Thursday, 24 February 2011

Framing for the entryway and chimney

The results of yesterday's framing efforts at the red brick building: 

The view straight into our unit from the common entryway:

The fireplace, all ready for its drywall and skim coat:

Our electrician was at the red brick building, working, and said he's going to go crazy in there next week, along with two guys from his crew.  He expects that all the rough electrical will be done within a week and a half.  Great!

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Ordering wood trim for a mock up and interior doors

I went to the molding manufacturer to order 20 lineal feet each of the baseboard, crown and window and door trim that we've picked out.  We aren't sure which sizes will give us the proportions we want so we're going to do a mock up in the space and see how it looks.  The tricky part is that we have three different ceiling heights: 9 feet on our bedroom level and on the tenants' living room/kitchen level; 9 and a half feet on our living room level; and 8 and a half feet in the basement, where the tenants' bedrooms and bathrooms are.  Those ceiling heights are going to have a big effect on what sizes look good.

Here's the profile we're looking at for crown moldings:

Then for the baseboard, we're thinking of using this as a cap, on top of a plain length of board that's at least as wide:

For the window and door trim, we're going to use some trim we liked from the salvage yard as a model.

It's 5 1/2 wide, which everyone thinks is going to be an inch too wide.  Unfortunately, the molding manufacturer announced today that he'd charge over $650 to make me 20 lineal feet of it in a 4 1/2 inch width! (The price goes down exponentially once they've made the custom knife.)  So we're going to do the mock up with what we've already got and try to use our imaginations and plain 4 1/2 inch board to take it from there. 

Then I stopped in at the red brick building.  The crew was framing the chimney and the front entryway to the three apartments.  The foreman walked through the building with me and I wrote up an interior door schedule.  When I got home, I immediately requested a quote for all 23 of them (more, when you consider that several of them are double doors for closets).  This is the style we picked:

They're little things but necessary to keep us rolling forward.

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

The glass wall is in

I stopped by the red brick building this morning after our weekly team meeting at the architects' office.  The glass wall is indeed in, and it looks great.  Very dramatic.  They've got plywood nailed up against it to protect it from accidents as the rough work winds to a close.

Monday, 21 February 2011

A crane and a giant sheet of glass

This morning the glass wall between the master bedroom and bathroom was delivered and I was there to watch it be craned in to the building through the door at the top of the fire escape.  I only took a couple of snaps since I didn't want to get too underfoot.  It was a pretty impressive sight to see...or at least impressive to me.  All in a day's work for the GC and his crew.

They're going to try to install it today.  Fingers crossed it goes smoothly for them.

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Master bathroom vanity musings

Our contractor cut the hole in the master bathroom's floor through which the chimney flue needs to pass. 

The flue determines the exact shape of the vanity, which needs to fit between the wall on the left of the drill and the 2x4 to the right of the hole.  (The flue can snake as it once it comes up through the floor.)  I have a really hard time visualizing what the area should look like.  It's not a huge space and it needs to be ultra-functional, but of course I also want it to be pretty.  Part of me just wants to perch the vessel sink on a simple wood shelf.  Another part of me wants to perch it on a vintage desk and accessorize with rampant plants like this:

Saturday, 19 February 2011

Stairless in the third floor hallway

Some photos for you of the third floor hallway as it currently stands, looking relatively large and open.  The ladder was worth climbing to see the last of the headhouse windows installed and the view of the harbor through it.

Friday, 18 February 2011

"Darn you, One Kings Lane!"

she said, shaking her first.  They're having a John Robshaw sale today and had my exact 2x3 "Russet" dhurrie for $39!  Grrrrr!  Fortunately, they'd at least had the decency to sell out of it before I had time to log on to the site (about 4 hours after the sale began).  They also had the Han Blue pattern that I quite admire, including the floor mattress (great for the beach house) and the shower curtain (great for use as-is, or for cutting up and putting to other purposes).  Both those were sold out too.  Still available is the Han Blue dhurrie, for those craving a fix of some kind.

Permit for the balcony; living room furniture layout

We got a call this morning from our real estate lawyer.  He told us that ISD has approved our plan to increase the depth of the balcony by 8 inches and that the permit is ready for pickup at the city.  Hooray!  That gives us a width of just under 15 feet and a depth of 32 inches, enough for a teeny tiny bistro table, should we so desire.  Needless to say, we immediately phoned our ironworker and told him the news so he can get to work building the balcony at long last.

