Work has resumed on MAW Chicago’s whole-home renovation project in Chicago after several weeks of standstill caused by the city’s historic preservation department proceedings. After five weeks of delays, MAW Chicago in Palatine, Ill., lost no time getting work started again and trying to catch up on lost time.
In April when Qualified Remodeler visited the project, the entire interior had been gutted and framed from scratch. Only a small wood panel ceiling in the basement remains of the original interior. The gutting reflects a change of mind by the homeowners, who chose to move forward in a new direction since QR’s most recent visit. MAW Chicago partner Mike Nagel says the plans have changed many times already, which is par for the course especially on a project this large.
Change orders in general have been an issue on this project and have amounted to a substantial increase to the overall budget. Nagle has experienced more change orders on this project than on any other in memory; they come with the territory and his team is always ready to deliver for the client. However, at this point in April with an August deadline, the project is at the point where any more change orders will affect the project completion deadline, Nagle says.
Progress has been made since we last visited the jobsite a few months ago and are highlighted below in no particular order:
- ICF walls comprise roughly 50 percent of the structure now that the previous addition on the rear of the home has been removed, and the home has been separated from the house next door to the north. The combination of the ICFs and closed-cell spray foam insulation will contribute to the exceptional energy efficiency performance expected when the home is complete.
- Complete replacement of the home’s entire electrical system was completed the day of our visit. While the owners aren’t as interested in home technology gadgets and gizmos, the home will be thoroughly modern with every convenience. And, should they or future owners desire to add technology that requires additional wiring, a more-than-ample 3-in. pvc pipe snakes through the walls to make wire pulling easy.
- Plans for a big window on the south wall of the kitchen were scrapped and the opening framed in when the owners caught wind of a neighbor’s plans for creating an outdoor living area of their own, onto which the window would face. The inoperable transom windows across the top of that wall, however, will provide plenty of natural light for the kitchen.
- Owners still have not decided whether to keep the existing garage structure or replace it with a new one. In either case, the roof of the garage will provide ample outdoor living space. This living space will be connected to the main house via an extra-large, 10-ft.-wide bridge/deck combo that itself will provide even more living space plus waterproof coverage for the ground-level deck area below.
- Limestone exterior was going up the day we visited, making the rear of the home arguably more attractive than the front of the home. With no front yard and owners spending all of their outdoor time in the back yard, the grand rear exterior makes sense.
- Plans for a fourth-floor living space have been scrapped due to historic preservation issues. Therefore, an opening to a planned staircase to that level has been framed in. Should feelings or historic preservation board members change in the future, the staircase can be reopened, and ample structural support is in place to accommodate the load.
- Tuckpointing aplenty is in order for the existing brick walls. Once finished and spray-foam insulation is applied, the existing walls will be ultra efficient.
- Historic preservation rules prevent the replacement of the entry door jamb. The doors can and will be replaced, however.
- An extra loop of hydronic heating tubing is in place for snow melt on the back yard and all walkways on the property. Hydronic heat runs throughout the entire interior of the home, too, which will provide comfortable, efficient heating through the cold Chicago winters.