You don't know what you don't know

Episode 9

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Published on:

15th Jan 2020

11:00am

Environmentally Friendly Renovations #1

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Environmentally friendly renovations discussion with Debbie Bentley

Designing your house for the future:

Build less

Do you really need to build more and increase your footprint? Think about how you use your house now and list everything that you would like to change. Are there areas in your house that are under-used? These days that is often the formal dining room. Can you change how you think about your spaces and alter them to suit your needs? Many clients are looking for extra room as their children grow, but once they fully grow you will no longer have the space issue. Instead of building onto your house, think about temporary creative solutions. If you need more space for occasional guests, is there a nearby hotel or air bob that they could use? Everyone likes a little bit of space during a visit and would cost a lot less in the long run. Will you stay in the house until you are quite old, intending to age in place? You can plan for that now by increasing door widths and hallways- for example. Since you are investing in your house, make sure it is a place you can easily adapt to as you age. 

Climate Change 

How will the climate in your area change in the years to come? Massachusetts will be getting much more rain and will have more freeze/thaw issues. How do we plan for that? A renown building scientists states that there are 3 issues that affect the longevity of your home, water, water and water. So if your in a climate which is going to have more wet weather, start thinking about how your going to keep the water out of your home. Simple roof design, with minimal junctions, as junctions are what fail in building material. Roof overhangs, bigger gutters, more down spouts, and a plan to keep water away from foundations. At the same time, the water will need to stay on your property and not run over to the neighbor's. In densely populated areas this may mean installing an underground system. It will be easier to implement all of that during your renovation rather than combatting the problems later. d

Remember how our grandparents use to live. 

  • ïThe hall vestibule as an airlock between out doors and in. 
  • ïCurtains over the front door, to keep the heat in.
  • ïBooks on the external wall.
  • ïShoes off inside a building… Make sure you have a shoe closet of else you fall over everyone’s shoes. Less dirt in the house=less chemicals=improved indoor air quality

Use windows wisely

No more than 30 percent of your walls should be windows so pick where they go carefully. Consider restoring or rebuilding your original windows and add storms- you don’t need to replace them with vinyl windows. Maximize your views of nature as that will improve mental health.

Recommended reading:

Welcome to your world : Sarah Williams Goldhagen 

https://www.amazon.com/Welcome-Your-World-Environment-Shapes/dp/0061957801

Lily Bernheimer: The Shaping of Us. 

https://www.amazon.com/Shaping-Us-Everyday-Structure-Well-Being/dp/1595348727/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=the+shaping+of+us&qid=1578417465&s=books&sr=1-1

The architecture of happiness: Alain Bottom 

https://www.amazon.com/Architecture-Happiness-Alain-Botton/dp/0307277240/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=the+architecture+of+happiness&qid=1578417523&s=books&sr=1-1

Professional Global Network : Salus : https://www.salus.global

What is the future of home design?

We are starting to think of the embedded carbon in the materials that we use to create buildings and their impact on global emissions. Taking one example of a common building material, the concrete industry creates 8% of the worlds carbon emissions. The carbon emitted by operating a building is about 1/3 of the total carbon use in its lifetime. 

The keynote lecture given at NESEA 19 illustrated that when architects specify high performance materials, they can dramatically increase the embedded carbon in a building- if everyone did that we would kill the planet.

We need to design carbon neutral buildings, but to achieve that designers need information on the embedded carbon within the materials, kind of like a nutrition label on foods.

Which brings you to the Glass shower enclosure vs a vinyl shower curtain conundrum.

Debbie and I have discussed the glass shower enclosure vs. vinyl shower curtain many times. She says “We have a vinyl shower curtain from Ikea in our shower. It is designed to be a glass shower enclosure, but we ran out of money and it has been like that for the last 13 years working fine, except we are probably on our 4 shower curtain. Any realtor would tell us “ make that a glass shower enclosure, and you will sell your house for more money”. ( Scary thought that the value of your house is based on one piece of glass). So what is the embedded carbon value of a glass shower enclosure. It is made from float glass and there are only 26 float glass plants in the whole of the US, and the nearest 2 to us are in upstate New York and in Carlisle PA, so that involves some diesel intensive trucking. Although float glass is made from partially recycled glass, so gets a “ bronze rating on “Cradle to Cradle” on Shower enclosures are made from tempered glass, ( think Pyrex) and can’t be recycled, so what is the rating on this product? If any listener can tell me I would love to know. So how does this work compared to a lightweight vinyl product… made from petroleum? Well I suspect the shower curtain carbon footprint is much less, but can I be certain. Not until someone crushes the numbers.”

