The second floor itself also provided challenges, as the owners wanted hot-water radiant heating. The flooring is 3-inch-thick concrete with radiant water tubes running through it. The concrete provides thermal mass, which helps keep the heat in, but this type of system is commonly done on the ground floor slab.
“We did engineering research to figure out how to reinforce the structure, so it could carry the weight of the concrete system,” Pavelka notes. “Instead of a traditional 2 by 10 floor joists, we used LVL [laminated veneer lumber] as the floor structure. It’s a high-strength engineered wood that makes for more consistent floor beams, so it will be able to carry the weight of concrete plus the structure without sagging or deflection.”
The owners made a fireplace with a double mantel the focal point in their new master suite. The completely custom mantel work is divided into two pieces: a traditional wood mantel surrounding the fireplace itself and another one extending to the ceiling. A flat-panel television sits between the two.
Handmade, hand-glazed tiles from Sonoma, Calif., grace the top of the mantel. The hearth is a unique marble called Dakota mahogany marble, and the team pulled the fireplace together by using some of this marble for the keystone at the top of the tile surround.
Getting it Right
Normandy Remodeling did extensive remodeling of the existing areas of the home that tie into the new space. Upstairs, a partial remodel on the parents’ former master bedroom became a hallway to give the teenagers and a newly designated guest room access to the second bathroom. For the owners’ convenience, a part of their old master bathroom and walk-in closet became a second-floor laundry room. Along with the new master bath, the renovation required a new sanitary line and new water service upgrades.
The design removed a set of stairs that led down into a furnished basement from the kitchen and created another set of stairs in the mudroom for basement access. Although it was a standard staircase, to support the new stairs, crews had to reframe some of the floor joists in the existing part of the house that connects inside the garage.
When the team removed the old stairway to the basement, they moved a wall 3 feet to reclaim the space. The kitchen had a beautiful and unique tin ceiling, and the expansion left a ceiling space that needed to be patched. The owners conducted research for matching tin ceiling material and eventually found some that had to be imported from Australia.
Even small interior details were meticulously selected. Cast-brass door hinges, doorknobs and pocket-door trim were located to recall the existing door hardware. In the new space, the owners had push-button light switches installed. The millwork, stacked base and casing details could not be fabricated by existing equipment, so Normandy Remodeling had to have the trim supplier make new custom knives to cut matching moulding.
“When you are working in a house this old, nothing is straightforward, but that’s what made it such an extraordinary project,” Pavelka says. “When you walk across the threshold from the historic home into the new space we created, it’s seamless, and that’s what makes me the most proud.”
KJ Fields writes from Portland, Ore., about remodeling and design.