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New Digs

#1 User is offline   hrothgar 

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Posted 2020-August-22, 12:45

So, after low these many years, I am finally building some new digs for retirement.
(Well, more formally getting a condo custom built into an old mill building in Massachusetts)

I thought that folks might find the plans mildly amusing

Overall layout
https://www.dropbox...._21_20.pdf?dl=0

Main architectural accents
https://www.dropbox...._05_20.pdf?dl=0

The dining room table will be three of these, end to end.
(4" thick slab of hickory)
https://www.dropbox....4%20AM.png?dl=0

Tile wainscotting in the rear (bedroom area, etc.)
https://www.dropbox....4%20AM.png?dl=0
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#2 User is offline   johnu 

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Posted 2020-August-22, 16:36

Looks very "custom" and expensive. I see a couple of small storage areas that don't seem like much, but that's because I live in an area where most houses have full basements and/or attics/garage where you can store a lot of things. A lot of people allocate an entire bedroom to storage if they live in condos.

Looks like the square footage is around 2100 SF based on the flooring numbers, but only 1 BR? I know you said it was your retirement house, but only 1 BR will limit your resale market if you ever decide to sell.

Good luck on your construction. I completely rebuilt an old house from just the foundation and it was very stressful with little and big things that either go wrong or need your attention for final decisions. Get the best trade people you can find who will use high quality materials. It will save you money in the long run.
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#3 User is offline   hrothgar 

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Posted 2020-August-22, 16:46

View Postjohnu, on 2020-August-22, 16:36, said:

Looks very "custom" and expensive. I see a couple of small storage areas that don't seem like much, but that's because I live in an area where most houses have full basements and/or attics where you can store a lot of things. A lot of people allocate an entire bedroom or garage to storage if they live in condos.

Looks like the square footage is around 2100 SF based on the flooring numbers, but only 1 BR? I know you said it was your retirement house, but only 1 BR will limit your resale market if you ever decide to sell.

Good luck on your construction. I completely rebuilt an old house from just the foundation and it was very stressful with little and big things that either go wrong or need your attention for final decisions. Get the best trade people you can find who will use high quality materials. It will save you money in the long run.



Thanks for the suggestions!

For the Boston area, the price is actually quite reasonable. Especially for close to 2300 square feet. (The flooring #s don't include space under islands / counters etc). One of the nice things about being able to build from scratch is that it's a lot cheaper than making changes later on and leaving out stuff like interior walls, doors, bath tubs, and the like lets you spend move on the important stuff (like high end appliances, arches)

I agree that a 2300 sf 1 bedroom is a little insane, but I like open floor plans. And if folks want to start carving up space, its easy enough to add walls.

WRT storage, the entire area above the bathrooms / laundry is storage (that isn't included in the square footage)
The small storage room has a captain's ladder leading up to a five foot high second "floor"
Some of this gets eaten up by the HVAC system and the water cooler and the like, however, there is plenty of room for crap.

FWIW, I definitely agree wrt to choice of material and tradesmen. For example, I'm going with 14 gauge stainless steel for the islands just because I don't ever want to worry about these. In a similar vein, I'm going with quarry tile for the kitchen / bathroom because its (nigh) indestructible
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#4 User is offline   johnu 

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Posted 2020-August-22, 19:30

Lots of details to think about. I specified engineered wood i-joists for the floors because they provide perfectly level floors because the i-joists are near perfectly straight, compared to dimensional lumber. The 2x4s for framing interior walls aren't perfectly straight. The framers weren't careful with some of the door and window 2x4s and some had significant bowing/curves so the door frames and molding don't line up correctly. Other small things like the water shut-off valves. The plumber used good quality angle stop valves (typically have oval shaped handles) but after a lot of years they do some leaking when they have to be shut off/on during maintenance. Ball valve shut-offs are only a few dollars more but are the best quality. Same for things like getting the best quality dimmer switches. The details will drive you crazy, especially if you only notice them after construction is finished. :lol:
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#5 User is offline   hrothgar 

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Posted 2020-August-23, 04:04

Thanks again!

