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.



Meet the house!

Since this is the first posting, I think it’s only fair that we give an overview of the house we are working with. We closed on the the house last Tuesday and last weekend was the first time we had the house to ourselves. We were really excited about being able explore and brainstorm without someone looking over our shoulders!


The house is situated on a modest block of 3-story townhouses in the Stuyvesant Heights section of Bed Stuy. It has a footprint of roughly 19.5′ x 43′. It has a brick structure with brownstone cladding on the facade. The house has fairly high ceilings on the parlor floor (10.5′) and on the second floor (10′)


There are a few nice details on the inside but there are also many parts that appear to have been more recently modifications.


And of course the wonderful rear garden with lots of potential.


There are plenty of problem spots in the house that show areas where the house was not properly maintained or where there was water damage at some time in the past and these may indicate larger structural problems.


Here is what we know about the inner workings:

Mechanicals: Gas boiler with steam heating. Boiler has not been maintained and may not have much life left in it.

Electrical: Electrical panel circa 1920’s. Ad hoc, amateur patches throughout the house.

Plumbing: Original brass pipes with amateur repairs.

Structure: Several joists have termite damage and need sistering. Supporting beam held up by temporary posts.