Saturday 8 August 2009

seventy-five 2x4’s later...

... we have a framed living room and fireplace.

The french polishing stages of 5 planes provided an excellent “window” for working on the living room/dining room. My Dad was able to offer a welcome and much needed hand with all this. The basic set-up was to stack the lumber on the front porch and pass it through the window as needed. Dad was in charge of measuring and piloting the chop saw (and sadly, it is not a Festool). He was also a great sounding board to figure out just how to build a 48" full extension drawer under the hearth. He played a vital role in getting this done - thanks Dad.

Here is a quick shot of the bulkhead to return this space into two rooms. The bulkhead drops down to the same height as the pocket and double beveled glass doors. That trim line will be carried from the doors to the bulkhead. The effect of the bulkhead is amazing - the space does not feel like a dark bowling ally anymore - it feels much wider (which is exactly what we were hoping would happen).

This is a shot of the early stages of figuring out the fireplace framing. Dad kept shaking his head and I swear I heard him mutter under his breath “nothing is ever done simple in this house!” There were a few frustrating moments, but I think we both enjoyed the challenge - and certainly the reward of solving the issues. I will post more photos once the drawer is completed and installed.

Another shot a little further along.

We also took time to do some new wiring in the two bedrooms above this room. We ran several new receptacle lines and cleaned out the last knob and tube circuit in the house.

The next step is to create a barrier between the windows and the new 2x4 framing to contain the spray in polyurethane foam insulation.

There was also quite a bit of work going on outside. The chimney was taken down to the last few courses of brick and then rebuilt.

Here is a shot of the completed chimney. See the line where the color changes? The lower section is not the actual brick color... someone painted it! The 70’s were not good to this house.

The two new windows were also installed - and we are thrilled with the results. We would not have removed the original windows if it meant loosing the stained glass. We worked with the window manufacturer and based the upper picture window on the dimensions of the stained glass window frame. A few plane strokes later, the original frames dropped in from the inside.

One of the biggest challenges was figuring out how to support the two courses of brick given that the original window frames were structural. We did not want to leave the original frames in because they would reduce the amount of glass, so we had two very large 1/4" thick steel “L” brackets made. The brick was notched out from the inside and the bracket was carefully slid in place. The bottom of the “L” supports both courses of brick and the vertical part keeps everything rigid. Thankfully the brick held fast and nothing moved.

If you are wondering what’s up with all the cross bracing - here is the scoop. We had considered using LVL’s - but they are about 10x’s as much - so we used regular spruce 2x4’s. To combat the inevitable twisting, warping and cupping we cross braced everything. Maybe a little more than we needed to - but nothing makes me more mental than drywall screws popping and walls moving.


Anonymous JeffB said...

Great job. I love the look of exposed 2x4s, especially when they are nice and straight... something geometrically satisfying about it all.

If I may be so bold as to offer a suggestion... it seems like there is lots of "wasted" space above/around the fireplace. That diagonal run that the exhaust takes really uses up a lot of what could be useful space. I have no idea what code is for a wood burning fireplace like that (I am assuming triple wall stainless ducting) or how hot the ducting might get, but if the exhaust made a run to the side and then up you would have all of the space above the fireplace open.

I have a gas fireplace located on an exterior wall in my house. It exhausts directly out the back but the bump out made for it extends floor to ceiling. So, I decided to cut a big hole in the drywall above the fireplace and put in framing to support a one foot deep recess in the bump out. I then mounted a plasma TV and a center channel in the recess. A flat screen would probably look out of place in that room but shelving or cabinets might be a nice way to reclaim some of that space. Before I did the work I was worried the heat within the wall would be too high but I measured and it never got above 85 degrees (Fahrenheit) with the fireplace running.

Keep up the great work.

20 August 2009 at 15:01  
Blogger Konrad said...

Hi Jeff,

Thanks for the note and the suggestions. Being bold is a good thing - I am glad you felt comfortable with it. There are pretty strict rules about the angle of the ducting for the fireplace. It has to be 45 degrees and must have a minimum of 2" of space between it and anything combustible. I know what you mean - there is quite a bit of dead space back there.

There is a large central panel above the mantel for a fabulous piece of artwork (yet to be found). We have moved our TV and entire audio system to the sunroom to keep it in a dedicated space. We are wiring these 2 rooms for sound though - two pairs of ceiling mount speakers with a separate volume control in one of the rooms. The receiver has 3 ”zones” and we will use this space as zone 2. Zone 3 will be the kitchen once we peel off the kitchen roof (phase 5 of the overall renovation).


20 August 2009 at 21:04  
Anonymous JeffB said...

Ah, I figured there might be a code reason for the ducting to be the way it is. And the requirement makes perfect sense -- you want the combustion byproducts to make their way up and out of the house, not get backed up it some kind of ducting maze. However, if you only need a two inch clearance then you still have plenty of room to carve out around the ducting. Maybe the artwork above the mantel can hide a wall safe or some other kind of "secret" nook (or have I been been watching too many detective movies?). Then there is lots of space between what I assume is the intake ducting and the exhaust...

You have to forgive me. I spend about 90% of my work around the house time trying to carve out storage space for all our junk. So I guess I am hypersensitive to any opportunity to carve out a little more.

Sounds like you have a fantastic plan for the audio/video setup. When you have the walls down is the perfect time to do those sorts of things.

21 August 2009 at 08:45  
Blogger Konrad said...

Hey Jeff,

don’t apologize - I appreciate your comments. There has been talk about a panel that is a door to somewhere... I hope to take advantage of some of that dead space for sure.


24 August 2009 at 22:15  

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