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The Home Ownership Thread

Discussion in 'Fine Living, Home, Design & Auto' started by Douglas, Jan 31, 2012.

  1. SirReveller

    SirReveller Senior member

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    Dirty. Poast some pixx immediatmenteh once complete!
     
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2016
  2. mafoofan

    mafoofan Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Not sure I ever talked about this. About a year and a half ago, we moved downtown and bought our current apartment in a ~150 year-old cast iron building. After an excruciating co-op and loan approval process, we then started what was supposed to be a minor renovation prior to move-in. Truth be told, the apartment was already in great shape and didn't need any repairs or changes, having been previously owned and renovated by an architect. We just thought to make a few refinements that would be much harder to do in the future.

    Mainly, we wanted to do new flooring -- 10-inch wide solid European oak to replace the existing strip flooring, which may have been original to the factory that the building once housed. Also, in furthering the minimalist aesthetic of the apartment we wanted to replace all molding with a thin reveal (since the floors appeared relatively level, this was not expected to be a problem). Other minor changes included replacing all existing switches and outlets with flush/seamless versions, re-painting the walls, installing a new railing design on the mezzanine, etc.

    At any rate, given a ~1,300 square feet to work on, we were expecting two months of work.

    But shortly after prying off the old flooring, my contractor found that the plywood subfloors were rotting away and warping. Okay, not the biggest deal. Replace them. One more week. Then they removed the plywood . . .

    As it turns out, half the joists in our living room were a foot lower than the rest. For no apparent reason. Whoever had previously converted the space to its current form simply filled-in the gap with debris, sandwiched between two layers of plywood. The contractor suggested installing sister beams to properly correct the problem. Of course, the building then freaked out that we were making "structural changes." I had to then pay an outside structural engineer to approve our plan. It then took a month for the co-op board to approve--during which time no other work could be done. This is all to say nothing of all the extra money and time needed to implement the solution.

    The whole renovation job wound up taking six months, not two.

    After installing the sister beams:

    [​IMG]

    Most. Fucking. Painful. Experience. In. My. Life.

    However, now we probably have the most level floors in all of downtown Manhattan.
     
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2016
    3 people like this.
  3. Piobaire

    Piobaire Senior member

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    That is why I always tell people moving into old spaces to figure double the time and a 30-40% contingency fund on any renovation like that. There's just always something bad lurking if you tear enough of the existing stuff out.

    So did you guys get in? How does it look now?
     
    1 person likes this.
  4. mafoofan

    mafoofan Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Yeah we've been moved-in for about nine months. Place looks great overall, but I'm always spotting tiny details I want to fix up.
     
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  5. mafoofan

    mafoofan Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    "Accent wall" is the answer to no question ever. Why don't you just mount everything to the wall directly and fish the wires up and behind the drywall? Also, there are in-wall speakers you can get and even behind-drywall speakers which are actually invisible. Audio quality will not be the greatest possible, but who cares if you just need decent TV speakers.
     
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2016
  6. Ataturk

    Ataturk Senior member

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    Half the joists were a foot lower than the rest? Were they all in one place? I'm having trouble imagining how that works. Were these actually the ceiling joists for the people below you or something?
     
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  7. Find Finn

    Find Finn Senior member

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    Industrial buildings often have offset floors, as they have machines etc. which need to "buried" into to the floor for the work height to work.


    Foo be glad you are not in real estate, I have dealt with that shit on 70,000 sq.ft. projects.
     
    2 people like this.
  8. Medwed

    Medwed Senior member

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    I would imagine that factory floor is a pretty solid construction, no play no nonsense. But rotting wood ...was there water down there, why would subfloor rot spontaneously? I suspect you have some moisture problem or even worse; condensation problem (no shauden froid)...


    Floors are always come with a bit of a surprise just like hollow walls. When I was building powder room in the lobby of my apartment we needed to excavate the floors to connect drain pipe to existing main collector. When all wood and cement was removed what we found is ash. Compressed 45cm of ash. So all dead space between the floors was filled with layers of ash.
    We dug into it and laid pipe with a proper pitch, it was a dirty job.

    Anyone wants to guess what ash was doing between the floors and how it gotten there?
     
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2016
  9. mafoofan

    mafoofan Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    The back half of the room was lower than the front half.


    Very interesting potential explanation.


    I didn't say the rot was spontaneous. We have no idea when it happened. Again, the building is 150 years old. It was converted to apartments 30-40 years ago. Who knows what's transpired along the way.
     
  10. Find Finn

    Find Finn Senior member

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    It could be as simple as poorly fixed water damaged. Either from a broken pibe, fire or some sort of overflow.
     
  11. Piobaire

    Piobaire Senior member

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    We have the whole house wired this way now, including the patio area, and it's a nice, neat installation. The benefit if streaming right off our NAS, or any of the Internet services, and run off a phone app is just bonus.
     
  12. mafoofan

    mafoofan Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Yeah, I had all of our media wiring hidden behind drywall. All devices are hidden away in a media closet. So, all you see is a TV on the wall--now, if only I could make that go away.

    There was a week or two where we tried to convince ourselves we could live without a television in our living room. But then Game of Thrones came back on and we realized we are nowhere near cultured enough.
     
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2016
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  13. Piobaire

    Piobaire Senior member

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    One of the perks of the hinterlands is square footage. We have our screen and home theatre in its own space and our fireplace/main entertaining area is free of that stuff.

    There's always those flatscreens that look like mirrors when turned off...
     
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  14. Medwed

    Medwed Senior member

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    I have been thinking of concealment for TV and did not find any palatable solutions. Market niche waiting to be filled.
    Firefighting activities is very plausible.
     
  15. mafoofan

    mafoofan Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Could not find a great way either. Anyway, you'd still wind up having your furniture somewhat oriented around the television, hidden or not.
     
  16. MrG

    MrG Senior member

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    We've been trying to figure out concealment, as well. The prior owner did the above-the-fireplace thing, but I hate that idea.

    The best I've seen is to basically build a box that opens and then somehow finish that in a manner that would make it somewhat inconspicuous. If we can find a cover we like, we actually have a great spot to do something like that. I'm thinking we could put the TV on a moveable mount, which would let us put the cover in a place that makes sense aesthetically but also position the TV to a reasonable viewing angle, but, like I said, this is all if we can find/design a cover that works.
     
  17. brokencycle

    brokencycle Senior member

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    It is a very short time frame. OLED TVs are two or three years from becoming fairly mainstream. I know $20k for a 77" TV today is crazy, but it will probably be cut in half every year or 18 months (60"+ 4k TVs were upwards of $6k just two years ago, now they can be had for $500). Plus they'll get thinner and have the ability to be clear when off.
     
    1 person likes this.
  18. mafoofan

    mafoofan Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Our TV is already an OLED. It's very thin and unobtrusive--but it's still a giant black rectangle.
     
  19. brokencycle

    brokencycle Senior member

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  20. Medwed

    Medwed Senior member

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    It is a an empty frame standing or hanging on the wall at your waist level. Even if it becomes transparent you cannot hang painting behind it because it would be unusually low and look odd. Leaving it as is and putting some books or shelves behind would be inconvenient because of no access to those shelfs not to mention it would confuse cats, dogs and children.
    I wish engineers would concentrate on making mini HD-projectors instead of ever bigger TV screens. TVs need to be made obsolete.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2016
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