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Posts tagged ‘Retrofitting’

Remodeling, Retrofitting and Redecorating for an 81-Year Old “Roommate”

 

A literary agent, with whom I’ve become acquainted, lives in a hotel penthouse in Manhattan. She calls it the smartest investment that she’s ever made.

 

The woman protects her investment by self-paying for the remodeling, and the painting and decorating, of the 4,500 square foot property.

 

She keeps a small, by comparison, 2,000 square foot apartment in South Florida. On the top floor of an ocean front hotel. She self-pays for the painting and decorating of that property, too.

 

Both homes are decorated in light-toned natural woods, fibers and colors. And relaxing patterns.

* Woods: Oak, pine, olive ash, and sycamore.

* Fibers: Leather, chenille, chintz, and cords.

* Colors: Ivory, ecru, soft coral, muted lime green, and pale turquoise.

* Patterns: Narrow stripes, one-half to one-inch checks, and small block prints; subdued geometrics, pastel floral garden prints.

 

Both homes are furnished and accessorized with an eclectic collection of pieces from the Midwest. Some have been inherited or “gifted” from relatives. Others have been purchased from small antique and second-hand shops in western Ohio and eastern Indiana.

 

What stands out about the person is what also stands out about her homes. (And her office.) A practical, understated and low-stress approach to business, relationships, and life.

 

In 2015, the 30+ year publishing veteran started to remodel both her New York City and Miami homes. They are being retrofitted to accommodate her new roommate: her 81-year old mother.

 

The younger woman runs three miles every day. The older woman hand-pushes her wheelchair or walker around every foot, every day.

 

In some ways, their lives couldn’t be more different. In most ways, starting now, their schedules couldn’t be more in sync. And, their needs and preferences couldn’t be more unique.

 

The same woods and colors are being used, as before. Some fibers will change.

 

All structural impediments are being removed: steps, stairs, raised/lowered floor areas, landings; protruding walls, sharp corners, barriers, protrusions. Doorways are being widened to at least 42 inches. All doors will open outward, from whichever side a person is approaching. Also, they will open by a touch pad, or remote-controlled beam.

 

What the literary agent calls “ballet bars” – actually padded safety bars – are being installed along every walkway, wall, base cabinetry unit/section, etcetera. Also in every bathtub and shower, the outdoor patio, etc.

 

All plush carpeting has been removed, and will be replaced with tightly-woven commercial grade floor covering. Like you find in fine restaurants, hotels and resorts, hospitals, business complexes.

 

All sinks, cupboards, countertops, appliances, fixtures, commodes, etc. are being lowered or raised to ease their use.

 

All upholstered pieces will be outfitted with washable, rubber-backed, and soft snugly-fitting slipcovers. All window treatments and systems – shades, blinds, curtains, drapes – will be controlled by remote, or by hand. So will all fixtures – eg. lighting, faucets. So will all cabinet, drawer, closet, and appliance doors.

 

The idea is to help make both homes as livable as possible for both “roommates.” To make accommodations for impairments, special needs, and even future limitations natural and easy to use. While making the preferences of each resident an important part of the “blended lifestyle”!

 

As the daughter and homeowner puts it, “I want to provide a very safe and secure home. And a sanctuary for now, and the future. For both of us…”

 

On the day that I stood inside the Florida apartment, rain pelted against the French doors, that led to the extra wide patio. Through the haze, I could see the ocean waves rolling into shore.

 

“It’s all so beautiful,” a soft voice, weakened by age and illness, remarked from beside me. “A very different, but good beautiful from our old home in Ohio.”

 

The lady sat in her wheelchair. A fleece-lined pants and hooded jacket in soft daffodil yellow kept her cozy. She peered through her new pair of binoculars.

 

“What a place! If Daddy (her husband) could see us now!”

 

“Wait till our Florida place is completely remodeled, retrofitted and redecorated, Mom.”

 

What an honor to be a part of such a special project.

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Accommodating for others’ needs and preferences also accommodates for our own.

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Thanks for being a part of the world of “life” and for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

 

Copyright 2015. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

Retrieving, Recycling, and Retrofitting Commercial Products and Materials.

Built-in bookcases lined the walls of a writing studio. They were constructed of expensive vinyl-laminated shelving, removed before redecorating an upscale store in Southlake Mall. After 20 years, they showed no signs of wear or give, even under the weight of over 5,000 books.

 

The bookcases represented a small example of the many creative ways that various previously-used, or remnant, commercial products and materials had been retrofitted into the property.

 

Long time area residents stopped by periodically to see what else had been done to the property. My classmates’ relatives were fascinated with the transformation of the circa 1930 concrete block rural service station…then antique/repair shop…into a sprawling contemporary home.

