New Carriage House is breaking ground at 1240 North New Jersey in The Old Northside, an historic neighborhood with an incredible mix of mostly historic with a few modern structures sprinkled-in. For this project, the design-intent was to respect the original Victorian-inspired house and fit-in. We are excited to see construction underway – please check back for updates and lessons we learn along the way!
Front of existing house has wood siding and details intact.
Backside has had an addition and alternative siding installed. Over time, the entire exterior will be restored to original materials and details.
This small two-car garage was added at some point and likely is not original to the house. We will be removing this guy in favor of a new two-level carriage house to include 3-car garage and fully-furnished upstairs loft apartment.
Summer 2015: Most design work completed and approved by IHPC. Owner put the construction on-hold for a season. When construction did finally commence in late summer 2016, we provided the important 3D design images related to all the rafter, porch and bracket details to supplement the detailed set of construction documents.
September 2016: Having offered our Construction Management services to Owner along with pricing, Owner elected to hire another party to complete the construction work. Images below show progress – Garage level and stair opening have been framed.
October/November 2016: Owner noticed that the bedroom valley was so low they couldn’t fit furniture in the room comfortably. Initially they questioned the design, but on site review, it was discovered that there were some misinterpretations of the design drawings/details/elevations/heights. Mainly, the rafter/valley plates and ridge were significantly lower than drawings indicated; in addition, the loft floor platform was 12″ lower than designed.
In the images below, if one compares the original “as-built” photo directly below to the rendering underneath, one will notice the disparities in roof pitch, height, and proportions.
So, upon review with framer and general contractor, it was agreed we would be reworking the entire roof structure, some windows, but leave the loft floor height as-framed. Photo below shows initial demolition/rework progress after roof structure removed. Framer did a few mock-ups to finalize the heights and after a few more meetings, we agreed on final directions, including a few variances from original intent. The fact that we got to redo the critical areas was a win, but ideally we would have avoided any rework at all.
Overall, roof ridge was originally framed 30″ lower from loft deck than noted, and roof rafter plates were built about 12-inches lower than Drawings indicated. These details were spelled-out on the Drawings, and they mattered from a detail/proportion/historic preservation standpoint. It mattered to the Owner that the space could not function as intended due to the initial construction variances. If not for the functional issue, aesthetic issues alone may not have been enough to require the changes, despite the historic preservation commission territory. It mattered that we respect and match existing primary house roof pitches and details as closely as possible – as designed and detailed.
Image below is process of deconstruction and working through resolution and an acceptable compromise to get it close.
Here below is the alley side initial progress. At this point we noticed that the windows were not symmetrical with the garage doors – things were off here and there. Also, the plate height for the shed dormer was too low and didn’t allow proper detailing of the fascias and soffits, and the soffit-mounted eave vent was not installed. For the eave details, instead of installing tongue and groove roof sheathing, OSB was taken to gutter board, and framer planned to sheath between rafter tails (not what was detailed). Also, the rainscreen wall cladding detail was not installed as specified. Instead, siding is installed directly over WRB (weather resistive barrier). This may be fine, but including rainscreen is a better, more resilient detail. Generally, siding was installed correctly including flashing at butt joints, but the siding/trims were touching the z-flashings, which isn’t ideal. Also, there were no flashed blocks for the exterior carriage lights as designed.
This is a better view illustrating how windows are not equally spaced over the garage doors, and center window not centered over center garage door as designed. Each of these issues is being corrected.
Photo below shows original view low valley framing interrupting the bedroom functionality. This valley when corrected will be significantly higher. Ultimately, it was raised to a functional level, but still not as per original Drawing details – framer worked a compromise based on the difficulty and costs of such a major rework.
Image below shows the rework progress of same valley. Valley beam location was important because of the detailed fascia/gutterboard detail, which was missed in the first framing effort.
In the photo below, the shed dormer and ceiling framing was too low and had to be raised. We had details of these conditions which were not followed. This is also all getting reworked at contractor expense.
This is a process photo of reworking the roof, including raising the shed dormer. Windows had not yet been adjusted in this photo.
Here in the porch roof overhang, instead of installing 1x tongue and groove roof sheathing boards, they extended OSB and intended to fur down and infill T/G boards between each rafter. This would not be as good of a look and not as detailed. We believe this was also to be corrected – we shall see.
Lessons Learned: It is obvious to us as Architects, but we need to remember to always stress the importance of Architect involvement during construction to verify that design-intent is being followed and to answer questions along the way. In the case of this project, as a way to prevent miscommunication issues from happening, we offered our Architect-led Construction Management Services via our company, WERK | Building Modern so we would be involved daily for direct collaboration with trades. When Owner elected to proceed with another general contractor, we failed to stay involved and stress to our clients the importance of periodic site visits to oversee progress and make sure the trades understood all the details. So, if you hired an Architect to design something specific for you, it’s no guarantee that the Contractors will build it as designed. There is a good chance something will be misinterpreted. The importance of good communication cannot be stressed enough, and in the busyness of our schedule, we overlooked the importance of staying in-touch on this project. Luckily, we have had the opportunity to advise on corrections for what we anticipate will be an overall success despite the frustrating process.
With more Architect involvement during construction, you will likely save time and money in the process.
Please check back as we will be adding to the story – hoping for a happy ending!