A garret make over in an 1852 home

Garret - A room or apartment in an attic, esp. such a room that has a sloping roof.

There was a wall in the middle of the new living area that separated a finished bedroom and the open attic space. This finished room had a low ceiling hung from the collar ties. This wall was removed along with the ceiling creating a lofty space. A triangular shaped raised panel was made and attached to a backing of plywood and fitted under the landing and winder part of the stairs to restore the support lost by the wall's removal. This detail added a nice focal point to the room while preserving the integrity to the old stair case.

Strings were stretched and 2x6's sistered to the existing 30" on center beam rafters to create a nice straight (which it wasn't) sloped ceiling. This also provided the depth necessary to achieve todays code that calls for R-30 insulation with a 2" venting space under the roof sheathing. The new rafters were strapped horizontally on 16" centers, electric wires were run, insulation installed, folowed by plaster board, plaster, two coats of "bullseye" stain blocking primer, and two coats of ceiling white.

The remaining old plaster walls in the living room, bedrooms and stairway had many cracks. These were taped with fiberglass reinforcing mesh and plastered in with "durabond". All the old plaster was then skim coated with durabond plaster which adheres to anything. Finally a finish skim coat of diamond and imperial plaster was applied. Today's modern plaster is so much harder than the plaster of yesteryear.

To create the old world look of trim first, plaster second, all window casings, door casings, and baseboards were ripped down to 3/8" thickness. Also, all stock was sanded to eliminate the new world machine "planer skip". and then primed on all sides to stabilize their moisture content in an effort to minimize their seasonal expansion and contraction.

Another old world look is the "beading" of outside corners formed by two trim boards. The edge a board disappears and the actual joint becomes imperceptible, unlike the butting of square stock. This detail was employed throughout the garret on windows, doors, and simulated post and beam casings.

The 4, 6, and 8 inch floor boards had some very large gaps and were also cut and taken up in areas to install baseboard heating pipes. An economical solution was to lay down 3/8" A-C sanded plywood to be painted. This adds a third color with area rugs to cover the traffic areas.

The patina of the old stairway, cupola supporting posts, and attic collar ties added the authenticity of age that could not be easily reproduced. I would like to thank the owner for allowing me to express my design ideas and the time necessary to execute them with exacting detail.