Ira performed general contracting duties. It was not an easy task, but it saved us about 20% of the overall cost. We hired and coordinated the framing contractor, the concrete contractor, plumber, tiler, insulation installer, drywaller, trim specialist and our good friend who was the electrician.
Demolition began July 19th and we moved back in October 30th. After we returned the solar panels and the geothermal heat pump system were installed.
Here are two during photos:
|We converted the garage to living space. It became our library and is an extension of the living room.|
|We opened up half of the back of the house to install sliding glass doors to the backyard. It really brings the outdoors into the room and adds visual space.|
|We kept the cathedral ceiling in the original part of the living room, while removing the faux beams and open, deck-like railing of the staircase. We also moved the ceiling fan so that the light from the skylight wouldn’t flicker when the fan is on.Removing the wall to the garage also altered the railroad-like quality of the living room and allowed furniture to be rearranged. The TV and electronics were previously under the open staircase. Now the TV is over the fireplace and the electronics are in the corner of the library.
The stair treads and the mantlepiece were made from one of the oak trees we removed, sadly, to provide sunlight for the solar panels. Once milled, we found both trees were very rotten and would have come down during SuperStorm Sandy. Because of the wood rot we realized less board feet and had to buy oak lumber to complete the trim on the staircase.
We did the refacing of the fireplace ourselves after we moved back in.
|The library showcases our book collection as well as accommodating small meetings. The built-in bookcases were designed and built by Mind Designs of Bohemia.|
|The kitchen was tiny and the cabinets were dark. By moving the door from the kitchen to the dining room we gained six feet more counter and cabinet space. We also removed the soffit. The lighter oak Forest Stewardship Council-certified cabinets created even more of a feeling of spaciousness. Under-cabinet and over-cabinet lighting completed the look and feel of light and roominess.|
|Meanwhile, the entire north-facing wall in the dining room became sliding glass doors that brought in more light and the outdoors. The R value of the insulated double-pane doors is probably about the same as the R value of the original wall.|