Tuesday, March 16, 2021

The Word for Today - Compromise

Nobody wants to have to compromise - but when you’re renovating an older house it becomes an acquired skill.  Sometimes doing what you want is either absurdly expensive or physically impossible.  That’s kind of what happened on this house (I keep hearing Mick Jagger singing "you can't always get what you want" in my head 😂). 


I desperately want to make the second floor an amazing en suite bedroom, with tall ceilings that accentuate the funky angles of the hip roof.  But the current roofline is a problem, so we need to add two new dormers - matching the existing hip dormer on the front of the house.

Typical Dormer Styles - the one on the left is our bungalow

To accomplish that, a simple solution was to post a new structural ridge beam across the ceiling, but that meant lower ceilings and a post that would go through the dining room, ruining the antique hutch and just looking weird.  Ugh….

Can you tell it's a challenge?  Joe Leasure L&L Structural Engineering

So we brought in some structural engineering expertise.  After lots of measuring and discussion and running from the attic to the basement to see where structural beams lined up - we came up with a plan.  Can you tell it was a challenge?  Joe Leasure was deep in thought figuring out a path forward!  

The good news:  I get my tall ceilings and the two gables that will create a big bedroom suite.  

The not so good news: the gables can’t have a hip roof style to match the gable on the front of the house - they will need to have a standard gable to give us the structural strength we need.  We need to install a structural ridge beam on both gables - and that load needs to be carried by a post all the way to the basement.  

At first this drove me crazy.  But then I realized 1) These gables are on the side and back of the house, so I’m hoping it won’t be too noticeable and 2) the front porch is a standard gable roof, so that style already exists on the house.

The front of the house has two different gable styles

The worse news:  we will need a tiny gable, affectionally called the pork chop, on the 4th side of the roof to allow us to post the new structure to the basement.  I’ve seen them on other houses and they’re not super noticeable.  But it's still a bit odd. And in our case, we didn’t have any other option.  So a tiny pork chop gable it is.

And in better news, the bathroom can now be bigger and more functional.  The initial design was a narrow bathroom with a bathtub and no shower.  Now it will be much more spacious, with a big glassed in shower and lots of storage.

First plan - small bath with no shower

New Plan - large bath with shower and big vanity (size TBD)

So did I get exactly what I wanted?  Not quite.  But this is a pretty nice compromise that will give us the structural integrity we need, while meeting some nice design goals.  Good thing we have all this figured out, because work is starting!  

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