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  • Writer's pictureAndrew Stein

The Last Job - Design and Engineering

I was blessed throughout my career with repeat clients. I guess I must have done something right. The “last” job was for just such a client. I first worked for this client 30 years ago. One of the projects we did was to create an additional bedroom for the oldest child. A few years back I put a new kitchen in that (now adult) kid’s home.

My clients have lived in this home for many years and considered moving. After looking at their options they decided they would stay in their home for the foreseeable future. The master suite was not up to snuff. It was dark, lacked adequate storage and the finishes were outdated.

Needless to say, we always have to be careful to maintain the structural integrity of the building. However, it is often advantageous to move walls. Having a good basic knowledge of structure and access to a good structural engineer allows us to determine what is possible and what is practical.

In this case, we really needed to move the wall that separated the bedroom from the bathroom and closet. It was a bearing wall, but fortunately there was no duct work and only minor wiring in the existing wall. The cost of the structural alteration was relatively low in relation to the cost of the job. The additional design possibilities that it opened up are tremendous.

Without the constraint of the bearing wall we were able to turn the direction of the room providing natural light in both the bathroom and the closet with large skylights. We consulted our engineer who specified an inexpensive laminated wood beam and were able to complete the structural alteration very efficiently and at a reasonable cost.

As you can see in the drawings above we claimed 3’ of bedroom space for the bathroom/ closet suite. This extra length allowed for a privatized toilet compartment with a pocket door, double vanities, and a large shower. The skylight fills the entire room with natural light. The white marble reflects the light and adds to the elegance of the space.

structural alteration, master bathroom, expert advice, construction advice
Adding 3' made all the difference

The closets are the same length and slightly wider than the bath. This allowed for ample storage in the customized cabinetry. Another skylight in the closet brings in great light and has a nice balanced look from the exterior.

structural alterations, construction advice, expert advice
The skylights bring in natural day light

My clients are extremely pleased with the results of our efforts. Over the years, I have found that the best projects result from close collaboration and open dialog. Our clients have great ideas and know what they like. Sometimes they need a bit of help to refine those ideas. And, we always have to satisfy multiple requirements. The balance between aesthetics and cost must be reached.

It has always been my practice to share openly and honestly all the details and costs of a project. The best way for my clients to decide what is worthwhile, and what is not, is by showing them all of the components and their costs. The final cost of a project can vary by thousands of dollars based on the material selections. Methods of construction also vary in cost and effectiveness, and many clients are not aware of the options. Part of my job is to be knowledgeable about materials and methods. Sometimes it is sensible to spend more for a better quality product or installation method. Other times, we can realize significant savings by finding a more economical solution. A quality contractor will educate and give good advice.

In the next post, I will discuss how we set up to do the construction and the preliminary steps required to assure successful completion.

Andrew Stein Construction Expert, LLC

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