Saturday, 8 May 2010

Living room & Dining room final photos

According to the dates on my photos - we started this project on April 18 2009. We (I) am very happy to say, it was started and finished in less than one year. Compared to the 4-year kitchen... this was a blistering pace. One of the reasons it happened so fast was the very generous help from a lot of people. In no particular order - my Dad for helping with all the framing, moral support and being another set of eyes and ears in the critical early planning stages. To Steve for helping with gutting the room and of course the floor. Andy (aka the human T-square) for helping with the drywalling, Riley and his friend Tyko for helping with mudding the drywall screw holes. To Alex for her infinite wisdom with space, proportions, her design skills and keen eye, and willingness to jump in and save our bacon on more than one occasion. To Walter for catching what could have been a disaster (more on this later) and his exceptional Terrazzo and tiling skills, Pete for his masonry work and to the fine folks at Woodburners for always having a smile on their face regardless of how many times I stopped in to pick their brains about the fireplace. To Tracey for taking such great photos and for allowing me to post them on the blog. Thanks to all our family, friends and neighbours for their help and encouragement during the darker moments. And last, but certainly not least - to my wife Jill and our two boys for allowing me to do this and for putting up with it all. Jill was a serious trooper in the last weeks of the job and I would not have been able to do anything without her. She was always there to hold the other end of a 10' piece of trim, jump up on the scaffolding at the drop of a hat (or the drop of a spaghetti sauce filled spoon).

Here are some of the technical details. The rooms are roughly 12' square each. The ceiling is 9'. All the trim is quarter sawn White Oak as is the floor. The border is made up of black dyed Swiss Pear sandwiching curly hard Maple. The fireplace is a high efficiency wood burning fireplace and the surround is natural New England slate. The hearth is Terrazzo. The doors in the cabinet are spalted curly hard Maple.

Ok - on with the show.

We were thrilled that we were able to keep the original stained glass windows in the room.

Believe it or not, this piano window was drywalled over!

When I split the spalted maple board, this frog showed up. What a find.

The bits of Ebony and maple are Morse code. It says “Konrad Jill Riley Lucas” on the top line, and “Sauer 2009” on the second line. At least... I hope that is what it says. If there is someone out there that can read Morse code and if I have a typo... please don’t tell me.

For some reason - loading the firewood drawer for the first time was a real thrill.

We are now keeping an eye out for a piece of original artwork for the space above the mantel.

This is the only outside corner of the crown molding and is one of my favourite spots in the room.

We are also really pleased with the effect of the bulkhead in the room. It divides it up into two spaces, but still allows flow between the two rooms.

The underside of the builkead

Another favourite view of mine.

As is typical of Tracey - she always manages to take a shot that surprises me. This was it - a view into the room from an original part of the house. There is some pretty amazing woodwork in the house - some of which can be seen in the left of this photo. Hopefully the old and the new will blend together in time.

And for that disaster I mentioned earlier. When we were planning the fireplace, the depth of the hearth was not as defined as it should have been. This was a serious oversight on my part. At one point, we were at Jill’s family cottage, and I happened to measure the hearth depth. It was 12". My head was swimming with so many numbers and details that I must have assumed this would be up to code for our fireplace. Just to be safe - I even increased it to 14" thinking we would be free and clear for sure. The fireplace arrived, we installed it according to the supplied instructions paying close attention to all the offsets, minimum height restrictions etc. Somehow one number was overlooked despite being clearly written on one of the diagrams. Walter delivered the hearth and put it in place while I was in San Francisco. The morning I was to fly home, I checked my email in the hotel to find a very frantic note from Walter asking me to double check the depth of the hearth. He was concerned that it was not deep enough. The blood drained from my face as I sat there downloading the installation manual from the fireplace manufacturers website. Flipped through the pdf to the page I knew had the depth.

18" mimimum.

There were not enough 4 letter words I could string together. I called Jill and asked her to double check the depth - but I knew it was too short. So in the last hour of getting ready to leave for home, I was trying to figure out how to salvage the situation. I sat in the airport with my laptop looking up the code specs for fireplaces. 18" was the magic number. It was a somewhat depressing flight home. Up until this point, we had not compromised on anything and the hearth is a pretty focal point of the room.

