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Grassroots Modern

Grassroots Modern

Votes: 4
Site: Grassroots Modern
Project: Whole House Renovation
Medium: Blog
About: Moving in a new direction – it’s the modern contemporary revolution. In their quest for an affordable modern home, this couple scoured the real estate listings for affordable building lots, then suitable dwellings, and finally resorted to purchasing a small home (700 square feet!) in a transitional area not too far from one of their top neighborhood choices. Then came a different revolution – the metamorphosis. Planning an addition, remodeling existing features, designing and creating an amazing Japanese inspired bathtub.

Seeing the Bigger Picture

A small house by anyone’s standards, it had undergone numerous renovations and additions to bring it up to its 700 sq. ft. size. Situated on a very narrow lot, with uncomfortable closeness to neighboring houses, it sat on the market for quite some time before it was discovered and subsequently snatched up by Creede and his wife. They were able to see past the obvious downsides to the potential for expansion the depth of the lot provided, and as Creede stated, it was a total steal at $106K.

The first major project that was initiated after moving in was installing radiant heat in the floors. The most efficient method of installing radiant heat is done from the basement. The tubing is run between floor joists and stapled to the wood sub floor above using heat transfer plates. A large portion of the area beneath the floors of Creede’s house was crawl space. He had a 10’ x 10’ basement where he was able to install the tubing in a traditional fashion. Only about 75% of the crawlspace was truly accessible with a clearance that varied from one to three feet. In that area he was forced to crawl on his back to do the installing. The inaccessible areas had to be done from above. Their small house was made even smaller through the process of removing multiple sub floors, leveling uneven floor joists, installing the remaining radiant heat tubing and laying down new sub floors. They managed to camp out in the kitchen for the almost two weeks it took to complete the job and just before Christmas when the thermometer was starting to nosedive, the work was done. To celebrate, they cranked the heat up to the low 70’s for one day, just because they could!

Building Out Instead of Up

A narrow lot presented unique challenges to expanding their floor plan, but with the help of a friend – interior designer turned architect – they were able to come up with a modest addition plan that would nearly double their square footage, create an outdoor room and address the issue of neighbors that were a little too close to home. The addition would ultimately house two bedrooms – the master, and one for the new little modernist who was now on his/her way. A hallway would connect the new structure to the old, and a courtyard would be created in between the two larger house sections. Building a fence across the open end of the courtyard would ensure the privacy of this outdoor space.

While waiting for approval on building permits, and financing, work on the inside of the existing structure continued. The bathroom was de-constructed and redesigned with modern fixtures and finishes. Creede built a walnut vanity with a concrete countertop, designed, and with the help of his father-in-law, built an amazing Japanese-inspired bathtub. The search for the perfect toilet was met with success. A funky wall-mounted unit was purchased and installed.

Diesel Heater, $300 – More Space, Priceless

With the necessary permits in hand and financing approved, the way was cleared to begin work on the addition. The only roadblock they had to hurdle was the frozen ground. Mere mortals would probably have sat back and waited for spring, but this homeowner had tenacity! After the second unsuccessful attempt at breaking ground, he rented a diesel heater, built a tent around the working area and staged an early thaw to keep the show on the road. His determination paid off. The digging was completed without any further delay and the foundation walls were formed and poured shortly after.

The Excitement Builds and So Do The Framers

Once the foundation walls went in everything else seemed to fall into place too. The addition walls and roof were framed, the roofing contractor was scheduled and on time, and that meant that the installation of doors and windows could also proceed. The only major glitch came with the skylights (that didn’t). With his typical tact and diplomacy, Creede made arrangements for an alternative product.

The kitchen, having been the only room left untouched, was next on the renovation list and was about to see some major changes. The cabinets were flipped from one side of the room to the other, and the end wall soon became mostly glass thanks to the installation of a large sliding glass door. It mirrored the sliding glass door of the master bedroom located across the courtyard and opened the kitchen space up immensely. Providing all the more light to admire the new kitchen cabinets, flooring, etc.

It’s All In The Details

With the completion of drywall, mudding, taping and painting, all that seems to remain is the finishing touches. Creede is once again on the job and has made beautiful work of birch paneling and louvers in the hallway. We know that time is short – they are already overdue for baby day – so we wish them luck with finishing their project and hope the newest little detail arrives happy and healthy.

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I vote for Grassroots Modern!
Grassroots Modern is an inspiring and applicable blog. Its commitment to AFFORDABLE modern design proves what most magazines and many "high-style" interior designers cannot: that one doesn't have to break the bank to create a beautiful home. I also enjoy the links and tidbits for affordable modern decor and gear, especially the baby items. I love that blog owner Creede is a family man just trying to provide his young family with a home to grow in. Surely we can all appreciate that.
Grassroots modern is killer inspiration
Creede and his grassroots modern endeavors is an excellent example that good design is not just for the wealthy, but for the inspired as well.

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