One thing that I did was to

1. Choose a home inspector who is known for being incredibly anal
2. Arrange for him to do multiple visits to the site

He's already done two full inspections and will be doing two more

Couple nice thing about the project is that the

1. It's in a national registry building, which requires a certain standard of care
2. The team working on this has spent the last 10 years converting this space to condos. They're about 75% of the way done. So they know what they're doing
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#6 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2020-August-23, 04:38

Most;ly I will keep it simple and say it sounds good. My knowledge of home building and design does not go far beyond knowing how to pick up a phone and call someone. But I have known others who get deep into the details and I am always impressed. So good luck, it sounds well thought out, I am sure you will enjoy it.

Boston is where I had my first lobster. I grew up in St. Paul and I was 15 or so before I even had shrimp. Lots of bass,, freshly caught, but seafood had to wait. When I was in grad school I drove out to visit a friend who was going to MIT. Without any particular plans we stopped to eat where you could point at the lobster you wanted and say "I'll have that one".

So it all sounds very nice. Congrats.
Ken
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#7 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2020-August-23, 09:59

Congttats, Richard. Btw, If you ever want to resell a condo, I hear the Russians are eager buyers - at a healthy premium.
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#8 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2020-August-23, 11:03

Looks pretty nifty especially for someone who loves to cook. Good idea to pay someone to check the work every week or two. Why not move the kitchen sink and dishwasher farther away from the stove to give more working counter space while cooking? How much foot traffic and other noise is there near the leftmost and bottom walls of the sleeping area? If that's a possible issue, it's pretty cheap to fix during construction.
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#9 User is offline   hrothgar 

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Posted 2020-August-23, 11:39

View Posty66, on 2020-August-23, 11:03, said:

Looks pretty nifty especially for someone who loves to cook. Good idea to pay someone to check the work every week or two. Why not move the kitchen sink and dishwasher farther away from the stove to give more working counter space while cooking? How much foot traffic and other noise is there near the leftmost and bottom walls of the sleeping area? If that's a possible issue, it's pretty cheap to fix during construction.


There was a tradeoff between the size of the kitchen triangle and the amount of working space available on the counter top.
With this said and done the dishwasher is on the wrong side of the sink in this drawing.
(And the sink should be a couple feet further away from the stove.

There is hall way on either side of the bedroom, however, there's only five units in this wing of the building and only two of the neighbors need to use this stretch of hallway so it shouldn't be that loud. With this said and done, there will be insulation going in for noise abatement.
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#10 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2020-August-23, 13:09

Good idea to flip the sink and d/w locations. Is your shower curbless/roll-in? Hopefully you'll never need this but you will appreciate it if you ever do. Something to discuss with your architect.
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#11 User is offline   hrothgar 

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Posted 2020-August-23, 13:16

View Posty66, on 2020-August-23, 13:09, said:

Is your shower curbless/roll-in?
Hopefully you'll never need this but you will appreciate it if you ever do. Something to discuss with your architect.


Yes. I'm only 53, but even so, I spent a lot of thought about aging in place.

For example, the tile for the kitchen and the bathroom areas is abrasive quarry tile which is pretty much as non slip as you can get.

Putting grab bars into the showers and near the toilet.

The floors are all designed to be completely flat to minimize the chance of tripping.
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#12 User is offline   Phil 

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Posted 2020-August-23, 15:36

Looks pretty nice!

Space for a 20 person dining table is wow.

Even though you dont want it, Id plan for the 2nd BR. Much easier to run the electrical conduit while things are open so Id drop in a few J boxes in the floor. Consider the HVAC design too.

Speaking of aging in place, we are looking at Assisted Living for my folks now. Aside from grab bars, the other key feature is for the shower enclosure to be flush with the bathroom floor. Cheaper units have a crappy silicone divider but the nicer ones have a channel drain and grate.
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#13 User is offline   hrothgar 

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Posted 2020-August-23, 15:45

View PostPhil, on 2020-August-23, 15:36, said:

Looks pretty nice!

Space for a 20 person dining table is wow.

Even though you dont want it, Id plan for the 2nd BR. Much easier to run the electrical conduit while things are open so Id drop in a few J boxes in the floor. Consider the HVAC design too.

Speaking of aging in place, we are looking at Assisted Living for my folks now. Aside from grab bars, the other key feature is for the shower enclosure to be flush with the bathroom floor. Cheaper units have a crappy silicone divider but the nicer ones have a channel drain and grate.


