Wednesday, 27 April 2011

The Red Brick Building is insulated

The past month we've been out of town more than we've been in town.  We had a week and a half in Dublin and London, then a week in Boston, and then another week and a half in Istanbul, Porto and Lisbon.  It was an absolutely wonderful vacation but of course, while we were away virtually nothing got done.  Since returning, my partner in crime's mantra has become: "we need to go in to the building every day".

At long last, the insulators completed their work. They took advantage of our absence to blow us off for nearly two weeks, with stories about how their truck had broken down and a series of empty promises to show up on specific dates.  Of course they already have half the money for the job and they've already thrown off all the other scheduled crews (wallboard, flooring, kitchen installation, painting), so there's not much to do but keep calling, keep insisting.  They've jeopardized the whole job and cost us serious money. I know it's bitter, but if I have anything to do with it they're going to have a long wait for the second part of their pay. 

The sheetrock guys started in earnest yesterday after spending several hours on Monday craning huge stacks of the stuff off a truck.  There are piles of wallboard everywhere in the Red Brick Building:

You get the idea.  Hopefully you aren't so excited by the sight of it at long last that you fail to notice the newly-insulated walls.  Mostly they used sprayed-in foam (the yellow and green stuff in the photos), but around the common entryway and between the two units at basement-level they used the traditional pink fluffy stuff:

It's silly, but I love the look of the pink insulation.  Sort of like a flock of flamingos has been jammed into our walls. 

The sheetrockers are making slow progress but they warned us that they could only put two guys on the job yesterday and today but that tomorrow they expect to have a full crew so they can start plastering too.  They also said they were going to work on Saturday.  We'll see.  They seem like good guys but I've been jilted too many times to truly trust again.  So far the basement of Unit 1 is boarded and part of the kitchen/living level of Unit 1.  You used to be able to scoot between the two units in the basement, between the walk-in closets' back walls.  No more.  It's also super dark in the Unit 1 bathroom now because the walls are in but there's no window.  For the time being, here's Unit 1's bedroom:

And the view towards the bathroom:

Friday, 8 April 2011

Installing posts for the roof garden railing

City of Boston building code requires that the red brick building's roof garden be fenced in and dictates the height that the fence needs to be and the distance it needs to be set back from the edge of the roof.  We are having wrought iron railing made that's a simplified version of the balconies' design.  It's supposed to look like this:

This week, our contractor has been installing the bottoms of the posts for the railing.  The top part of the posts is a slightly smaller diameter, so when we're ready for it, it will slips inside the "sleeve" that's now being installed.   Here's the progress, as of quitting time yesterday:

After all of the posts have been anchored beneath the deck of the roof, our roofers need to come back and seal the holes around the base of each post.  Then the roof will be ready for our greenroof subcontractor to begin installing the protection and drainage layers, the drip irrigation system and the soil.  We are hoping they'll be able to do the work the last week of April, since they have another job booked the first part of May, but as I've learned with this project, as soon as you start counting on something happening by a specific date, you're setting yourself up for disappointment, so I'm not holding my breath.

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Making the order sheet for trim

I've been putting together a spreadsheet so that I can order all the red brick building's trim.  I want to get it done by week's end since we're going to be traveling for the next ten days.  As of yesterday evening, the spreadsheet is complete, with the exception of needing to check the look of the proposed crown molding on the second floor.  It's going to be built up from two separate pieces, one wood and hopefully, one plaster.  The plaster sample is supposed to be ready for pick-up tomorrow.  It's very ornate, so I want to make sure it doesn't look too crazy alongside to very plain wood component.

 Here's what I've got for the crown:

It's 6 1/2".  Since the ceilings on that floor are 9 1/2', the plan is to supplement it with a strip of this 4" plaster:

I'm obsessed with the totally gorgeous plaster so fingers crossed that it looks good with the simple cove.  (We were in Dublin last week and the hotel we stayed in had the most ridiculously high ceilings, combined with wonderful, intricate plasterwork that reignited my love of plaster trim.)

This is the design that the baseboard cap is based on:

The millwork carpenter who is doing the work is going to modify it slightly, as shown below, since it's bigger than a normal cap and would be and would look out of proportion with the flat stock that's being mounted beneath it.

The taller version is for the second floor, with its higher ceiling, and the shorter version is for all the other floors, which have slightly lower ceilings.

The window and door trim is based on the salvaged wood we found over a year ago, when we bought the salvaged exterior door and the entry doors to each of the units.

It's 5 1/2", which should work well on the second floor.  The millwork shop is going to make a 4 1/2" version for the other floors.  I wanted something substantial and dramatic to frame the windows, especially because there isn't much room above them on any floor except the second.  Rather than go with small window casing and a small crown, I'm going with generous casing and no crown.   No idea whether that's the right call, but we'll see.

Finally, there are going to be rosettes where the sides and top of the windows (and doors) meet.  I want to use these plaster rosettes (the first is slightly smaller than the second, to match the two different widths of window and door trim), mounted on plain square wood blocks. 

Breathtaking, no? And surprisingly, slightly cheaper than the completely plain stock wood rosettes. 


Monday, 4 April 2011

Door knobs

I paid my fourth visit of the project to the hardware showroom where I plan to buy all the door hardware for the red brick building.  This time, the task was to put together a list of all the knobs and pocket door pulls we'll need in the building. 

We got a fair way down the path, though I need to follow up with photos of all the doors we already have that have existing hardware (there are 5 of those).  We are also going to hold off for a while on the specifics of the entry set for our unit, since it's ultra-complex.  Based on our discussion, the sales guy is putting together an estimate this week. 

For the majority of the interior doors, I'm looking at this knob and finish from Baldwin, but with a 5" plain beveled rectangular backplate, instead of the (fussy) round rope twist one below.

 For the main front door to the building, I'm eyeing this uber-pricey set from Rocky Mountain Hardware, finish TBD, but likely also oil-rubbed bronze.

I really wish all the knobs could be from Rocky Mountain Hardware, or at least, all the ones in our unit.  They feel amazing in the hand - wonderful, substantial and solid.