Author Archive

Chestnut Hill Project 2018

December 11th, 2018
Architect: Guy Grassi Architect Design Firm
Style: Georgian Colonial
Square Footage: 8,000
4 Bedrooms, 4.5 Baths
Length of Time to Finish: 1 year
Project Year: 2016
Project Cost:
Phase 1= $2,200,000
Phase 1: 12 month project
 
Phase 2= $440,000
Phase 2: 5 months
 
New HVAC system. New electrical wiring. New plumbing from brass to copper.
New structural beams put in place to support the new open floor plan.

Phase 1 Interior House Renovations

In phase 1, the first, second and third floors were renovated down to the studs.

On the first floor, the walls, ceiling, and flooring were ripped out.

To achieve an overall open space the walls and ceiling were ripped out to make room for new plumbing and electrical. This also allowed Connaughton Construction to add a new wet bar and a new powder room. The wet bar is seen in the picture of what looks like a cabinet on the wall with the staircase behind it. The all-white wood cabinets are flush with the wall. An accent of white and gray marble on the wall under the cabinets adds subtle yet classic color and interest.

The flooring was torn out to make room for new radiant floor heating throughout the first floor. It was then covered with a rich dark stain 3″ quartersawn white oak flooring.

The Addition

The addition was renovated into two-800 square foot offices. One for him. One for her. Here we added new floor-to-ceiling custom white wood windows, skylights, and built-in white wood cabinets with chrome accents. What was once a dark confined area is now a well lit, charming and well-organized area. Three modern oval-shaped lighting fixtures brighten the space when natural lighting is not available. Customized millwork adorns the ceiling, walls, and flooring. The flooring is dark stained quartersawn white oak. A warm contrast to the white walls and a continuum of the neutral tones. Neutral tones create a timeless classic design.

The Kitchen 

The kitchen has new beautiful built-in wood cabinets with flush appliances for continuous lines. Creating this elegant eating space we have new white and gray marble blanketing the “waterfall” island and sink, complimenting 2 flower-like glass chandeliers for the perfect accent and lighting with room for seating. The white and gray marble is carried over onto the countertop backsplash to add texture to the all-white walls and cabinets. The rich dark stain 3″ quartersawn white oak flooring is carried into the kitchen for a perfect room-to-room continuity.

Still on the first floor where a new mudroom is added. No pictures of the mudroom. Sorry.

Recessed lighting was added throughout all rooms.

The second floor has three bedrooms all redone while keeping the large spaces intact. Bathrooms were gutted and full-size laundry with two washers and two dryers added.

A New Master Suite

A master suite was added with walk-in closets and a master bath with a soaking tub and heated floors.

The third floor had a series of small rooms that we opened up for 2 good size bedrooms and 2 separate baths.

Phase 2

In phase 2 the renovations include the basement, the garage, and the exterior. No images available.

The basement renovations include 800 square feet complete with plushly carpeted family room with large screen tv for their home movie theatre room.

The garage renovations to accommodate 3 cars.

The exterior renovations include a beautiful new slate roof and new wood shutters. Just what we love for that New England curb appeal.

Landscaping was modified in the second phase as well. While Connaughton Construction does not provide landscaping services, we work closely with the landscaping architects to ensure the water lines and the proper electrical is in place to support the landscape design.

Hard to find pictures of phase 2.

The Project Challenges

  1. The Challenge was ensuring the comfort of the owners and respect for their personal space as they lived in the residence as we renovated, both phases.
  2. Connaughton was also up for the challenge having to run new plumbing to the basement to upgrade to current code. Matching the old plumbing from brass to the new copper plumbing is challenging finding the copper that fits correctly. 
  3. Working renovations within a “historic” residence. What deems a house “Historic”? historic district of Newton, 
Typically, in order to qualify for the designation, a building must be at least 50 years old, must retain a high degree of integrity, and must have some level of historic significance. What’s the history of Newton? Well, you may or may not know the delicious Fig Newton snack was named after Newton. Nabisco, formerly known as the Kennedy Biscuit Company, named several of its products after towns in Massachusetts
 
Why is Suffolk Street considered a Historic district? The Old Chestnut Hill Historic District encompasses the historic residential heart of the Newton portion of Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts. Chestnut Hill was first listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1986.

 

Common Trends of Bostonian House Renovations

  • Quarter Sawn Oak Flooring
  • Neutral tones of white, grey for walls and cabinetry
  • Light or dark wood flooring
  • Open Floor Plan Concept 
  • Radiant heat flooring in bathrooms, kitchens, and outdoor driveways, and
  • Roof Decks

Are there other renovation trends that you are seeing in Boston home design? Comment below. We’d love to hear what you’re seeing.