Shower is flush, all the way through.

Not sure if it is apparent, but those round things running up the center of the room are 18" diameter pine tree trunks that are holding up the second floor of the mill building. There will be power run out to most of them.

This might help understand the size of the place (and what its going to look like with an open floor plan). Note, this picture is taken at roughly the midpoint of the room.
https://www.dropbox....7%20PM.png?dl=0
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#14 User is offline   thepossum 

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Posted 2020-August-23, 20:09

View Posthrothgar, on 2020-August-22, 12:45, said:

So, after low these many years, I am finally building some new digs for retirement.
(Well, more formally getting a condo custom built into an old mill building in Massachusetts)

I thought that folks might find the plans mildly amusing

Overall layout
https://www.dropbox...._21_20.pdf?dl=0

Main architectural accents
https://www.dropbox...._05_20.pdf?dl=0

The dining room table will be three of these, end to end.
(4" thick slab of hickory)
https://www.dropbox....4%20AM.png?dl=0

Tile wainscotting in the rear (bedroom area, etc.)
https://www.dropbox....4%20AM.png?dl=0


Looks very palatial :)
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#15 User is offline   hrothgar 

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Posted 2020-August-24, 03:11

View Postthepossum, on 2020-August-23, 20:09, said:

Looks very palatial :)


Given that a bunch of the design elements are taken from the Alhambra, you are dead on...
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#16 User is offline   mycroft 

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Posted 2020-August-24, 10:10

Well, this is wonderful - for you. I am not going to make any suggestions at all, because You are Clearly Not Me.

Open plan - where do I go when I need to get away from everyone?
Dinner for 20 - where do I go when someone hires out the place for 20 guests? Because I guarantee you I'll never be doing that. Well, maybe a potluck before/after 5 tables of bridge, but even then I'm hiring a party planner, and disappearing after the game gets scored.
2100 sq. ft - yeah, my 500 and floor for 1600 sq ft of mess to accumulate...

Best of luck with the construction, and many joyful years of use!
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#17 User is offline   hrothgar 

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Posted 2020-August-24, 10:22

View Postmycroft, on 2020-August-24, 10:10, said:


Dinner for 20 - where do I go when someone hires out the place for 20 guests? Because I guarantee you I'll never be doing that.


Back in the before times, I'd host a dinner party with 10 - 20 guests every other month or so...

There's an awful lot of back and forth going on with the architect / contractor

For example, the discussion when they figured out that 1200 CFM blower motor for the hood was not a typo
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#18 User is offline   thepossum 

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Posted 2020-August-24, 20:11

View Posthrothgar, on 2020-August-24, 03:11, said:

Given that a bunch of the design elements are taken from the Alhambra, you are dead on...


I'm showing my ignorance that I just had to look up some pictures of the Alhambra 🙂 A small coincidence though, a couple of days ago I had a nice tryout of an Alhambra guitar in one of my favourite local stores
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#19 User is offline   FelicityR 

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Posted 2020-August-25, 03:14

It looks absolutely lovely, but I think it's important when getting older to have an outdoor area with a property, either a garden with a house or bungalow, or a balcony with a flat/apartment.

I realise that the original building probably prohibits that, together with the additional cost of erecting a balcony which needs further supports and struts. Maybe it is possible to have windows that open fully (bi-folding) on the sunny side of the building and have a Juliet balcony incorporated into the design. That way you will be able to sit direct in sunlight in an easy chair and drink coffee or a nice glass of wine in the open air.

Anyway, whatever you decide, I truly hope you enjoy your retirement home.
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#20 User is online   pilowsky 

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Posted 2020-August-25, 04:05

I haven't looked at the plans because homes are intensely personal. I was born in Capetown and have lived for more than a few weeks in more than a dozen cities large and small.
Sydney is my favourite. Sheffield, England I liked the least.
I have lived in and renovated so many houses that I will never move again. The clip below provides all the advice you will ever need. The guy that made this show also made VEEP.
https://www.youtube....h?v=M0QxQoOInV0
Good luck I hope it all works out smoothly. Our last one was the best. I'm not planning another move.
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