be seen. It is incredible to finally see the both of the buildings.

21 February 2011

the day the temperature reached 60

The temperature reached 60 degrees last week, and everyone had something outisde to work on. The plumbers and HVAC crews had work on the roof - the vent pipes and the ductwork that connects the inside ducts to the rooftop unit. The electricians ran conduit up to the roof and to the front and rear yards. Exterior lights arrived the same day and were installed. Our crew dug a trench and buried a pipe in the rear yard to connect the phone and cable lines - so that we would not have lines running overhead.

foaming at the wall

Today 103 Boerum was foamed. We are using a spray insulation to insulate. It is sprayed into the space between the studs, expands and then they cut off any excess that extends past the studs. (you can see the shavings on the floor at the stair picture) This type of insulation is great for waterproofing, sound insulation, protects against mold and mildow, and an excellent way to insulate against the exterior.

orange you glad

New plumbing code requires us to have sprinklers throughout the building (as our street is considered narrow). The piping for the sprinklers is bright orange.
On each floor there is a manifold for the connection of all the tubes for the radiant floor heating. The tubing is also bright orange and runs in the warmboard which is the subfloor. It has aluminum on the top to spread the heat (or the cold during this winter - we do not have heat yet).

do you want a piece of me?

There is a large shaft running vertically through the houses that all the different trades have been using to run pipes (water, waste, radiant heating pipes) vacuum tubing, electrical wires power, Cat5e, cable and telephone), ductwork, and exhaust ducts for the boiler, fireplace, kitchen hood, bathroom fans, and dryer. Everyone seems to have worked together to get the job done. There are access panels throughout house to access the shaft. It runs behind the bathrooms on the 3rd and 4th floors.

06 January 2011

Back door Slider

After a long cold day, the huge slider is installed at 103. It makes such a difference with the noise and cold air. It really is starting to feel enclosed and more like house. The electricians have run most of the conduit, and the plumbers are finishing up the water lines. A great week of work. Next week we should be moving over to 101.

01 January 2011

Happy New Year!

January 1, 2011 - here is how the houses stand.

You can really see the layering of the materials.