So how do we get rid of vinyl, plastic and petroleum products in our homes especially when natural products such as cedar siding is so expensive.

We have to look for alternatives, new materials are coming on the market all the time. An alternative to cedar siding is composite wood siding, which is the siding version of quartz. There are a number of companies, such as LP Smartside, and Kay can Eco- Side. (https://www.greenbuildingadvisor.com/article/a-case-for-composite-wood-siding), you can also use fiber cement boards, such as Eternit. In the UK they use Eternit slates as an alternative to real slate as they are much lighter so can be used on historic structures, that may be structurally undersized for a real slate roof. However it is made from cement…and that has a higher carbon footprint than wood. https://architizer.com/blog/product-guides/product-guide/eaktna-fiber-cement-cladding/ However cement fiber slates must be more environmentally friendly than asphalt shingles.


Green Material Specification Sites

Cradle to cradle certified. https://www.c2ccertified.org

Living Futures : Living Buildings are:

• Regenerative buildings that connect occupants to light, air, food, nature, and community.

• Self-sufficient and remain within the resource limits of their site.

• Create a positive impact on the human and natural systems that interact with them.

https://living-future.org/declare/

New houses vs retrofitting old houses

Retrofitting existing homes to make them more energy efficient remains a bit somewhat unanswered problem. It is hard to get them airtight however there are some good rules of thumb. Installing additional insulation in the roof and ensuring that you have block up any gaps around pipes and services where they go through the external wall is a great place to start. However hacking up a concrete floor slab to install insulation underneath and then relaying the concrete floor is probably not financially feasible in most post war homes. It may not even be carbon emission reduction feasible, if you include the embedded carbon. It would be great to have some data on how to reasonably improve existing homes. How cost and energy effective would it be to removing drywall and installing spray foam in exterior 3½ “ stud walls. Smart thermostats also a worthwhile and if you live in MA check out the deals on Mass Save regularly. https://www.masssave.com/en/saving/residential-rebates

An interesting article about architecture and climate change

https://www.archdaily.com/931240/the-facts-about-architecture-and-climate-change

****************************************

Help me spread the word!

Send a link to this show to 3 of your friends who you think could use information about home renovations. I would really appreciate that.

Chat with me! Join the community on Flick, a podcasting chat app. You can ask questions, chat with other listeners about your project, new products, and more! The app is free, download it wherever you get apps and then open this code on your phone: https://flickchat.page.link/rohX

Or you can join our group on Facebook

Join our mailing list! Get insider information and other exciting news http://eepurl.com/gFJLlT

Thanks to Ray Bernoff, the editor of the show. www.RayBernoff.com

The music is Blueberry Festival Footrace by David Fisher and performed by Hanneke Cassel www.hannekecassel.com

Cover Art by Sam White www.samowhite.com

If you need architectural advice, contact me through my website at www.demiosarchitects.com

Email questions for future episodes to thehousemaven@talkinghomerenovations.com

Episode 8

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Published on:

1st Jan 2020

11:00am

Bath and Kitchen Fixtures

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Episode 8- Kitchen and Bath Fixtures

Jason Sevinor, President of Designer Bath and Salem Plumbing Supply, discusses what to look for in bath and kitchen fixtures and how to get professional help.

Episode Recap

  • Why shop at a showroom rather than on the internet or a big box store?
  • What to look for when choosing fixtures
  • Is there really a $10,000 toilet? What is the difference between that and a $400 toilet?
  • Trends in bath fixtures right now
  • Ideas for an environmentally friendly bathroom
  • How to make your bathroom feel like a spa

About this episode’s guest

As the third generation owner of Designer Bath and Salem Plumbing Supply, Jason Sevinor’s entrepreneurial spirit was inherited from his father, Ralph and grandfather, Bill, whose hard work and dedication grew a small plumbing supplier into the successful specialty kitchen, bath and plumbing supply company it is today. With an emphasis on exceptional customer service, Designer Bath embodies the very best of family-owned business practices and continues to thrive under Jason’s current leadership.

