Friday, December 16, 2011

Piper Street Residence: A Case for Fast-Tracking


A speedy small project is going up on Piper Street in downtown Healdsburg. This client visited Studio Ecesis in September and wanted to put a second story on their small, newly acquired, home before the rains came.  I was hesitant to take the job.  In addition to this difficult timeline there was the challenge of  making a diminutive Healdsburg bungalow into a successful two story structure.  So often when you try to expand a simple monumental gabled structure like these bungalows you wind up compromising the scale and significance of the front facade and entry.  

The headroom under the existing roof really precluded placing any kind of master bedroom in the attic without violating code requirements.  It was going to be necessary to raise the roof.

Cupola Framing Prior to Window Installation

To incorporate useful attic ventilation and bring light into the attic addition, a cupola "cooling chimney" was proposed for the center of the residence.  This also neutralized the dominant height of the new crossing gable since both gables were reduced to tributary elements to this central form.  

The client worked very quickly and we now have the framing in place.  Any storms now should be "tarp-able"and the crew can work throughout the winter.  It is important to realize this project was executed as a "shell package" for an experienced builder-client who understood the coordination issues that are still outstanding in the absence of a more complete set of documents.  Interior elevations prior to the commencement of construction are the usual norm and we elected to deal with these interior issues later due to the time crunch.

Jamb extensions, outlet locations, lighting, transition strips, finish build ups and a myriad of other interior work will be coordinated in situ.  Despite the ensuing delays on the interior work that will be associated with this lack of initial coordination, the client was able to get a roof on the project.  In this manner, they are able to work through the winter.  For anyone familiar with moving between homes, this "jump on the weather" can be an invaluable money saver despite the inefficiencies associated with this lack of initial document coordination.  

Many times a client will ask me to if they can start construction prior to the interior documents being complete.  My customary advice is to avoid this practice.  It is most often a penny wise and pound foolish approach where the client minimizes their initial design expenditure and winds up doing things twice or paying several subs to do head scratching in the field.  These are expensive solutions to something that could have been deliberately resolved on the drawing board before it ever became a "problem" in the field.  All of this to say that every project is different.  Here is an example of a project that deserved a fast-track approach because the carrying cost of another living circumstance outweighed the inefficiencies of a mere shell package at the outset.

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