Yesterday afternoon I spent a couple of hours making living room furniture-sized blobs out of taped together sheets of newspaper.   I replicated the footprints of our couch, armchair, ottoman, dining room table (unextended).  I also made 3 extra armchair-sized forms and a loveseat-sized one.  The purpose of this flurry of activity is to be able to decide where to tell the electrician to run wires for the chandeliers.

This morning at the building I laid out all the cut-outs in the living room (had to move the chimney flue guy's pipes...I think/hope they're putting in the flue as I write this).  The good news is that there seems to be plenty of space for a good amount of comfy (non-impromptu) seating.  Witness the results.  The first photo was taken from the staircase landing:

 Above is the view from the balcony door.  Below, the view from the funky triangular corner at the front of the building, where the grand piano is going to be.

Lastly, two views from the dining area:

I quite like what I've laid out, but there are a few things to tinker with.  One is the idea of ditching the loveseat in favor of another small three-seater.  We have the room for the bigger piece and I've never been a fan of love seats.  They feel neither here nor there: too small to stretch out on and too big/uncozy to hog all to yourself.  While the symmetry of the space is probably best with a loveseat, given my long-standing convictions, I worry that I might come to resent its presence.  By far the biggest problem I can see with getting a second small sofa is that no one is ever, even remotely going to be as handsome as my dear wonderful Mr. Smith.  Finding him was a once-in-a-lifetime event: I'm very pessimistic about it happening again.  If we do away with the loveseat, but despair of finding a worthy companion for Mr. Smith, another option is two more armchairs, probably placed side by side, or otherwise on the diagonal, mirroring the pair with their backs to the dining room/stairs.  I worry that it's too many armchairs, though, and would feel unfriendly: too broken-up with each guest in their own little bubble.  I'll be giving the seating arrangement some thought.

Of course, there are no tables of any kind shown, but there's room to add some.  We do need to pick up some side tables, of which I'd like one to actually be a nest of three, so I can expand them when I need a place to deposit my ever-present revolving pile of current magazines.  I'd also like some side tables that can double as seating in a pinch.

In addition to side tables, it would be great to have a place for a table where we can set up a permanent bar, with pretty glassware, decanters of whiskey and Port, an ice bucket, etc.  There are three places that might be able to accommodate a bar table: immediately behind the sofa, on the wall behind the loveseat and in front of the window that's next to the dining room table.  I have a gorgeous table that I brought back from London with me and I'm thinking about putting it to this use.  I wish it had a lower shelf, but it's a fairly good size otherwise, so it might do the trick.  Unfortunately it's in storage so I'd be guessing its measurements from memory.

The other piece of furniture that I'm considering putting in the space is a desk for my boyfriend to work at.  Part of me wants it there so he can have a place nearby for his work papers.  (Plus, without a designated place, they're sure to take up residence in non-designated places.)  Another part of me wants to relegate it all to the the guest bedroom/exercise room because it's always so untidy.  I think the trick is finding just the right piece: something almost in the vein of a secretary desk or a roll-top desk so it can be closed to hide the clutter.  It would need to be quite small but not so small that it feels cramped because then he won't use it.  Plus, of course, its got to look sufficiently manly if it's going to entice him.  I'll be keeping my eyes open over the next couple of months.

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Rather quiet and a sink for the powder room

Things are a bit slow in the building this week.  The framers put in the last headhouse window, opening up our gorgeous view of Boston Harbor and Charlestown beyond. 

They also ripped out the old staircase from the third floor to the roof.  Yesterday our architectural designer finished the complete dimensioned construction plans for all the staircases in our unit and handed them off to the GC.  The drawings call for newel posts with a routered-in design: a tall rectangle with an arched top.  It's going to take several days, if not longer, to have at least a couple of those milled, so access is a ladder-only affair for the time being. 

Meanwhile, they framed our master bedroom WC, and cut a hole in the floor for the chimney flue so we can see exactly where the adjacent vanity is going to be.  I hope it's going to be big enough for my messy sprawl of products.

They also poured the three concrete steps that take you down from the sidewalk to the basement utility room.  Looks good.