How to find the best lots for homes. How it works in Boston.

September 15th, 2018

If you are investing in property in Boston, there are a few facts you should know about how it works here.

How does it work?

“We sell City property to developers who want to make the community better. ” according to the official City of Boston website, endorsed by Mayor Martin J Walsh. They sell a property through a competitive RFP process. The city looks for a price, proof of financing and experience with development. They choose Buyers who meet all the requirements.How to find the best lots for homes. How it works in Boston.

Who is buying in Boston these days?

You may be surprised to see the amount of development going on in and around the City of Boston. Visit Boston’s website to see what is going on.

When deciding which property to sell, they determine if the current real estate market supports the development. When they are ready to sell, the local residents are involved in determining how the property should be developed. They are involved in via public meetings and online platforms. The local community has a say if they want the property developed. Local residents help shape the requirements for the Requests for Proposals. Developers must present their ideas to the community for feedback. 

Are you an individual looking to buy land to build? The city sells to small builders and developers.

Where are the investors buying?

Some of the best towns in MA are Cambridge, Brookline, Newton, Lexington, Boston, Belmont, and Winchester. Ranking of best suburbs of Boston Area based on a dozen areas; public schools, crime, real estate, family, nightlife, diversity, for starters.

Cambridge

Cambridge is famous because of the many famous thinkers that have studied at the University. Members of Cambridge University have been awarded 88 Nobel Prizes. With a population of just over 100,000, it has many old, beautiful buildings.

Brookline

Brookline you will find Coolidge Corner bustling with people. There are plenty of top-notch eateries in Washington Square. The Coolidge Corner Theater is the top-rated Trip Advisor thing to do in Brookline.

Where do you find out about properties coming up for sale?

How does the process work?

A property has to qualify for development before putting it on the market. How does it qualify? The property has to be developable. Some areas, like underwater parcels or floodplains, can’t be developed, therefore are not sold. And they won’t sell property that is meant for public open spaces such as urban wilds.

The Department of Neighborhood Development  (DND:FAQ) is included in deciding what a parcel is used for. They consult with the community, elected officials, and neighborhood organizations to obtain feedback regarding appropriate uses for a site. DND also considers this feedback in the context of characteristics of the site such as any known environmental or regulatory conditions, to ultimately decide on an appropriate use for the real property. 


Connaughton Construction has over 30 experience building new properties in empty lots in Boston. “We know how to form the right team, deal with the red tape, asbestos, change in occupancy, and shoring up the structure.”, says John. Hire the professionals that can make your dream home come true without the nightmare.

Request a FREE Consultation with Connaughton Construction and let the project begin. Design your story with Connaughton Construction.


Sign Up Here for The Builders Notebook Newsletter.

If you prefer to talk to someone on the phone, please call John with Connaughton Construction at 781-899-1438 x 14 or  Ellen at x13. You will be glad you did.

About the Author. “Lover of all things digital – writing, SEO, websites – Carol Scalzo is the founder of Hit-the-Web Marketing where she helps businesses create significant, consistent, and valuable pieces of content. You can see more of her work at The Retail Factor, follow her on Twitter, or join her email list for businesses who want to turn their websites into lead generating machines.”

The Art of Spatial Planning in Home Construction and Renovation

July 31st, 2018

Consider the art of spatial planning in home construction and renovation can make all the difference in your space? Are you someone who had a true love for the classic charm and architecture of Boston Brownstones – and always imagined living in one? No matter if you desire a newly constructed custom home or you’re ready to move full swing ahead with a home renovation, spatial planning is essential to consider.

Spatial Planning Allows for Easier Living with New Construction or RenovationsThe Art of Spatial Planning in Home Construction & RenovationFrom floor plan creation to deciding on suitable art for the walls, spatial planning includes elements of design. It is a crossover of engineering and art, as it incorporates aspects of both architecture and interior design. Ultimately, it is organizing the use of space available within your home to be most effective for your lifestyle and activities. At the same time, considerations are made for appropriate levels of lighting, sightlines, and overall flow. Along with these key points, the homeowner’s personal style and vision cannot be overlooked.

Optimize for Usability, Proportion, and Scale

Whether creating a new space or modifying an existing space to better suit your needs, spatial planning optimizes the use of square footage with adjustment of the layout (sometimes moving walls), fixtures, colors, and furniture placement. It takes into account usability, proportion, and scale.

Placement of furniture, options for storage, wall space, and both natural and artificial light sources are considered elements of spatial planning within a living space. The core objective is to enable people to move easily into rooms and spaces so that carrying on a daily routine is frustration-free. Many people desire a more simplified lifestyle. When it comes to day-to-day existence in a smaller area, maximizing the usability of available space certainly makes for the easier living.

Create the Perception of a Larger Living Space

Spatial planning analyzes how living areas can be best utilized to create a home environment that improves the quality of life for occupants. Great spatial planning and design also deliver the perception of living in a space that is larger than its actual square footage. Consider too, the right color palette can sometimes lend to the illusion of openness when actual space isn’t an option.

Surprisingly, spatial planning doesn’t only involve interior spaces. Outside views and access to outdoor spaces all must come together.

Natural Lighting and Lighting Solutions

You may want to incorporate more light into certain rooms based on activities happening there. Whether it’s taking advantage of natural light streaming in through floor to ceiling windows or coming up with customized lighting solutions, spatial planning, and design incorporate solutions that enable the space to best work for you – and be aesthetically pleasing as well.

Recessed Lighting

When creating lighting solutions, how far apart should we position recessed lighting fixtures? Start by dividing the height of the ceiling by two. If a room has an 8-foot ceiling height, you should space recessed lights approximately 4 feet apart. If the ceiling is 10 feet high, you’ll aim for each fixture to be placed approximately 5 feet apart.

Create Focal Points where There Are None

There may be architectural features that serve as focal points in a room, such as a hand-carved dinner table or a stone fireplace, or built-in cabinets. Or, there could be an objective to maintain a homeowner’s desire to balance the blend of traditional and modern. Spatial planning ensures that its such features carry visual impact, yet doesn’t interfere with the overall use of a room.

Spatial Planning The Kitchen Workzone

One room that is central in every home is the kitchen. Kitchen design requires smart placement of work zones. Every kitchen must have a natural pathway between the sink, cooking area, and the refrigerator. Also, the width of a working area for a kitchen triangle space should be at least 42 inches for one cook and 48 inches for multiple people working in the kitchen. Everything you need should always be easily within reach, but you don’t want to be bumping into another person should you have a helper!

Spatial Planning Kitchen storage and organization

When it comes to making a kitchen more usable, Spatial Planners think of integrating features into your cabinetry for storage and organization, keeping what you need right at your fingertips. Have your trash can hidden with a pull-out feature in your kitchen island. Storing spices inside your pantry door. These are solutions a spatial planner might suggest to improve the flow of activities involved in food preparation. As technology evolves, including a tablet mount below a cabinet to enable you to easily follow recipes found online or even providing a place to conveniently charge devices while working in the kitchen bring forth new considerations.

Every home is unique. There are similarities in many projects but unexpected surprises often come up when renovating. There could be constraints in how spaces flow from one room to another, and sometimes there are budget constraints. Prioritizing desires and planning the placement of walls, features, and furniture so that everything works in sync, can be a challenge at times!

In the end, you want a place to call home. Spaces that are welcoming, comfortable and fully functional.

Spatial Planners Work in Conjunction with Contractors

Naturally, you want to work with a contractor who will be an essential part of a cooperative team who will carry out your vision. It’s also critically important that your contractor gives you realistic feedback to ensure the project moves forward smoothly.

Connaughton Construction understands your desire to have a home environment that not only meets your aesthetic requirements but will also be workable with for your day-to-day living patterns. Your home is your sanctuary. Ultimately, you want a space where the chaos of the world is left behind, and your soul is fed with calm and positive energy.

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Contact Connaughton Construction, offering quality in distinctive craftsmanship, attention to detail and dedicated professional performance. We are specialists in building new custom homes and renovating luxury homes – including historic Boston brownstones – for over 30 years. Hire the professionals who work as a team to make your dream home a reality.

Request a FREE Consultation with Connaughton Construction and let the project begin. Design your story with Connaughton Construction.

 

8 Hidden Costs Renovating A Boston Brownstone

March 27th, 2018
So you’ve purchased a Boston brownstone. Brace yourself for 8 hidden costs of renovating a Boston brownstone. There may be some unexpected costs associated with owning this charming relic. These are old buildings and worth preserving their ancient charm. In most cases, you don’t have a choice. The local National Registry of Historic Places has a few requirements. But don’t worry. We’ll prepare you for what’s ahead.
 
Connaughton Construction has been helping property owners for over 30 years get through the journey you are about to embark upon. For historic homeowners who may have a vision of designing your dream brownstone, we’ll discuss a few hurdles to clear. But you’re an optimist. That’s why you’ve chosen a brownstone to renovate, right?

8 Hidden Costs Renovating A Boston BrownstoneAs John Connaughton, the President of Waltham, MA a construction management company Connaughton Construction, puts it, while brownstone renovation can sound exciting and even fun at the outset, “the cost will be greater than you think, and the process will take longer than you think.” While this is true of most real estate restorations and facelifts, brownstones are special. Here are the unexpected costs to prepare for before you take on your own project, and a few tips to avoid headaches along the way.

Forming the Right team for a Boston Brownstone renovation

You want to open up the floorplan or replace the kitchen? Assemble the right team—everyone from the architect, contractor, to the structural engineer. When people get this part wrong, they spend the most money and time on their projects. Brownstone owners on a budget often feel tempted to use companies that charge less because they have less experience renovating historic properties. But trying to save money the wrong way is the most costly mistake to make.

Connaughton’s recommendation to homeowners is, “hire an architect who has experience with other brownstones or historic properties. These projects typically cost around $300 and $400 per square foot,” according to Connaughton. John warns that renovators should be wary of anyone offering a price below $300 per square foot—the experienced architect, who’ll likely charge the higher price, will guarantee to save you future mishaps, wasted money, and time. A qualified architect will also help you recruit the right team. You can check on each individual’s work and references to make sure their clients had a good experience. In the beginning, it’s all about the right professionals, the right process, and the right methodology.

Brownstone Renovation Require Inspections, Permits, & Approvals

If this is your first time renovating in Boston, what surprises new brownstone owners the most is the number of approvals.  This is where the architect and the construction manager are worth their weight. Having them in your corner can deflect a lot of the red tape. They know what and when to submit permits to the Inspectional Services. They’ve made the connections and built relationships with people in the NRHP, DOB, BLC and IS. 

The first step is finding out if your house is on the NRHP National Register of Historic Places. You’ll need permits from the Department of Buildings (DOB) for most interior and exterior work.  The most challenging approvals are changes to the exterior;  doors, windows, masonry, roofing, roof deck, and railings. Brownstones in landmark historic districts need to go through the Boston’s Landmarks Commission. The sooner you reach out to them, the faster you receive approvals for your renovations.

When acquiring a work permit, prepare for the DOB to charge you a nominal fee. A job priced between $100,001 and $150,000 will cost you $1,000 in permitting fees, according to the Landmarks Commission. Boston calculates $10 for every $1000 in renovation costs, or 1% of the construction fees.

Changing Occupancy of a Brownstone

 We’ve seen the previous renovation of Boston homes spend about $9,000 when changing a brownstone’s Occupancy  Changing from a multifamily to a single family. Changing from a single family to 3-family is more involved because it involves zoning changes and goes through the Zoning Board of Appeals. Additional changes such as residential to commercial or vice versa go through the Certificate of Occupancy and zoning changes.

Shoring up the structure

You’ve likely hired an inspector to check out the facade and foundation walls before you purchased your brownstone. If the property has no recent renovations, it’s likely you’ll need to upgrade the structure for modern use. These are old buildings and major structural problems can occur from past changes. If your brownstone was a single-family, then broken up into multi-family units, the structural work often suffers.

Consider the case of a Boston resident we spoke with. They’re in the midst of converting a four-family, five-story townhouse into a single-family. They need to replace the beams and the staircase in the process. It’s a high-end renovation. She and her husband are spending about $110,000 to replace the staircase through all five floors with expensive mahogany to match the original staircase built in the house. Add $100,000 for a mix of steel and wood structural beams. Replacing the stairs, a common project for homes that need structural upgrades can cost upwards of $12,000 for a pre-fab staircase or  a metal staircase. The price goes upwards of $20,000 for a wooden staircase.

Finding asbestos

Finding asbestos is a hot issue and is often associated with unexpected costs during the renovation. If you find asbestos during demolition, removal is required. It typically costs around $500. 

If your builder finds asbestos in one or two rooms, it won’t be a long project. It is likely you can continue to live in your home. For large-scale removal, it may take a week or longer and might require you to find new lodgings. Typical areas where it may show up include the basement, pipe insulation, and floor tiles. 

Meeting landmark requirements in a historic district

There’s a huge appeal to buy a brownstone in a historic district knowing that the quaint old townhouse next door can’t be demolished and replaced with a sky-high modern condo building. But it’ll also add extra costs, and time if you’re planning exterior renovations. Boston’s Landmarks Commission requires your architect to submit plans for approval before any exterior changes can be made. For minor work, like brownstone repair or window replacement, the BLC will not charge a permit fee. These permits are approved by the commission’s staff and your architect. This is another reason you’ll want to invest in an architect familiar with brownstones. Facade alterations, however, cost a flat fee of $95 for the first $25,000 of work and $5 for each $1,000 worth of work above that, according to the BLC. Significant alterations, like adding an extra floor, will require that your architect makes a presentation to the BLC’s board.

Restoring a brownstone facade to BLC standards requires specialists and can cost anywhere between $20,000 up to six figures depending on the amount of detail and scaffolding required to do the work, according to Connaughton. “It’s time-consuming and labor-intensive work,” he explains, noting that facade carvings will need to be restored by hand. Switching windows to landmarks specification will require new windows to meet the same glass size and details as the ones you are replacing.

Replicating vs Preserving Original Details of a Boston Brownstone

People love brownstones, not just for the exterior but oftentimes for the lavish interiors that include stained glass, moldings, woodwork, and fireplaces. Such historic details will play a big part in your budget, according to Connaughton: “With brownstone renovations, there are two ways to go. You can do a complete gut and make it brand new, or you can try to save what you can—and restore the details.”

Connaughton also notes that renovators should be prepared to get creative with historically sensitive renovations, rather than expect to preserve every feature. “Replication versus preservation can be the difference of tens of thousands of dollars,” he says. Take, for example, a fireplace mantle that’s missing some of its corbels or moldings. To restore the fireplace and get new custom-made pieces can be expensive. Owners may instead opt for replacing the fireplace mantel.

Renovation & Demolition Curve Balls

Talk to anybody who’s survived a historic renovation and they’ll tell you to prepare for a few curve balls. Demolition will reveal everything from structural problems to old piping to fire damage that’s been covered up. With the likelihood of surprise, most professionals recommend between a 10 and 15 percent of your renovation budget. 

After renovation starts, we may realize we need to replace the water main, a $10,000 – $15,000 cost. When renovating down to the studs, Boston Fire and the Inspectional Services Department require the installation of sprinkler systems, fire alarms, smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors. This can cost up to $60,000, depending on the size of the building. In a very old house, you don’t know what you’ll find. Look at the process as a leap of faith. I’ll be worth it. The payback is great.


Connaughton Construction has over 30 experience renovating historic Boston brownstones. We know how to form the right team, deal with the red tape, asbestos, change in occupancy, and shoring up the structure. Hire the professionals that can make your dream home come true without the nightmare.

Request a FREE Consultation with Connaughton Construction and let the project begin. Design your story with Connaughton Construction.


Sign Up Here for The Builders Notebook Newsletter.

If you prefer to talk to someone on the phone, please call John with Connaughton Construction at 781-899-1438 x 14 or  Ellen at x13. You will be glad you did.

About the Author. “Lover of all things digital – writing, SEO, websites – Carol Scalzo is the founder of Hit-the-Web Marketing where she helps businesses create significant, consistent, and valuable pieces of content. You can see more of her work at The Retail Factor, follow her on Twitter, or join her email list for businesses who want to turn their websites into lead generating machines.”

Luxury Kitchen and Bath Design Trends of New England 2017

January 28th, 2018

A place in time where classic architecture meets contemporary design. The trends in style seem to be to go natural with a continuity in textures. Trends give us new ways of seeing and thinking. They sometimes reflect larger shifts in our society’s mode of living. As with most other aspects of existence, they don’t last forever.

With that, we’ve polled the mind of one our region’s top building professionals to give us an overview of what they see coming, staying, and going—in New England style. 

One thing remains status quo – Our clients want the best materials and the best craftsmanship.

Kitchen Design Trend 2017

Luxury kitchen Trends New England 2017 by Connaughton ConstructionOne of the best ways to ensure you’re creating a kitchen with design staying power is to pay attention to the current direction of kitchen trends. For starters, the popular colors in kitchens this year are light shades of white and gray. Gray is such a classic color. It serves as the perfect background color for any room and lets us add other elements and layers to the aesthetic. 

Pendant Lighting over kitchen islands

Kitchens are no longer just viewed as functional spaces. Homeowners want to infuse their personalities into every space in their homes, and one of the best ways to add a sense of personal style to the kitchen is with lighting. More people are choosing large pendants or statement lighting for above their islands or centered in the space.

Pendant lighting over islands. LED lighting both recessed and under counters. 

Custom Kitchen Cabinets

Custom kitchen cabinets also sport light colors and often times darker color island cabinets for a dash of color, a contrast, to add interest to the room. 

Tile Backsplash to countertops

We have been seeing tile backsplash in glass, stone or ceramic are popular. This is where the continuity in color is continued, using glass, stone or ceramic for texture. Glass adds to high gloss we see in painted cabinets and painted millwork.

Stainless Steel Appliances

People are spending a lot of time in the kitchen, chefing it up, entertaining, and family gatherings always go well with good food. Stainless steel appliances are still popular. High-end gas ranges, such as Viking and Thermidor with double wall ovens and separate gas cooktops. Custom stainless steel, brass or built-in vent hoods are popular.

Granite and Quartz Countertops

Stone countertops remain popular; granite, quartz and caesarstone. Granite was once the gold-standard in kitchen countertops, but it’s being phased out in most kitchens thanks to new, more durable options. Surfaces like engineered stone and soapstone offer a similar look to granite but require less maintenance. 

Granite vs. Quartz: Is One Better Than The Other? | HGTV’s Decorating … 
www.hgtv.com/design-blog/design/granite-vs-quartz-is-one-better-than-the-other

Goose Neck Faucets

Goose and round neck faucets are very popular in the kitchen. They can be pulled out and used as a spray faucet for larger stainless steel or porcelain sinks.

Bathrooms

Luxury Kitchen Bath Design Trends New England 2017 by Connaughton Construction

Luxury baths include both the large walk-in showers to the freestanding soaking tubs. Large tile or stone slab showers with body sprays and rain shower heads are popular. Doors to the showers are frameless. In New England, bathrooms are largely heated tile floors and heated towel bars. Countertops to double sinks are marble or quartz stone. Vanities are custom natural wood or painted for a splash of color. White isn’t just for the kitchen. It pours into the bathroom as well.

High-Tech Toilets

Smart toilets feature several luxury conveniences, including hands-free flushing, automated lid opening and closing, seat heating, ambient lighting, and Bluetooth technology. The new ActiClean self-cleaning toilet from American Standard allows homeowners the ability to clean the toilet with a quick push of a button. A growing number of luxury hotels are including smart toilets, bidets, and other amenities in the bathroom. People enjoy the experience of using these toilets abroad and want to bring that experience to their own home. —Andrea Mongeau

Bigger Windows

Glass curtain walls, found most commonly in commercial buildings, are being used more and more in residential construction. These expansive walls of glass allow for an almost seamless view of the outdoors and are part of an overall trend toward larger windows to let in natural light and take advantage
of views

Interesting Ceilings

We are big proponents of using metallic tea paper on ceilings. It is especially effective in smaller spaces, such as powder rooms, or within the coffers of a ceiling. I also love to create cove ceiling details for indirect lighting. —Meichi Peng

Beadboard is popular again on ceilings, especially painted a soft white. The gentle white lines give a room a cozy feeling and remind us of older times, when things were more relaxed. —Ron DiMauro

Paneled Rooms 

Paneled rooms have never been trendy, for us. A beautifully paneled room is always classic, warm, comfortable. It needn’t be stuffy, especially if it is painted. Painted surfaces are almost always my preference over stained wood, anyway. —Jon Hattaway

Connaughton Construction has renovated several homes with classic mahogany walls and African Mahogany wall paneling shown in this luxury library.

 

Connaughton Construction, has over 30 experience implementing many sustainable constructions, energy efficiency, smart technology, updated kitchens and baths, open floor plans and home offices.

 Request a FREE Consultation with Connaughton Construction and let the new custom home project begin. Design your story with Connaughton Construction.


Sign Up Here for The Builders Notebook Newsletter.

Do you have your own project and need the hand of an experienced custom home builder?

Contact Connaughton Construction to discuss your sustainable construction, energy efficient home, open floor plan, kitchen and bath update, home office design project.

Set up your personal Design Consultation.

If you prefer to talk to someone on the phone, please call John with Connaughton Construction at 781-899-1438 x 14 or  Ellen at x13.

About the Author. “Lover of all things digital – writing, SEO, websites – Carol Scalzo is the founder of Hit-the-Web Marketing where she helps businesses create significant, consistent, and valuable pieces of content. You can see more of her work at The Retail Factor, follow her on Twitter, or join her email list for businesses who want to turn their websites into lead generating machines.”

Gas Fireplaces – Vented or Ventless?

December 12th, 2017

Gas fireplaces vented or ventless are an ideal choice for anyone who wants to enjoy the warmth of a fire without the chores of hauling wood and cleaning ashes. Because gas fireplace options are growing in popularity every year, manufacturers have geared-up to offer us a wide selection of appliances. You’ll find gas logs, freestanding gas fireplaces, and contained fireplace units that are mounted on a wall.

Some gas log fixtures are vented so that gases produced during the burn travel outside, just as they move up and out of a chimney in a traditional wood burning fireplace.


Gallery of Gas Fireplaces by Connaughton Construction

Gas Fireplaces - Vented or Ventless?


Gas Fireplaces. Are They Safe?

Have your chimney cleaned by a professional chimney sweep before you fire up your gas logs for the first time. Although tests show that gas fireplaces do not increase carbon monoxide levels in your home, it’s safe to have the detectors if you use any gas appliances at home; including a furnace, a stove or a fireplace. Many gas fireplaces have safe technology. 

Can I convert a wood burning fireplace to gas?

Yes, you can purchase gas log inserts. However, you will have to have gas available at your location or have lines installed.

Vented gas logs can take the place of wood in a traditional hearth and chimney. You can choose a unit that burns either natural or propane gas. Be safe and always burn with the damper in a fixed open position.

  • Gas fireplaces are not a solution for a problem chimney. If the chimney has cracks, dirty, or doesn’t draw air well enough to burn wood, it is not suitable for gas logs.
  • Chimneys that are previously burning wood often times have a build up of creosote. Having a professional clean your fireplace chimney before installing and using gas logs will be safer.
  • Stainless steel liners in older chimneys is a good solution for those not having clay linings or those flue liners that are in bad condition.

 Are All Gas Fireplaces vented?

There are vented and ventless gas fireplaces. Vented or ventless refers to the gas logs. Vented gas logs require a fully functional wood burning fireplace. Ventless gas logs can be installed in either a wood burning fireplace or a ventless fireplace that is rated for aftermarket ventless logs. Ventless gas logs will produce more heat, while vented gas logs will look much more realistic.

Gas Fireplaces Vented. Are they Efficient?

Positive Features of Vented Gas Logs

  1. Vented gas fireplaces have an extremely realistic flame pattern that looks like a wood fire.
  2. The flame is much taller than ventless logs
  3. The flame dances and wraps around logs like real wood.
  4. Vented gas fireplaces may require a CO2 detector – depending on local fire department requirements.
  5. Since the damper is fixed open, most of the smell will go up the chimney

Negative Features of Vented Gas Logs

  1. Vented gas logs produce less heat than ventless logs 
  2. Uses slightly more gas than ventless logs

Gas Fireplaces Ventless. Are they Safe?

The positive features of Ventless Gas Logs, they provide much better heat output than vented gas logs. They create less pollution. They use slightly less gas.

The Negative Features of Ventless Gas Logs

  1. The main byproducts of burning gas cleanly are Carbon Dioxide and Water Vapor. Because of this, ventless gas logs will introduce excess moisture into your home which could result in mold or mildew.
  2. You must be careful not to burn your ventless logs for extended periods of time with windows closed as they can deplete the oxygen in your home.
  3. If you burn your ventless logs for more than an hour, you must crack open a window to allow air into your home to replace the oxygen burned by the ventless logs. This will introduce cold air into the room and offset some of the heating benefits that ventless logs claim to have.
  4. Ventless logs produce an odor that smells like kerosene, can cause eye irritation and coughing spells to those who are sensitive. They are legal in Massachusetts.
  5. Law requires Ventless logs to have an ODS (oxygen depletion system) as well as a CO2 detector.
  6. The flame pattern with ventless logs is not nearly as realistic in comparison to vented logs. Because the gas must burn cleanly, the flame height is very low, it is more blue than yellow and appears to be less lofty.
  7. Also, you will find that the flame does not dance around like a real wood fire and very little of the flame actually touches the logs. 
  8. If there is a mantel above the fireplace, you may need to install a hood to divert heat away from it.
  9. There are also BTU limitations based on the cubic feet of air available to your room. Measure the maximum BTUs allowed using this formula: Room Width x Room Length x Ceiling Height x 20.
  10. Ventless gas logs are not legal in a bedroom or confined space. Only vented units are allowed in bedrooms.

 Gas Fireplace Building Codes

Building codes and local fire departments require the damper in your chimney to be permanently fixed open if you install gas logs. You can reduce drafts and heat loss by installing glass doors in front of the gas fireplace. But the doors must remain open while the fire is burning. Connaughton Construction knows the Boston codes for CHIMNEYS, FIREPLACES AND SOLID FUEL-BURNING APPLIANCES.

We recommend that you purchase a vented log gas fireplace, where possible. You will be happier with the flame that they produce and less likely to experience discomfort from odors or irritation. We recommend ventless logs when maximizing the heat output outweighs all of the other negative aspects.


Connaughton Construction, a construction management company, has over 30 experience implementing sustainable construction, energy efficiency, and smart technology. Gas fireplaces have become popular for every room. Installing vent-free gas logs is not a DIY job. Having a professional install. He/she can do the proper tests on the gas pressure, make sure the installation meets building codes and follows the specifications.