When I returned home, we quickly realized we would not be able to modify anything to make this work. So we had to make a new hearth. Gulp. The next issue was how to do it so our error was not obvious. Enter Walter and Alex. Within an hour, we had a new plan. We would extend the framing in front of the fireplace by 3" extend it by 3" on the side as well so that the mitered corners of the floor met the corner of the slate underneath. Walter would make a new hearth with a jog in the left side to extend the hearth 18" in front of the fireplace, but keep it to the original 14" above the firewood drawer so we could still access it easily. We also modified the color and texture of the hearth a bit. Anyway - here is a shot of the first hearth;

And a shot of the final 18" deep hearth.

In the end, we are way happier with this new hearth. The extra depth gives it much more presence in the room. I suspect very few people would realize there was a catastrophic error and this was a compromise. So thanks again to Walter and Alex for their creative contribution to make lemonaid from this major lemon.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Beautiful work, Konrad. You must be very pleased with it. It's been great following your progress.

Cheers ;-)

Paul Chapman

9 May 2010 at 09:00  
Blogger Steve said...

Stunning work Konrad. Don't worry about art for the wall, just find a beautiful old mirror so you can see more room :-)

Steve Denvir

9 May 2010 at 15:51  
Blogger Konrad said...

Thanks Paul and Steve. Funny you should mention a mirror... we have a very old gold leafed mirror complete with silver leaf backing - but it is just the wrong thing for the room. We currently have 4 small paintings from our neighbour Shannon that we are considering. Well... considering how to keep all 4 of them to be honest:)


9 May 2010 at 16:08  
Blogger teal and gold said...

Wow, Konrad most impressive. I second the mirror.


9 May 2010 at 17:37  
Blogger Konrad said...

Ok. You guys are starting to get me thinking about this mirror thing. I will give it a try and report back.


9 May 2010 at 18:40  
Blogger Mike Roberts said...

Spectacular craftsmanship, Konrad.
Well worth the effort. Thank you for sharing.


10 May 2010 at 18:04  
Anonymous matthayes said...

Hey Konrad,

Great work. I'm a construction manager who has to routinely chase after folks to get baseline quality for my clients.

It's really inspiring to see that there are still folks like yourself that take pride in the process and the product.

Keep up the great blog.


11 May 2010 at 08:35  
Blogger David said...

Konrad, one more time, this is abbsolutly breath taking!! you have to be realy proud of your work! The Planes are fabulous, the living room is to the same level of perfection and details!

11 May 2010 at 11:09  
Anonymous JeffB said...

Great Job. It has been a lot of fun to watch the room come together over time. Congratulations.

11 May 2010 at 16:33  
Blogger Joe J said...

Beautiful job, Konrad! I've enjoyed following the progress and I look forward to your posting a comment on how great it felt to kick up your feet and enjoy your first celebratory drink in the room.


11 May 2010 at 17:35  
Blogger Konrad said...

Thanks everyone for the very kind comments.

Joe - it feels pretty great to kick my feet up and pause for a few moments. It has been pretty cool out this last week and normally it would annoy me, but it has allowed us to enjoy the fireplace. Man, does it really heat the place up! It is pretty amazing what a high efficiency wood burning fireplace can do with a handful of white oak kindling!


12 May 2010 at 22:39  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I echo all the superlatives above. And one more thing...those original leaded/stained glass windows are a treasure that came with the house. The remodel that you have done is as though it was done specifically to brighten and showcase those windows. It is all of a piece--for example, the horizontal line that runs through the windows ties the whole room together in a ribbon.

Wiley Horne

15 May 2010 at 02:23  
Blogger lollmees said...

It just hurts how beautiful it is. my deepest respect.

17 June 2010 at 10:16  
Blogger livewire said...

As a custom cabinet builder, I now what it takes to do a room like your living room. Beautiful craftsmanship & awesome attention to detail.
You have mad skills! Brad

14 August 2011 at 13:14  

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