 

Here’s the short list of products and materials that found a new home. Approximate cost of each is shown. Most “FREE” materials required prompt removal from the construction site or property. (“COST: FREE*”)

 

1. Item: White vinyl-laminated shelving, heavy-duty steel slat strips, brackets.

Where installed: Writing studio, bedrooms, upstairs closets.

Original use: Mall clothing store.        COST: FREE.*

 

2. Item: Slide-by casement windows, wood frames, triple-pane. Brand: Andersen

Where installed: 20 ft. by 40 ft. second story great room; also 1st story.

Original use: Extra inventory of luxury home builder. COST: $40 each/construction auction.

 

3. Item: Slide-by vertical windows, aluminum frames, triple-tracked. Brand: Pena.

Where installed: 1st and 2nd story bedrooms and studio.

Original use: Lake Michigan/Ogden Dunes home.         COST: FREE.

 

4. Item: Countertops, laminated wood-grain, block.

Where installed: 2nd story kitchen and gazebo bar.

Original use: Left from kitchen project, industrialist’s new home. COST: FREE.

 

5. Item: Countertop, red leather, 72-inches long by 36-inch deep.

Where installed: 2nd story gazebo/bar.

Original use: Left from Colonel Sanders Restaurant, new construction.   COST: $5.00.

 

6. Item: Cabinetry, natural dark oak and pine.

Where installed: 1st story bathrooms, 2nd story kitchen.

Original use: Customer rejects, luxury home builder.   COST: $20 per unit/section.

 

7. Item: Hardwood flooring, 3 large boxes.

Where installed: 2nd story kitchen.

Original use: Close-out, flooring sales and installation store.       APPROX. COST: $25 total.

 

8. Item: Commercial solid wall vinyl: 8+ textures, 10+ colors; approx. 360 yards.

Where installed: Every room, including foyers, halls, baths. (Approx. 300 yards used initially.)

Original use: Left overs/projects: Hotels, restaurants, schools, hospitals, offices.  COST: FREE.*

 

9. Item: Cork panels, 10 boxes, 18-inch by 42+ inch panels; over 60 panels.

Where installed: Cut into 18-inch squares, glued on two walls, quiet alcove off great room.

Original use: Left from Casual Corner store, new construction.  COST: FREE.*

 

10. Item: Redwood shingles, interior rough-sawn; 5 boxes, approx. 100.

Where installed: 2nd story gazebo/bar canopy.

Original use: Left from Applebee’s Restaurant, new construction.  COST: FREE.*

 

11. Item: Natural grasscloth wallcovering, custom, imported; approx. 5 full rolls.

Where installed: 1 wall, Master bedroom; 1st story halls.

Original use: Left from U. S. Steel Corporation president’s office suite.   COST: FREE.

 

12. Item: Louver doors, full, solid wood; 7-feet ht. by 24-inch width each; approx. 12.

Where installed: 1st story linen, bath and utility areas.

Original use: Extra inventory, upscale development’s contractor.    COST: $5 each.

 

13. Item: Doors, solid pine, interior; approx. 20, extra wide.

Where installed: 1st and 2nd story rooms, closets, etc.

Original use: Extra inventory, general commercial contractor.    COST: $10 each.

 

14. Items: Brass hardware, door knobs and hinges, etc., approx. 400 pieces

Where installed: 1st and 2nd story.

Original use: Construction auction.    COST: $35-40.

 

15. Item: Ceramic tile: 1-in. by 1-in., 8 box; 3-in. by 3-in., 14 box; 12-in. by 12-in, 9 box.

Where installed: Bathrooms, 2nd story kitchen.

Original use: Construction auction.   APPROX. COST: $70/all.

 

16. Items: Half beams, rough-sawn, 1800+ running feet; rough-sawn finish lumber, 500+ feet.

Where installed: Ceilings – Great room, 3-story foyer, living room, 2nd story bedrooms, studio.

Original use: Left from mall store redecorating job.   COST: $50.*

 

17. Item: Moulding and trim, Cherrywood, approx. 3000 running feet.

Where installed: Throughout house.

Original use: Left over from Applebee’s Restaurants.   COST: FREE.*

* TRIVIA: In 1993, Harpo Production’s director of security and wife purchased remaining 500+ running feet, for their “small unfinished Wisconsin lake cottage.”  Perfect spot!

 

18. Item: Red brick, solid; approx. 3000 bricks.

Where installed: Exterior: New planter half walls, large front drive planter/half wall.

Original use: Left over, large commercial project.   COST: FREE.*

 

Remember: This is a partial list of the products and materials that the designers and builders – property owners – retrieved, recycled and retrofitted.

 

Within the last few months, I’ve had the opportunity to visit five hotel properties, where similar and very unique architecture/design/build/retrofit project work was being done. On a large scale. With astounding results!

 

You get the idea, I’m sure. By the way, anyone can do this!

 

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Thank you for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

 

 

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