Prior to taking over his father Ralph’s title as President in 2008, Jason worked in various roles throughout the company, including showroom and counter sales, operations and warehouse. 

He attended the Olin School of Business at Washington University in St. Louis, where he majored in marketing, human resource management and psychology. Following graduation and prior to joining the family business, he completed a plumbing supplier management-training program in Maryland.

A frequent guest speaker and panelist at design, kitchen/bath and plumbing trade conferences, Jason mentors industry members and advises entrepreneurs on best practices and career development.

Outside of the kitchen and bath world, Jason is an avid runner and donates his time and resources to support the communities of Boston’s North Shore, as well as causes close to him and his family, including the National Multiple Sclerosis Society (NMSS) and the Northshore Medical Center and its annual Cancer Walk. He resides in Beverly with his wife and two young sons.

Visit the Designer Bath website at www.designerbath.com

Help me spread the word!

Send a link to this show to 3 of your friends who you think could use information about home renovations. I would really appreciate that.

Chat with me! Join the community on Flick, a podcasting chat app. You can ask questions, chat with other listeners about your project, new products, and more! The app is free, download it wherever you get apps and then open this code on your phone: https://flickchat.page.link/rohX

Join our mailing list! Get insider information and other exciting news http://eepurl.com/gFJLlT

Thanks to Ray Bernoff, the editor of the show. www.RayBernoff.com

The music is Blueberry Festival Footrace by David Fisher and performed by Hanneke Cassel www.hannekecassel.com

Cover Art by Sam White www.samowhite.com

If you need architectural advice, contact me through my website at www.demiosarchitects.com

Email questions for future episodes to thehousemaven@talkinghomerenovations.com

Episode 7

full
Published on:

18th Dec 2019

11:00am

Skylights

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Episode recap

New Velux skylights don’t leak

Skylights bring in more daylight than vertical windows

Ve= Ventilation, Lux= light, hence the company name VELUX

Integrated blinds can be programmed

You still need to air out your space even if you have air conditioning

Modern skylights have UV blocking glass

Learning from mistakes of others- use the right skylight for the right application. A deck mounted skylight is for a pitched roof. A curb mounted skylight is for a flat roof. 

Don’t put a brand new roof around an old skylight, they are part of the same roofing system. 

Help me spread the word!Send a link to this show to 3 of your friends who you think could use information about home renovations. I would really appreciate that.

Chat with me! Join the community on Flick, a podcasting chat app. You can ask questions, chat with other listeners about your project, new products, and more! The app is free, download it wherever you get apps and then open this code on your phone: https://flickchat.page.link/rohX

Join our mailing list! Get insider information and other exciting news http://eepurl.com/gFJLlT

Thanks to Ray Bernoff, the editor of the show. www.RayBernoff.com

The music is Blueberry Festival Footrace by David Fisher and performed by Hanneke Cassel www.hannekecassel.com

Cover Art by Sam White www.samowhite.com

If you need architectural advice, contact me through my website at www.demiosarchitects.com

Email questions for future episodes to thehousemaven@talkinghomerenovations.com

Episode 6

full
Published on:

4th Dec 2019

11:00am

Windows and Doors

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Rick Bertolami, an owner of JB Sash and Door in Massachusetts, explains what you need to know about choosing your windows and doors for your project. 

Episode recap

  • The internet is a good place to start research on window options, but there isn’t a substitute for going to a showroom and seeing and touching the windows in person
  • Types of windows that are available
  • How to narrow down window choices?
  • What are the advantages and disadvantage of triple glazed windows?
  • Are windows really designed to fail after 15 years?
  • What is the difference between insert replacement windows and a tilt pack replacement window? 
  • What to look for in an interior door

About this episode’s guest

Rick Bertolami is an owner of JB Sash and Door in Chelsea, MA. www.jbsash.com.  

