PFM

The work on the foundation should be complete by the end of the month, including lowering the basement.

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Its hard to believe that just a few days before this area looked like this:

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Yes, those are two gaping holes exposing the basement to the outside, where an eight foot trench was dug around the perimeter of the house in order to facilitate the foundation work. Those stairs will be gone once the new ones are installed on the other side of the kitchen. Below is a picture of the completely exposed second floor ceiling. The guys installed beams that were eighteen feet long(!) up there to support the attic and roof structure. I can’t imagine how they got them in the house, perhaps by what our architect refers to as “PFM.”

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“Pure ______ magic”

Another kind of magic has been happening on the design front. It seems the more time D. and I have imagine how we’ll live in the space, the better and more interesting design decisions we are making. Just this weekend for instance, we became convinced that the stair rail in the kitchen leading down into the basement should be made of…wait for it…glass! When one of the project leads first suggested this about a year ago, I balked. I was loathe to change the character of the old house or turn it into something it wasn’t, and glass screamed “ultra-modern” to me. But that was before I saw some amazing examples on houzz.com of how wood elements combined with glass work together to create a really beautiful partition that would otherwise be pretty utilitarian. We were going to opt for a half-wall with a ledge that would invariably be used to perch things like coffee mugs and books that would (invariably) end up getting knocked over and break on the floor eight feet below. We don’t want things (or people) to fall down the stairs, but why not have them not fall down with this? You can’t balance your coffee on a piece of glass!

There is something about the tension between the solid wood and the airy, almost invisible glass that really appeals to me, and because we are aiming to make the space look even bigger, having that transparency will go a long way for sight lines.

In the photo above it looks like they used a dark wood as a railing, one that matches the finish on the stairs leading to (what I suspect is) the basement. The alternative would look more or less like this:

It really is beautiful in its own right, and makes good use of the space it occupies with the built-in bookcase/cookbook caddy. PLUS they have drawers, but its definitely wider than glass, and space is a precious commodity in the kitchen. I am not sure if either decision will yield results like the ones in the photos, but they are both pretty fine examples to aspire to. I guess I am just hoping for some…magic.

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