HeartWork Organizing

Helping you find peace and purpose through organization and design

Garage: Finale Part 2 January 17, 2011

Filed under: Garage Construction/Renovation — HeartWork Organizing @ 11:25 pm

Hard to believe this was a garage just weeks ago.  This room is now connected to the galley kitchen through an 8 foot opening of the former garage wall.  With three windows and a 9-light door, there is plenty of natural light.  The separate heating valve allows the family to compensate for the heating differences that are bound to come with an extension to the original structure.  You can see the painting that started it all on the far wall, here. 

I applaud M for not playing it safe, and for adding some wonderful color and pattern to some very clean lined upholstery.   Bother the greens and blues came directly from the inspiration painting.  Although they stessed a bit over the painting, in the end they created a modern and classy outcome with two choices; an oatmeal color for two walls, and the matching green carried over from their kitchen for the remaining two walls.   As M said, she was making decorating choices for months, sometimes with a very loose reference to the last choice she made, but because she had a strong vision and an inspiration piece, all of her choices ended up working really well together.

M may have gotten her beautiful painting and upholstery, but J revels in his new 3-D HDTV and surround sound.  With wiring thought out before the walls were closed up, M & J have plenty of options for lighting, sound, and even a phone jack strategically located in the middle of the room, just under the end table.

They both say that the opened view from one end of the house through the kitchen all the way to the other end is what this house needed.  Funny that sometimes you make a space more cozy by making it bigger but better connected.

The details in their construction are really wonderful.   The single step down in to the new family room was well done, with a near seamless blending of existing and new hardwoods.  The railing that separates the living space from the steps leading to the basement are artfully chosen wrought iron, which accent the room just like a chunky fashion necklace would accessorize an outfit.  You don’t see it, but there is an outlet placed behind the mirror (above), which may come in handy someday. 

J says that this was a really good experience.  They still have a good relationship with their builder, and that is the hallmark of a good project.  We’ve been capturing the fun stuff, but in reality there are just so many details in any project of this scale.  J’s advice is that you can’t be too specific in your written agreement with your builder.  If it isn’t in the contract, there’s too much room for interpretation, so be prepared to write it down up front or pay more for it later.   In the end, the time that you spend planning before a hammer ever hits a nail is worth much more than you probably realize.  After all, it usually costs nothing to move walls, electrical or windows when they are only lines on a page.

Congratulations, M&J, on your new space.  I know your family will continue to love it more every day.


Garage: Finale Part 1 January 14, 2011

Filed under: Garage Construction/Renovation — HeartWork Organizing @ 10:56 pm

This garage makeover is drawing to a close.  The new garage is just about as cute as I’ve ever seen any garage.  The car parking lift is in.  The word I use to describe it is elegant.  With just 8 bolts on the floor, the frame has enough stability to lift an entire car and keep it in the air indefinitely.  I just think that is amazing.

One car is suspended, waiting for another car to pull underneath.

The biggest problem that J now has is where to locate his stops on the floor so that no one hits the rear wall of the garage. 

The garage foyer (who has a garage foyer, anyway???) has been classed up with wood floors, oak handrails, and oak treads up the stairs. 

The upper floor, which was to be unfinished, now has baseboard heat, low profile lighting, and is cable/internet ready.  I think J will be spending time out here sooner than the original plans called for.

Above all, the structure from the outside looks as if it belongs to the house and the neighborhood.  The family and the construction crew took care to add details like lighting, appropriate door styles and dentil molding that blend this new structure with neighbors that have stood nearby for nearly 100 years.  When a visitor sees this structure, they won’t immediately notice that this is the newcomer on the street.

Next time, we’ll look at the inside of the old garage (right side of this photo above), and see how it has changed in to a warm and functional modern family room.


Garage: Feline Fiasco January 10, 2011

Filed under: Garage Construction/Renovation — HeartWork Organizing @ 10:42 pm

Moppet is in the doghouse.  This week M and J saw a lot of changes in their new family room.  The floors went down, but before the finish could dry on their new dark stained hardwood, they wanted to take one more peek through the side door.  Their resident kitty, curious as cats are, streaked in under their feet to see the new room, too.  He was determined to leave his mark, as the drying polyurethane was stamped with cat prints. 

