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Third Floor Renovation
Last modified 2012-11-14

Since I moved in, there has been an unfinished attic space on my 3rd floor.  Above it, occupying the entire "4'th" floor, is a loft.  It has no floor, only joists stuffed wth pink fiberglass insulation, and its ceiling varies in height from 4' to 4'6".  These two areas represented potentially useful space, and I've always thought about developing them.  Specifically, converting the attic into a bathroom, which the 3rd floor lacks, and putting a floor on the loft.  With an elevator or spiral staircase, I thought, the loft could offer plentiful storage.

    

 Attic 1
View of Attic from Landing
 
Attic
 
View of Attic from Landing
 
Attic
       
 
 
Loft
 
Looking up at Loft from Attic
 
Loft
 
Guest Bedroom's back wall abuts Attic.

In February of 2011 I enlisted a designer (Brenda Be) for advice.  She thought in small terms.  I interviewed two more designers, Catherine Interiors and V Design.  They both said the same thing: take space from the landing (and existing guest bedroom) to make the future bathroom larger.  Also, both agreed the three inefficient, even non-functional, closets in the landing and existing guest bedroom should be folded into the future space.  Both designers were talented, but in the end V Design's contractors were a better fit.  So far I have been happy with the choice.

V Design (the "V" is for "Vivian Robins") convinced me that the future bathroom should occupy the current bedroom, and the future guest bedroom should occupy the current attic.

There were other needs in the house.  The goals evolved to be:

Here are before and after sketches (click to enlarge):

 
Old Layout
 
Future Layout

(I looked around for a free sketching program and discovered SketchUp.  It is three-dimensional and takes effort to learn, however it is quite powerful.  The splotches on certain objects (sauna and bed in right picture) reflect my inexperience.)

The project took a long time to take form:  from initial contact with Vivian in mid-June, 2011, to hiring her exactly one year later, and hiring Craig Tarbox (Atlantic WB Construction) on 8/9/12, and demolition commencing 10/2/12.

There was a setback when the building department required the bathroom joists be reinforced to bear the added weight.  (Tub, tiled shower & sauna are all heavy.)  Unfortunately, to reinforce them (using Laminated Veneer Lumber) makes it impossible for the plumbing; you can't drill large holes through the added LVL joists.  The contractor, Craig Tarbox, looked into using open-web steel joists, but that did not pan out.  To make a long story short, the various drains will run parallel to the joists to the wet wall between bathroom and bedroom.  From there they descend to the top of the ceiling below, which will have to be dropped 8" for concealment, and into the new chase.  Yes, a new chase must be built running from the 3rd floor to the basement, where the electricity, gas and water emanate, as well as the drainage.

Here is a photographic journey through the construction.

 
Phase 1: Preparing for Demolition     
 Phase 2 (Days 1-2, October 02..03)     Demolition begins    
Phase 3 (Days 4-7, October 4..10): Phase 3: Removal of ceiling and construction of chase