The HVAC Dilemma That Almost Ruined My Design Dreams (Seriously!!)

Hey Hey!!!

Guys. The Merc reno is CRUISING. In my last video+post I mentioned that we had a HVAC saga to discuss. Are you ready to hear how it quite literally almost ruined all of my design plans?!

So lets start at the beginning. What is an HVAC system?! An HVAC system is your heating and air conditioning, it includes the actual units and all of the duct work and vents. Its wicked important (I don’t want to live without an AC do you?!) The Merc currently has a 5 ton gas pack unit installed on both sides of the building. We’re not worrying about unit #2 until phase 2 starts, so this post is all about the dilemma that we ran into with unit #1.

The unit itself is mounted on the roof close to the front of the building. When we bought the Merc, phase 1 had some exposed ductwork running in front of the massive support beam. Don’t get me wrong, I love exposed ducting, and we’re going to use it in phase 2, but for phase 1 we decided to put it up inside the ceiling.

That plan was quickly thwarted when the HVAC guys tried to make it happen. See the roof at the Merc looks a little bit like this:

There is plenty of space at the front of the building for ductwork, but about 1/2 way through the front section there is a massive beam that has just inches on either side of it for something to run through, and if that wasn’t bad enough, there is a block wall right where the roofline and ceiling pitch meet. so the only way to get to the other side of the wall (where the laundry, bathroom, and 3rd bedroom are) is to go through it or over it.

Our HVAC guys gave us 4 options for dealing with the situation.

Option 1 was to drop the ductwork and run it along the ceiling. You see this a lot in homes, especially in the basement. We had 2 options for this. 1 was to follow the path of the exposed ductwork that we’d already taken out, and go through the original hole that was in the wall.

This wasn’t great because it would cover the transoms that I LOVE, and its ugly.

The second dropped ceiling option was to run the duct through the bathroom (the room on the right of the above picture) and then through the hallway and an old window opening on the other side of the wall.

This opening is in the shower for the en suite bathroom, which means it would also have a dropped ceiling.

Option #2 that they presented us with was to use a split system. You typically see splits in apartment buildings or hotel rooms. Each unit is its own little system and there is a condenser on the roof. This was NEVER an option. While they are super efficient and great for customizing temps in each space, they are pretty horrendous looking.

Option #3 was a little creative. It was to take the ductwork outside of the building, run it along the roof, over the problem areas and then back down inside. This seemed like the most promising option. The issue is that it would be really expensive because you are taking the ductwork outside the insulated thermal envelope of the building, which means that it would need its own. IE framing, insulation, roofing, ALL THE THINGS. This option was coming in at $5000+ and no one was sure if it was quite up to code.

Option #4 was our solution. A pancake unit. Basically its a small HVAC unit that sits inside your ceiling. It acts at the intake and the condenser is outside on the roof. We put it in the little hallway by the bedroom and it will completely disappear. We weren’t planning on this expense and its an additional $3000 from what our original bid was but MAN ALIVE I’m happy that we had this option. It would have sucked to ruin our awesomely tall ceilings for something as hideous as ductwork.

The HVAC guys said that we would be able to hear it, but that they insulated it well so hopefully it will be minimal. I’ll definitely keep you guys posted about it!!

So I’m interested to know, would you guys have chosen the same option? Do you have one of these units in your life? Are they loud?! Don’t forget there is still time to send your time capsule picture in!!

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August 20, 2017 at 08:07PM

Tens of thousands of NASCAR fans gather near this tiny southern town for a premier event, and one that’s sponsored by the NRA. But here, deep in Trump country, there was universal condemnation for white supremacists and Neo-nazis. — By Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff photographer

Warren Denney, a professional Abraham Lincoln impersonator, wears his hat as he stands to watch the cars take off for the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race Qualifying Race. (Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff)

from Big Picture

from Blogger August 20, 2017 at 08:07PM

Embracing My Fear of Over-Renovating

Hey guys!! Happy Friday! Things are cruising around here!! The windows for the bedrooms were cut yesterday and the framing and electrical are 95% done! The HVAC system is in and I am just SO happy!!!

Ok so, we all are fully aware that the world we live in celebrates and expects perfection. Right?

Everything has to be new and shiny and completely resistant to any sort of character making defects. My biggest fear with the Merc (besides the one where the walls disintegrate) is that we might over renovate it.

I feel like we’ve all seen the adorable historic houses on the MLS. The outside has so much character but the interior has been flipped or over renovated to the point that its basically a new house. Beige walls, faux travertine, and all. The history and past life of it has been forgotten. It makes me so sad! So with the Merc I’m taking extra care to not erase the history of it.

Does it have wonky windows? Hell yes it does. Am I changing them? Never.

It doesn’t bother me that the floors are uneven or that our entryways are wicked thick, or that the walls are a little cockeyed. I LOVE IT!! It’s what makes the Merc special and historic!!

This embracing imperfection is the driving force behind all of the finishes and a lot of the design work that we’re doing.

Lets take flooring for example. There is flooring has all of the “character” painted, pressed, and molded into it. Its supposed to look perfectly lived in and old, but remain completely unchanged for a lifetime. Now don’t get me wrong, I understand the need, and there is a HUGE market for it. But for me, I’d rather have wood floors that show wear and tear because that means that they are full of stories and memories and LIFE!

(source Design Sponge) <– Click that link to see more original floors!

So instead of buying floors like a normal person, we’re making our own.

Remember my favorite front door? We had a replication (well, 3 replications cause we have 3 doors) bid out and it came back a lot higher than I was hoping for ($9k) so instead of stressing and trying to make it work some how and going over budget, I found some really cool vintage doors at Euro Treasures antiques and we’re having them fit for the exteriors. Total cost? $150/door (it will end up being more because we have to fix them up, get rid of the grill, and have the jamb made) but WAYYYY less than $9k thats for sure.

I think the biggest mistake with the Merc would be trying to make everything look old from the word go, instead of just giving it the opportunity to let it happen over time. So that leads me to the question of the day: Do you have original wood floors with gaps and cracks? How do you feel about them? How do you keep them clean? I need all the info.



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