Learning from the mistakes of others

Don't have the first time you see your new window be when they are installed in your house.

Help me spread the word!

Send a link to this show to 3 of your friends who you think could use information about home renovations. I would really appreciate that.

Chat with me! Join the community on Flick Chat, a podcasting chat app. You can ask questions, chat with other listeners about your project, new products, and more! The app is free, download it wherever you get apps and then open this code on your phone: https://flickchat.page.link/rohX


Join our mailing list! Get insider information and other exciting news http://eepurl.com/gFJLlT


Thanks to Ray Bernoff, the editor of the show. www.RayBernoff.com

The music is Blueberry Festival Footrace by David Fisher and performed by Hanneke Cassel www.hannekecassel.com

Cover Art by Sam White www.samowhite.com

If you need architectural advice, contact me through my website at www.demiosarchitects.com

Email questions for future episodes to thehousemaven@talkinghomerenovations.com

bonus

bonus
Published on:

27th Nov 2019

3:45pm

How to get what you want

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How to get what you want- working with "a guy"

In this short episode I answer a listener question about getting what you want from a project. When you don’t work with a licensed contractor, but hire “a guy” that has been recommended to you, how do you communicate the scope and the details of the job? 

Answer:  Document what you want no matter who you are working with, be it a contractor or a jack-of-all-trades

About this episode’s guest

There is no guest this week, it’s just me answering a question.

Help me spread the word!

Send a link to this show to 3 of your friends who you think could use information about home renovations. I would really appreciate that.

Chat with me! Join the community on Flick Chat, a podcasting chat app. You can ask questions, chat with other listeners about your project, new products, and more! The app is free, download it wherever you get apps and then open this code on your phone: https://flickchat.page.link/rohX

Join our mailing list! Get insider information and other exciting news http://eepurl.com/gFJLlT


Thanks to Ray Bernoff, the editor of the show. www.RayBernoff.com

The music is Blueberry Festival Footrace by David Fisher and performed by Hanneke Cassel www.hannekecassel.com

Cover Art by Sam White www.samowhite.com

If you need architectural advice, contact me through my website at www.demiosarchitects.com

Email questions for future episodes to thehousemaven@talkinghomerenovations.com

Show artwork for Talking Home Renovations with the House Maven

About the Podcast

Talking Home Renovations with the House Maven
the professionals discuss all aspects of home renovations
Are you planning a home renovation and worried that you don’t know what you are doing? Talking Home Renovations with the House Maven is an educational and entertaining podcast that will ease your fears. Join architect Katharine MacPhail as she interviews contractors, vendors, other architects and homeowners and gathers tips and cautionary tales about home renovations. Learn about materials, what to expect, what to avoid and how to make the most of the money that you will spend on your renovation.
Support the show!

About your host

Profile picture for Katharine MacPhail

Katharine MacPhail

Katharine White MacPhail, Principal at dEmios Architects in Arlington, MA has been
working on residential projects of all sizes in the greater Boston area since 1996. She is
sought after for her ability to turn residential projects around quickly, and for her
competent yet light-hearted approach to architecture. Her specialty is transforming the
older homes so prevalent in Massachusetts, bringing them to the next level without
sacrificing their character. MacPhail shares her knowledge and experience through her
renovation seminars and now her podcast.
MacPhail is a registered architect in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and a
Leed Accredited Professional. She received a Master of Architecture from Southern
California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc) in January of 1996. While at SCI-Arc,
she pursued projects and theory related to the study of the architecture of the
"everyday". Upon completing her MArch, Katharine was an adjunct studio instructor
for the Department of Architecture at Wentworth Institute of Technology in Boston.
Katharine also holds a BA in Art History from Mount Holyoke College where she fell
in love with classical antiquities and later completed some graduate work in Historic
Preservation at Boston University before pursuing a career in architecture. MacPhail
has been involved with local politics for a number of years, and just finished 13
years of homeschooling her 3 children, plans parties and events for a number of
non-profit groups, serves as the Secretary for the Boston Scottish Fiddle Club and
plays with the Boston Scottish Fiddle Orchestra. She is the manager for the all-girl
Celtic string quintet Scottish Fish.