Tony Salem: Renovation Woes That can be Overcome

Facing a home renovation can be exciting but let’s face it – it can also be daunting. After fifteen years in custom home building with Sea-Dar Construction, my experience with renovations has proven there undoubtedly will be surprises hidden behind walls that no one can predict. These unexpected hiccups (and there are always hiccups) not only delay a project’s completion but they can make the experience that much harder for the homeowner. The good news is these high-anxiety driven moments don’t have to turn into tales of woe with home renovations gone wrong. Instead, we tackle these problems easily with our building experts who work closely with the project’s architect and, in some cases, a team of engineers.

Case in point, after gutting a five-story, 19th century home on Boston’s Beacon Hill, Sea-Dar Construction discovered an issue with the 4,000 square foot structure. The original brick masonry walls revealed some immediate concerns for our team. Typically built with three rows of brick, the original walls only had two, which were separating and needed to be repaired. This had to be done without affecting neighboring properties or adding to the overall cost for our client. Our successful history of working with century old homes came into play and we understood exactly how to overcome the hurdle. It required our crew to meticulously stitch the two rows of brick back together. With the walls firmly in place, the renovation was able to move forward without issue.

Sea Dar Construction Beacon Hill

Photograph by Eric Roth

The private residence now is an artful blend of romantic, historic ambiance with modern elegance and conveniences. The classic heritage exterior was skillfully preserved while neighboring properties were void of jeopardy. The new streamlined interiors create a tranquil and soothing environment with contemporary details.

Sea Dar Construction Beacon Hill Living Room

Photograph by Eric Roth

Builders and architects are not the only problem solvers when determining a renovation setback; interior designers play a significant role in addressing these issues as well.

Dennis Duffy of Duffy Design Group, recently completed the renovation of a Back Bay brownstone, where he was presented with a plumbing challenge that surfaced after the project began. His goal was to add a powder room to the main living level where one did not exist. A former coat closet and a portion of a reconfigured kitchen was allocated to the transformation. The problem he faced was the tie-in of the lavatory to the existing waste stack. Without proper ventilation, negative pressure would slow water flow and allow sewer gas to seep back into the residence.

Fortunately, with careful planning, Duffy was able to overcome the challenge by cunningly designing a small alcove for an angled wall. This new configuration allowed the new powder room to fit and connect to the necessary plumbing.

Duffy Design Group Powder Room

Photograph by Sam Gray

Unanticipated hindrances in the middle of a home renovation are not rare. It inevitably happens. Before panic sets in or hasty decisions are made, its worth the time, energy and cost to seek a professionally proven, qualified solution.

Tony Salem is the vice president/principal at Sea-Dar Construction. Tony has over fifteen years experience in the construction industry and is a graduate of Babson College (Masters in Business Administration) and the University of Saint Joseph (Masters in Civil/Structural Engineering).

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