|Pazzo Verde, LLC eco conscious designing, building & living|
This Saturday 5/18 and Sunday 5/19, 11am-5pm. Open studios at 52 O St NW. Come see lots of good art from great DC artists!
I am quoted in an article about Green Design, Washingtonian Magazine. They include me in a small list of those designers that go above and beyond in our green practices! Get your copy at newsstands today!
Let's see here...I'll start where I left off.
Digging new footings in a basement is dirty, dirty, dusty, dusty work and thank God I had another big burly nephew to help me out here. This big burly nephew is Tim Flanagan, ANOTHER ONE OF MY FAVORITES! Tim helped me cut, dig, and haul out chunks of concrete. Lots of heavy bucket loads.
Footings in basement.
According to my mechanical drawings I needed about 8sq/ft. of new footings, so here we go...
I used a rented concrete saw and small jackhammer to cut the concrete to the proper dimensions. I wanted nice straight lines cut into the concrete so when I jackhammered this out there wouldn’t be any traveling cracks. Tim was my main muscle and we took the chunks to ready them for recycling. I had to shovel and dig out the dirt (two holes, about 3ft by 3ft wide and a foot deep.) I laid in rebar in an 'H' pattern, and called for inspection.
After I passed, I mixed and poured my new footings.
Just a word on my nephews...
These guys rock, and I loved working with them! I have 23 nephews and nieces and I have always wanted to work with them. Jackson and Tim were the first two, and now that I'm on the east side of the States again I'm gonna try and put them all to work (and still remain #1 uncle!) I wonder if this is why they won't come visit?
Quick!! Someone give me a concrete saw, a jackhammer, and a willing nephew or two!"
(Jackson Paterno, take your bow now.)
All too often light is overlooked as part of the design. I wanted to fill this space with light. The wall separating the stairwell from the living room made the place feel smaller than it was was. It cut right down the middle of the house. Why was that wall even there? Supposedly, it was thought to be load bearing back in the day, but the layout was all wrong for that. I dont know. Anyhow, it had to go, but I wanted to do it safely. I went to some engineering experts, Silman Associates. Victor Dragonoff helped me transform my vision into reality with the calculations and permit drawings to execute my post and beam solution.
Enter Jackson Paterno...ONE OF...my favorite nephews. There are 15 of them, by the way.
Plaster is removed to expose the lath.
Removing plaster is a dirty, dirty, dusty, dusty job. Wear a respirator, eye protection, and it also helps to have a big burly nephew help you out. My big burly nephew is Jackson Paterno. He was in town visiting friends, which was a GREAT opportunity for me. We used a hammer drill on the "chisel" setting and I ratt-a-tatted down the lenghth of the walls. I felt like I was holding a shake-weight all day, for four or five days straight. Removing the plaster with the chisel allowed me to expose the lath, and I’ve got some plans for lath, so we'll save it. FYI, Lath is strips of pine that are nailed to the wall studs. Plaster is then skimmed over the lath to form the wall.
Lath is saved for surprise future use...stay tuned!
We removed the lath "carefully" and set it aside for use at a later date. After this job was done, you could already see the light filter through. Then, I used some scrap 2x4 material to build a false wall to temporarily hold up the ceiling joists.
Now for the footings...and another favorite nephew.
As soon as I walk into a space, I start designing. Usually, I start with the "If I had a million dollars approach." Then, reality sets in. This place was no different. I have known what I wanted to do to this house generally, since I walked in, but to execute this I need permits and plans.
New to the area, with no connections, I was starting from piont zero. My advice here is...do what I did. Ask everyone. I ask friends and family. I stop workers on the street. I knock on doors of people having work done on thier homes. I am 'that guy' and it has served me well. Trust your gut, but ask and check references and try and go physically see their work if possible. Through this process I found a gem of the industry, Second Phoenix LLC. www.2pllc.com
Charles and Denise run Second Phoenix, LLC and they are a great team. They took the time to speak with me about my ideas and design. They offered their own ideas and opinions about what might work in the space. They gave me quick, professional, and quality drawings, AND they offered permit expedition services, meaning they went to the DCRN to obtain the necessary permits to get things rolling, NOT me.
It’s tough to find people you trust, and you hear a lot of horror stories, but this isn’t one of them. And when I find someone good, I want to pay it forward and tell everyone. For those of you who are interested, Charles and Denise provide project management services as well as reccomendations for workers to get stuff done. They are open to new, eco-friendly design options and had thier own experience with certain aspects of green design.
I am glad to have found them and honored to have them on the side of Pazzo Verde.
TRANSFORMATIONS of Montgomery County, MD has asked me to speak at their second annual fundraiser. This is a wonderful non-profit looking to improve lives through design. You can learn more at their website, http://transformationsinteriors.org.
I will be speaking about some of the health benefits of green design, and some of my favorite products, methods and secrets. See you there on Friday, June 29th... 9613 Overlea Dr. Rockville, MD 20850 6-9pm
RSVP through their site.
I woke up to a great surprise this morning! Another article in the Washington Post. For those of you who missed the live chat last week, tons of Post readers asked some great questions about green design and green living. Today's article has some excerpts from the chat. Also, feel free to post any and all questions on the blog or email me directly at email@example.com.
Washington Post feature writer, Terri Sapienza, was kind enough to write a great profile on me and Pazzo Verde in today's edition. Check it out here!
Also, I'm doing a live chat at 11:00 AM EST with Terri today. Feel free to ask me any questions about green design and living a greener lifestyle.
Thanks for all the great support!
Warm Board with tubing waiting for Oak floor.
Moving from Venice, California to Washington DC has been a huge adjustment, to say the least. And while the winter wasn’t exactly frigid there were definitely stretches where heat was necessary, especially in this drafty old house.
The sunroom off the kitchen was especially cold this winter. The room used to be a Sleeping Porch and it gets wonderful sun exposure in the morning, both summer and winter. But, underneath it was open to the outside. I wanted it to be usable and comfortable 365 days a year. So, my first step was to make sure it had plenty of insulation in the walls and underneath. The insulation I used for the walls was ROXUL, purchased from Amicus Green Building in Kensington, MD. Roxul is an insulation made from stone, is fire resistant, and water repellent. With varying R- Value you can meet most insulation needs. There was also a step-down from the kitchen, which gave the room a feeling of “separateness” that I definitely didn’t want. I want the entire first floor to be open and integrated so I raised the floor about four inches with 2x4’s, and when the time comes I will run oak flooring in from the existing rooms, blending the space into one.
But here’s where the fun part comes in. Before I run the oak, I’m installing radiant heat flooring. Radiant heating systems basically supply heat directly to the floor or to panels in the wall or ceiling of a house. The heat then transfers out and warms the surrounding area. There are three types of radiant heat: air, electric, and hydronic (water). I am choosing to go with hydronic. It’s best suited for this project and from the existing boiler I can run tubing throughout the joists without much impact. In keeping with the open floor plan, I’m going to remove some of the traditional radiators on the first floor and zone the system into four basic areas: the sunroom, the living area, the dining area, and the kitchen area.
As you can see from the pictures, I’ve already started with the sunroom. Because of the unique characteristics of this room, I decided to use Warm Board as the subfloor. Warm Board can act as a structural subfloor AND a channel board for the hydronic radiant heat. The unique quality of Warm Board is the thin sheet of aluminum that covers the entire panel and is pressed into the channels. When the radiant heat tubing heats up so will the aluminum, allowing the heat to spread more evenly throughout that room. I am also hoping the heat from the sun/aluminum partnership will radiate back into the room in the winter. For this phase of the project I will use Brookville Radiant, Karl was great! He came and installed this phase of the project. Neat, efficient, and honest, wonderful to work with. Once the system is fully installed, I can glue and nail the oak flooring straight to the Warm Board.
Stay tuned for more heated discussion regarding radiant heat vs. forced air vs. puttin’ on a sweater!
Whenever I build a custom piece of furniture I try and weave something into the piece that is special and meaningful to the client. A house is no different. After getting to know the client I look for opportunities to showcase something that will really personalize their custom creation.
Since my family and I are “the client”, so to speak, I took the back of the house, off the sunroom, as a space to showcase our own "something meaningful". My wife and I met on Nantucket, and we were married there. Nantucket has been a special place for us since childhood, and now it’s even more special together. To honor that, I wanted to give the back of the house a modern Cape Cod look so, I chose white trim and Cedar shake shingles to help make this backyard our own little Nantucket oasis.
The view from the alley is often forgotten about. It's usually just a place to park a car, roll out the trashcans, or build a garage. As you can see from the “before” picture, the backside of the house was no different here. The existing shingles were falling off. The windows and doors were old, small, and needed replacement. Paint was chipping and there was rot. Many years of renters changing cable and phone services left a rats nest of non-essential cables leading to the house. It was an unconsidered area and called for a total overhaul.
To get the most from the solar qualities that hit this side of the house I chose windows and doors from Windsor, supplied by The Sanders Co. Double in-swing patio doors are a great opportunity to bring the outside in, and screens will keep the bugs out but let the breeze flow through. Floor to ceiling casement windows let in light and can also be opened for fresh air. They have a different UV and thermal rating from the front windows to take advantage of solar heat gain in the winter. See the Windows to the World blog entry for insulation and Low-E rating information.
I am choosing not to build out here because I place a heavy importance on keeping or renewing greenspace. We will landscape, but I want to leave it an area for family and friends to gather outside and enjoy their own little safe haven. We will still be able to park a car here, if we choose, but we’ll probably just have a lot of kick ass barbecues!
Topher & Anne Paterno (and their two year old, Bruno) recently transplanted themselves from Venice, California to Washington DC.