Finally, when I visited the red brick building yesterday the plumber asked me which sink I was planning to put into the powder room.  Well, I knew I wanted a small wall-hung model and was the eyeing the Kohler Taunton.  But then I remembered that the THG faucet I have is deck-mounted, which doesn't work with the Taunton.  The wall it's supposed to hang on is only 22" wide and I'd misremembered that that had to leave space for door trim too.  (It actually doesn't: the wall does a short dog-leg and that's where the trim will go.)  So I spent several hours yesterday trying to find a teeny tiny wall-hung sink no more than 18" wide and yet that would accept an 8" widespread faucet.  Quite the challenge!  Here's what I chose (shown single-drilled but it's available for widespread too):

It's the Signature Hardware Mini Caspero Wall-Mount Sink (17 3/4" wide by 13 3/4" deep).  Mission accomplished.

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Over-the-top in the guest bathroom

I scored an unbelievable buy for the guest bathroom on eBay last week: a brand new Sherle Wagner gold-plated sink faucet.  I don't know exactly what they retail for but I've priced similar non-gold plated faucets and am certain I got this baby for at least 80% off, maybe more.  It arrived yesterday and is very heavy and in immaculate condition.  The finish on mine is brushed gold, but here's the style.

I'm really excited to have something of such amazing quality for about the same price as what a Kohler set would cost.

Sunday, 13 February 2011

The John Robshaw dhurrie arrived

and it's pretty good.  Definitely not too red.

I'm not sure I'd keep it if it weren't final sale.  The pattern is flatter and less subtle than I'd hoped, but I think it'll be a good start in the master bathroom in front of the vanity, at least until I find something I prefer.

Saturday, 12 February 2011

The completed fireplace brickwork

I just realized that I haven't posted any photos of how the brick part of the fireplace turned out.  It's all finished now. 

 Next, they'll attach the terra cotta flue in the foreground of the first two photos and the metal pipe above that.  When we get the finish work stage of the construction, they'll apply the mantel to the face of the brick and board and plaster the top and sides of the firebox.  I'm thinking maybe marble for the finish, though the brickwork is so nice it seems a shame to cover it up.  Any recommendations?

More photos of the skylight and headhouse

Yes, I know it's Saturday and I should be taking a break from work but we had to go in to the building this morning anyway (to pick up our mason and drive him to the airport) so I took some more photos.  Seeing the skylight from beneath, with the plywood removed, was absolutely thrilling.  It's the first time during the project that the reality perfectly matches what I'd imagined that the space would look and feel like.  Love.

Friday, 11 February 2011

Installation of the skylight and the headhouse windows

I went by the red brick building at day's end yesterday and got my first in-person view of the new headhouse's windows.

One more window still needs to go in on the back side of the structure.  It's the one that will give us our ocean view.

Our fabulous mason just received the stone sill for that window this morning and he's going to try to put in this afternoon.  I think that might mean that the window itself can't go in until Monday (the mud probably needs to set).

Overall I'm pretty happy with the windows.  They're really solid and look great from the outside with their beveled muntins.  My issue with them is that there are no muntins on the inside.  (I'd rather have true divided lights, of course, but apparently they don't make those with skinny stiles for double-paned windows because the stiles won't allow for the necessary vaccuum to be created.)  It might be possible to buy more muntins separately from the manufacturer and somehow secure them to the inside of the window.  We'll look into it.

Initially, I'd wanted a glass roof too, and the thought that maybe I should have pushed for it came into my mind yesterday as I stood in the space.  Everyone from my boyfriend to the architects has been really negative on the idea, claiming that the room will get way too hot.  We'll see whether it does, whether the room feels open and airy enough without it, and then go from there.

The skylight was pretty much installed this morning when I stopped by the site:

Love it!!!!!  Unfortunately the plywood covering the floor of the curb box was still nailed in place so I couldn't take photos from below or get a sense of how the light and openness will affect the master bathroom, which is directly below.  Things to look forward to tomorrow!

In less glamorous news, the gas company was there and we're just about hooked up for our gas heating.  They need to let the plumber run one more pipe and then they'll return to get us live.  It will be soooooo amazing to have heat in the building finally!

Also in the utility room, the back door to our little triangle of space boxed in between buildings is getting partially bricked in to allow more HVAC equipment to fit in from of it and hung from the wall outside:

I'll leave you with a shot upwards in that glamourous back triangle, which has proven absolutely essentially for all kinds of mechanical venting, since our building is on a corner and up against other buildings on all sides.