|Alteration In Princeton
|Here we are in Princeton, NJ again. On this, our current job, we were hired as the General Contractor to take a tired
looking home with numerous problems, and transform it (hopefully) into the dream house the owners,( Mike and Kathy
Havardansky) have always wanted. I'll start out by putting a picture of the house before we started and as usual will
picture guide you through the progress. Please be patient there are lots of pictures.
|On the pictures on the top right
and left, we needed to take off the
brickface stucco and the stucco on
the top, so we could prepare for the
new porch. Under the stucco was
old shingles, and under the
shingles was a compressed board
that was used extensivly in the late
60's and 70's. There were parts of
this material that had gotten
moisture and was falling apart. It
was decided to tear off all of this
material and sheath the house with
1/2" plywood. But once we started
to take off the old sheathing we
found that at one time the house
was infested with mice, which had
tunneled through the insulation.
Some of the insulation was
completely gone in sections. So, we
replaced all the bad insulation also.
This kind of put a kink in my
The machine was there to remove
the old concrete porch slab, and dig
footings for the porch piers and the
base for the bay window, which is
to get cultured stone.
|The sheathing is now almost completely finished(just the garage needs to be done) and the house is wrapped in
"TYVEK". We are ready to start the cultured stone work on the chimney stack. The new gas fireplace will be installed
this week also. Did I mention that for three weeks the heat index was about 110 degrees?
|The holes for the
porch piers are dug,
the gas line is
extended from the
through the front
yard and into the
garage for the new
gas fireplace. The
cultured stone is now
ready to be jointed.
The garage is now
|The Chimney is now complete and ready for the new fireplace to be installed.The cultured stone on the bay window and
piers for the porch will be next. We altered the plans a little, because as the job progresses you can see how some changes
will enhance the total project. One of the big changes was the detail under the bay window, the plans called for partial
stone on the bottom and AZEK frame on top. I convinced the owners to go all the way up with the stone, and well look
at the pictures and tell me if I was wrong.
|Before we got the permits for this
job(which was a job in itself) We
removed the old back door and
installed a "Therma Tru" door with
built in blinds.
In these pictures on the right and
left, you can see the process of
taking off the stucco. We used the
old fashioned muscle method. This
created alot of debris, which had to
be carried off in a dumpster just for
the masonry. The old,
cracked,concrete walkway was also
taken out and disposed of.
|The cultured stone if finished
under the bay window. The
original plan was to stop the
stone about two feet under the
bottom of the window and
frame it out with the AZEK.
The roofers have started the new
roof. The original roof had two
really old layers on and had to
be ripped off. Fortunately for
the owners only about ten sheets
of plywood had to be replaced.
The fireplace is now installed
and we took down a wall to wall
mirror in the living room and
had to re-sheetrock the wall. We
also installed crown moulding in
the entire room.
|In these pictures, you can see
the different phases of the roof
The fireplace was installed, but
caused me a small problem.
Being a Zero Clearance
fireplace, with a metal vent and
chimney stack, the very top had
to be flashed(look at it on the
picture above right). Well it
didn't look good to have
flashing bent over the top, on
the stone. In the next couple of
weeks I needed to come up with
a solution.....and I did.
The new wrap around porch is
now being framed. We need this
porch done so we can start the
"Hardy Board" siding.
|For those of you who don't know, "Hardy Board" is a fiber cement product with a fifty year warranty, and carries a
fifteen year paint warranty. click here to check out the James Hardy site. I personally, am very impressed with this
product. You look at it and swear that it's wood. All of the corners and windows are trimmed with a pvc product called
AZEK, click on the word to check out their web site.
|In the interest of saving space, I'm
going to put more pictures in each
section, because..... there are a ton
In some of these pictures, notice
the shed in the rear of the house. It
was about a foot away from the
corner and created a bad moisture
and mold situation. You will see
later that I insisted that it be moved.
|As you can see, the roof is done, the siding is now finished, the porch is roofed, and the stone work is complete. The
wood coloumns were a bit of a problem though. By working closely with the homeowners, Mike and Kathy, we went
through four different kinds of coloumns untill they were satisfied. I'm very happy with the final decision.
|In the pictures below, you can see that we have come to a solution on the top of the chimney. The stone work on the bow
window in the rear of the house is finished. The owners love the stone so much that they requested that we put stone on
the other metal chimney stack which is also pictured below. The color for the concrete pad under the porch is on order
and will take two weeks to come in. The brick pavers for the front walk are also ordered. The porch is now complete, and
the gutters are going on the house. The challange for the gutters was that the owners didn't want to run the downspouts
in front of their beautiful stone piers, so the solution was to try to pitch the front all the way to the garage....it was really
a challange! The shed is moved with a bobcat with forks attached, and chains, and rope, and time, and care.....
|Now we go back to the inside of the house.
The surround for the fireplace has arrived and is being installed. It is a man made stone product. You can visit their
website here. www.missionstone.com. Unlike natural stone, it is not only half the weight, but it looks incredibly real. I'll
give you a dollar if you can tell the difference between the two. We also installed a ventless fireplace, with an oak
surround in the master bedroom. They had what looked like a "Pocono's" 1960 wood burning fireplace surrounded by
fake brick...nice. We also installed a shelf to match the surround.
The grading, seed and hay is now finished(the grass started to grow in three days!!!) and the exterior lights were installed
on custom made pieces of "AZEK". Oh wait...did I forget Sheldon?... I can't go on without mentioning Sheldon.
Sheldon is the Havardansky's old Bassett Hound. He often escapes and comes outside to inspect the progress. I swear he
really is checking things out. He is currently going through chemo and still gets around really good. Lets all take a
second now and give a little prayer for Sheldon's continued success.
|In the pictures below, we replaced all the interior doors. On most of the doors the frame was in good shape, so we
replaced the door slab, the hinges and hardware. We also installed a pocket door for the master bedroom. The bathroom
was small and the old door swung into the room, creating a "skinny person only" entrance. We had to knock down part
of the wall and reframe it to accomidate the pocket door.
|The inside of the house is now finished. We go back outside to pour the front slab for the porch. The owners picked a
colored concrete...Sombrero Buff....
The final phase of this job is to install a brick paver walkway. By now you should know the Havardansky's, They don't
just want a walkway, but the kind that lights up. So we installed paver lights right into the border. I think it looks
I hope you enjoyed this page. It was really a great job to turn an ugly home(no offense Mike & Kathy) into a beautiful
masterpiece. I am truly proud to have been a part of this project. See You On The Next Job!....