Technical Open House

Windows into the site

Windows into the design process

It’s been a very long time since the last post but we have not been idle. In fact, we have come quite a long way and many of our goals have been or are being met. Between work on the house and our day jobs, there has been little time to post here. However, we are at the stage now where we would like to invite our readers to have a look for themselves. The technical open house is a chance to see the mechanicals and air sealing before the walls get closed up.

Here are some highlights:

  • Wall insulation: Redstone PURA, a mineral-based capillary-open board
  • Roof and cellar insulation: Roxul mineral wool
  • Air sealing: pro clima Intello & DA, pro clima tapes
  • Ventilation: Lunos ego and e2 “through wall” ventilation system
  • Windows: Rieder unpainted Douglas fir frames treated with larch oil, triple pane
  • Skylights: Lumilux FE
  • HVAC: Mitsubishi mini splits/ducted
  • Hot water heater: GE Geospring heat pump

Please join homeowners and designers, Bettina Johae and Daniel Herskowitz on Sunday, June 15 from 12 – 3pm. Harald Hefel of Amnova/Hefel Masonry will be present to answer questions about Redstone PURA mineral board. Send us an email if you would like to attend.



The darkness and the light

We decided to have a little get together in the garden to kick off the renovation last Sunday. We thought this would be a good time to show everyone what we are up to and at the same time “crowdsource” some solutions to our design and technical problems. Unfortunately, the house had other plans. We came in on Saturday morning to do some minor demo and found that the power was off. It did not seem to be a fuse problem. Slightly more disturbing was the fact that after a week of rain the cellar was pretty damp. We had never seen it before like this. There was no standing puddles but there were plenty of spots on the floor that were wet to the touch. Ground floor above the cellar also smelled musty and damp. We called Con Ed and by the end of the afternoon they were in our cellar cursing at the state of our medieval electrical system. It’s not unusual for technicians and inspectors to gasp when the see it for the first time. The electrical wiring consists of years and years of amateur ad hoc patches on top of the original 1920’s cloth insulated cables. Bettina kept the Con Ed guys entertained with jokes and questions. Eventually they fixed the problem by laying a new
“gap” cable between the (internal) meter and the panel. The old one had shorted because of the rain water.

Our "medieval" electrical meter and panel before the storm.

Our “medieval” electrical meter and panel before the storm.

The next day the sun was out. We aired out the house and began cleaning up. By 3 o’clock we changed just in time for our first guest to arrive. Bettina and I gave some mini tours of the house and chatted with our neighbor’s contractor in between serving lemon thyme infused prosecco. The party was a hit. Our guests were charmed by the house. It was a terrific pick up for us!

Mingle in the backyard.

Mingle in the backyard.

Charming friends.

Charming friends & neighbors