Construction delays, weather, and all that could have gone wrong amounted to small potatoes compared to the havoc the family pet can do.

The new furniture was delivered the next day and is still under wraps, since it all has to be moved out to allow for refinishing the brand new floors to remove paw prints.  For now you’ll get to see just the paint colors and the long-awaited unobstructed view in to the kitchen. 

M & J, I know you won’t miss that plastic wall!


Garage: Welcome to the Clubhouse January 7, 2011

Filed under: Garage Construction/Renovation — HeartWork Organizing @ 10:31 pm

Clubhouse, doghouse, or whatever he’s calling it, J has a sweet little space set aside as his office.  Up on the second floor of the garage, there is an office that will eventually be J’s home office and man cave.  (Can it still be a man “cave” if it is on the top floor???)  He enters through the side door of the garage:

…past the storage space and up the steps

…up to the landing and storage closet

…finally entering his space with three dormers.

While the footprint is pretty large, the awkward ceiling slopes are going to make furniture placement a bit of a challenge.  But by opening the space on to the stairwell with half walls, and with a window in each dormer, the space seems like the perfect treetop hideout that we all would have wanted as kids. 

I love to see projects like this.  With just a little bit of extra planning and a few extra details, an ordinary garage now becomes a really special place.


Garage: Interior Perspective January 3, 2011

Filed under: Garage Construction/Renovation — HeartWork Organizing @ 9:00 pm

J got his garage toys recently.  M is getting her turn now.  The family room is starting to really take shape.  You can see by these pictures that the room now looks more like part of the house than a former garage. 

Testing colors in the new family room

Almost connected to the kitchen!

M is looking forward to seeing the floors go in, but before they do, she’s testing out paint colors.  Since this project was started almost a year ago, she’s had her inspiration painting under wraps.  Her brand new furniture is still on order, waiting to be delivered.  She’s got to make this project hang together with the final color and materials choices that she makes now.

It’s a good thing that the space is completely enclosed and heat is just about to go in, since the project should be wrapping up before the cold weather sets in.


Garage: Lift and Load December 29, 2010

Filed under: Garage Construction/Renovation — HeartWork Organizing @ 10:19 pm

I never thought I’d get this excited about a piece of garage hardware.  The lift arrived this week, and it is gorgeous.  Lest you forget what this project was all about, M&J were stealing their former two car garage to make a family room, and that means their cars have to go somewhere.  Since the lot could only accommodate a one car footprint, the new space is getting a lift, literally.  The blue hardware you see below is the car lift, designed to “park” one car on top of the other.  It is a surprisingly cost-efficient and modern way to solve a space problem in this one-hundred year old neighborhood. 

The parking lift has arrived. Cue the theme music!

After the lift is professionally installed by the garage door mechanics, it will require an electrician’s attention.  It also requires a heater mounted in the garage, since the hydraulics require a temp of at least 41 degrees to operate.  The operation is surprisingly simple, J to set the stop so that the car parked on top and the car parked below both have enough space.  This a 12+ foot ceiling, both cars will fit just fine.

If you are asking, like I was, do you have to be a gazillionaire to own one of these things, the answer is no.  The gadget costs roughly $5K, which is reasonable, especially if building another bay simply is not allowed by code or physics.  I can’t wait to see the cars using it!


Garage: Brick House December 14, 2010

Filed under: Garage Construction/Renovation — HeartWork Organizing @ 12:15 am

Due to technical issues, this wasn’t published on time, but here it is to catch you up to date. 

I almost ghasped when I came around the corner and saw the brickwork.  Every major addition now makes the structure seem more real.  Of course, things are progressing roughly according to schedule.  But taking a patch of grass and creating a whole new solid structure is not something to be taken for granted.  This is a Project with a capital P.

Garage Rear Wall Brick Work going in

One of the details that M&J took a bit of care with is chosing the bricks.  It turns out that new bricks aren’t nearly as expensive as reclaimed (used) bricks.  And bricks from different eras and different lots have different shades.  So M&J used a combination of new bricks and reclaimed bricks that are roughly the same age as their home to create the right look here.  By mixing the two, they are hoping that their new garage looks like it has always been on the property.  An addition is done well when it looks original to the century old home.   Stay posted.  It kind feels like we are on the downhill swing of activity at this point.

New Family Room Front Wall