Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Knox Hill Project: Weekly Update

Interior work was going on in several areas of the house this 3 day weekend. After long consideration we finally determined the master bath suite configuration. One of the hardest parts of old house restoration is creating a bath space that will not only flow well but have a historic flair. This space was carved out of what was the "pass through bedroom" that you had to go through to get to the front master bedroom. We originally planned on creating a master bath and a guest bath in this space along with closet space but after trying several layouts we felt that the space was better suited to just one bathroom with ample walk in closet space, a shower, twin sinks, toilet, and a oversized Whirlpool tub.
Once that space had been drawn out you really need to know what the floorplan looks like in the "real world" and to do this you can either tape this out on the floor or you can do what we did, lay out pieces of wood indicating where walls will be. Once you have it laid out in actual space you can make adjustments "in the real world' before you have wall in place. For example, once things were laid out we determined we wanted the toilet and shower areas separate from the general bath space so we could use a higher cfm bath fan and insure moisture is removed effectively so we decided that single pocket doors will be a way to separate this space. In order to maintain light and visual flow a wood door which will have a Victorian design etched glass panel in it will allow additional light. We also decided on a pocket door going into the master suite closet, again with a glass panel to allow light. We also are incorporating a stained glass window into the hall way which will allow additional light into the space.

The hall way represents another change we must make. As is typical of Cincinnati Second Empire Cottages the ceiling slopes from the front to the back of the house and the ceilings in the rooms do the same. This change is subtle due to the size of the upstairs rooms about 6 inches per 10 feet, however in a long hallway (16 Feet) the slope is visually disturbing which is why we will lower the ceiling slightly in order to achieve a nice flat ceiling. We will take the lowest point as a reference and the change will be minimal . This is especially important since the ceiling and walls in this room, will be wall papered.

We actually got alot done over the weekend and even began hanging some drywall on the closet.
Of course all the work above means that we have mechanicals to run and additional chases to make. In this case two in order to run things like Pex plumbing, electrical and drain lines. We are only removing plaster where absolutely necessary. This will allow us to also insulate the drain lines. Sound deadening is very important on drain lines above living spaces. We also are opening back up the Formal staircase area at the bottom step which originally curved around into the entrance to the formal dining room. This will be a somewhat detailed project as it will require complete removal of the bottom tread and riser and custom fabrication of the new piece to duplicate the original which was 'hacked' into over the years by changes in the floorplan in that area. While the walls were open it was a great opportunity to remove the old knob and tube wiring which has simply been left in the walls when the electrical had been updated over the years.
In my "spare moments" I continue to work on the woodwork stripping. As it turns out our floors were in really good shape (in some areas). Unfortunately we have serious losses in some areas thanks to old cold air returns , electrical and HVAC updates and general abuse of 130 years rendering some areas gouged. As much as I would love to save them they are likely beyond that. With the new square edge oak flooring we will have floors that should last for the next 130 years of the home's life , plus the added benefit visually of inlaid borders. Although it's a major expense I think the house will be worth it. All in all a busy weekend of house work.

No comments: