Progress Pics–Spray Foam Insulation & Deck

Major milestone achieved! Spray foam insulation was completed this week and drywall is next. Here are some pictures of the house after the spray foam insulation. Click here to see the previous post about spray foam insulation.

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Kitchen with patio door on the far right


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From the second floor hallway looking back to the guest bedroom; from the second floor lower landing looking front to the media room and study; guest bedroom ceiling


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Media room fireplace and front wall


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Study fireplace and exterior wall; from inside the media room with the study on the right and staircase to the third floor


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Rooftop deck door; master bathroom; master bedroom


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City living: rooftop decks-lower deck (approx. 20’x12’) is over the guest bedroom and upper deck (approx 12’x12’) is over the carriage/guest house; distant view of Center City and lots of sky.

Posted in Deck, Fireplace, Framing, Guest Bedroom, Insulation, Kitchen, Master Bathroom, Master Bedroom, Media Room, Pictures, Staircase, Study | Leave a comment

Microsoft Photosynth and Panoramas

A friend recently told me about a relatively new iPhone app called Photosynth (free in the App Store). It’s from Microsoft, but don’t scoff just yet. It allows you to create a virtual tour of a space right on your iPhone in just a few minutes. You can then share the panorama on Facebook or the website. When a person views the panorama, they can move left/right, up/down and zoom in/out as if they were standing in the space. Think real estate virtual tours without the cost (or that annoying voiceover). Here are some panoramas that I created in the house. Have an iPhone? Use the app and make your own panoramas.


Living Room May 13, 2011



Second Floor May 13, 2011



Master Bathroom May 13, 2011

Posted in Dining Room, Guest Bathroom, Guest Bedroom, Insulation, Living Room, Master Bathroom, Media Room, Panoramas, Pass-Through, Staircase, Study | Leave a comment

The Windows and Doors are In

After 6 long weeks of waiting for the windows and doors to arrive (and the rain to stop), they’re here. Windows and doors were installed this week along with a new roof over the back half of the house (the front half got the new roof earlier) and the beginning of the deck structure. Here are some updated pictures.

It’s nice to have a rather large window in the door to let light into the small vestibule. That along with the transom above will be sure to keep it feeling bright and airy.



Interior shots of the front door, media room and guest bedroom windows. Very glad that the windows are in now instead of a later date.



The skylight that was located under the deck (yes. skylight. under a deck… ?) was sealed off, a new roof was installed and the deck structure was put up.


The new full light deck door on the third floor that leads out to the deck will keep that staircase bright all day. Two steps out to the deck were added on the inside of the house. Originally, the 2 steps were located outside of the house. This will keep the deck door above the roof’s level and will help prevent water from coming in during heavy rainstorms as it won’t accumulate at the bottom of the door. Lastly, a shot of the two new windows in the master bathroom.


Finally, on the way out, I noticed this perched on a “wall”—the house’s mascot of the week. It’s good to know that the workers are having fun while getting the job done. Isn’t that what it’s all about ?

Posted in Deck, Doors, Entrance, Exterior, Guest Bedroom, Media Room, Pictures, Vestibule, Windows | 2 Comments

Windows and Doors

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All new windows weren’t in the initial plan (doors were), but like most renovations the plan is in a constant state of flux—then again, maybe that’s just this reno only. The renovation has been going on for several months and after dropping in almost every weekend and looking at the state of the windows, their time had come—as you can see in the pictures above. So the arduous process of window research and shopping began. What material: Wood? Fiberglass? Wood Clad? Vinyl? What manufacturer: Andersen? Pella? Marvin? Jeld-Wen? Thank goodness for and the internet—I can’t imagine doing this without the digital world at my fingertips.

I had a few vendors come out to give their pitch and provide estimates…think door-to-door window salespeople. Most were good and informative. One was just smarmy and wanted me to sign right that moment (Note: Renewal by Andersen windows are not the same as Andersen Replacement windows.) I ended up working with my contractor’s Pella contact and was pleased with the entire experience. A couple of visits to the house, a showroom visit, several conversations ironing out products and options… and done. New windows and doors are ordered and will hopefully arrive in about a month followed by spray foam insulation and drywall. Then the fun really starts and the interior begins to take shape.

There are 18 windows in the house and 4 exterior doors that need to be replaced. Now you see why this wasn’t in the original plan (and budget), but things just worked out. What’s on order?

  • The front of the house will have Pella Architect Series double-hung windows. Primed white pine wood interior. Black EnduraClad® exterior. Integral Light Technology® (ILT) grilles that cast realistic shadows like individual windowpanes would to creates the most authentic look of true-divided-light windows (6 squares over 6 squares per window).
  • The kitchen will have 2 casement windows side-by-side from the ProLine series. Primed white pine wood interior. Black EnduraClad® exterior. No grilles.
  • The remaining windows throughout the house will be Pella ProLine double-hung windows. Primed white pine wood interior. Black EnduraClad® exterior. No grilles.

Some pictures of black Pella windows.

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Now onto doors… there’s the front entrance, the side patio and the deck doors.

Now that we had the window manufacturer selected, picking doors would be easier, right? Nope. There are so many options to choose from. Steel? Wood? Fiberglass? How much glass… full light? 3/4 light? craftsman? After much deliberation, discussion and inspiration images to sift through, we decided on the following:

  • The front entry door will be a Craftsman style Pella Fiberglass Entry Door. Fiberglass won over wood as it is low-maintenance with the look of wood, and is exceptionally durable and energy-efficient. Painted black inside and out. No grilles in the window.
  • The patio side door and third floor deck door will be a Pella Proline full light door. Primed white pine wood interior. Black EnduraClad® exterior. No grilles.
Posted in Deck, Doors, Entrance, Windows | Leave a comment

Week 27 Progress Pics

Some quick progress pictures from this morning. Don’t forget to check out today’s other post.


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We decided to have the basement finished which helped with placement of the mechanical equipment (r). It’s now a rather large room with surprisingly high ceilings that has potential to be broken into 2 rooms. Think gym (c), craft space and art studio (l).

Living Room

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The left side house wall has been fully plastered up to the third floor (l). The living room and dining room ceilings have been straightened out and are ready for recessed lights and drywall (c,r).

The Pass-Through


From the pass-through looking back into the eat-in kitchen.


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What’s a pass-through? It’s the name we’ve picked for the small, yet wide hallway that connects the kitchen to the dining room. Three doors in the pass-through lead to the powder room (l), coat closet (c) and basement (r).


Second Floor Guest Bedroom

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The back bedroom of the second floor is now the guest bedroom. The guest bedroom had a short-lived moment in the second floor front bedroom, but that’s now the media room. This back bedroom is adjacent to a bathroom and because both are on their own sunken level , it makes sense to keep them together as a guest suite. If you recall, the guest bedroom had a short ceiling that’s been removed to expose a vaulted ceiling. The small patch of exposed bricks will be kept as an ode to the original bones of the house.

Miscellaneous Pictures


The 3rd floor roof deck door: the light can’t wait to make its way into the hallway.



The study’s fireplace: if only the brickwork was in better shape so that it could be exposed.



The media room’s black marble mantel: can’t wait to light that fire on a cold day.



Yet another surprise behind the walls: wallpaper with white daisies over yellow plaid.



Mario Lanza Park: a tranquil park across the street that hosts family and kid’s events during the year, including summer movie nights.



Master bedroom: amazing light pouring through the south-facing windows. The lower ceiling was removed and we gained about 1.5’ of height and an ever-so-slightly pitched ceiling.

Posted in "Before", Basement, Coat Closet, Deck, Dining Room, Fireplace, Floor Layout, Guest Bedroom, Living Room, Park, Pass-Through, Pictures, Powder Room | 6 Comments