Request a Consultation with Connaughton Construction and let the new custom home project begin. Design your story with Connaughton Construction.


Sign Up Here for The Builders Notebook Newsletter.

If you prefer to talk to someone on the phone, please call John with Connaughton Construction at 781-899-1438 x 14 or  Ellen at x13.

About the Author. “Lover of all things digital – writing, SEO, websites – Carol Scalzo is the founder of Hit-the-Web Marketing where she helps businesses create significant, consistent, and valuable pieces of content. You can see more of her work at The Retail Factor, follow her on Twitter, or join her email list for businesses who want to turn their websites into lead generating machines.”

What Exactly Does A Construction Manager Do?

October 31st, 2017

What exactly does a Construction Manager do? you ask.

Construction Manager often called general contractors, will coordinate and supervise a wide variety of projects, including the building of all types of public, residential, commercial, and industrial structures, as well as roads, memorials, and bridges. John Connaughton, the owner of Connaughton Construction, is a Construction Manager who has worked with many homeowners, architects, and developers. “We have been custom building and renovating large residential projects into grand living spaces for over 30 years.”, says John.

What Exactly Does A Construction Manager Do by Connaughton Construction“As a Construction manager, we are responsible for setting and keeping schedules, monitoring finances, and making certain the team is accomplishing what they should every day. We help ensure that the workplace is free of safety hazards and deal with the various working relationships that exist on a job site.”, says Connaughton.

Responsibilities of a Construction Manager

There are certain responsibilities we hold as construction managers. These include:

Quality management

Construction projects quite often involve a number of contractors and subcontractors. One of our most important jobs is making certain everyone is doing quality work and not cutting any corners along the way.

Cost management

We are constantly on top of costs. We make the necessary adjustments when unexpected complications arise.

Safety management

As Construction manager, we are able to identify and eliminate possible safety hazards for the good of everyone on the job site.

Contract administration

It is our job to ensure that every provision of the contract is being met and that all parties involved are happy.

Construction managers need to keep all parties well informed throughout the whole project. This includes the client, the architect, and any subcontractor and supplier involved. If issues arise, we deal with them immediately. This is where we must possess the communication skills necessary to lead a diverse team.

The team includes all involved in the process from the site workers to the client to designers, architects, tradesmen and local building officials. Since most construction environments are fast-paced and are held to tight deadlines, the ability to effectively multitask is required to be a successful construction manager.

Compliance Requirements

Every city and state has certain rules to adhere to in order to complete the project properly. As a construction manager, we need to be well aware of the codes and comply with them. Most importantly we need to make sure that we are apprised of any and all changes to building codes. There is nothing more important than getting it done right the first time! 

More than Reading Blueprints

A construction manager (particularly in Massachusetts) involves much more than just reading blueprints or spot-checking the quality of work being done. Qualified construction managers are knowledgeable about all standard building codes and understand the importance of green architecture.

Technology Savvy Management

We use industry-specific software and have a good working knowledge of all aspects of each project. Connaughton Construction is knowledgeable in statistics, mathematics, architecture, and information technology. We specialize in planning, enforcement of building codes, scheduling, and cost estimation.

Real World Experience

Clients today want a qualified construction manager with real-world experience and overall knowledge of the principles of construction management for their projects.

At Connaughton Construction, as the Construction Manager, we organize, plan, and manage the resources to make sure the labor, materials, and equipment necessary for the construction process run smoothly.

Our best referrals are from real estate agents, architects, and previous clients. We’ve been building and reconstructing properties from the ground up for over 30 years. Our expertise is in the city of Boston where we know the building requirements and the departments of people who we need to involve in the approval process. We work closely with architects and property owners. With them, we have built our reputation as a top quality construction management of custom home building. Many satisfied clients live in the City of Boston. We’re always ready for the next challenge.

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What do Millennials Seek in their Homes?

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About the Author. “Lover of all things digital. Designing websites and digital marketing. Carol Scalzo,  the founder of Hit-the-Web Marketing, helps businesses create significant, consistent, and valuable pieces of content. You can see more of her work at The Retail Factor, follow her on Twitter, or join her email list for businesses who want to turn their websites into lead generating machines.”

310 Marlborough Street, Boston- Home Renovation

September 12th, 2017

310 Marlborough Street, Boston’s Back Bay. Not just another brownstone. [click on the image to sequence through quicker]

 

Outstanding extensive renovation of this 1899 residence located in the coveted and well sought after Back Bay of Boston. No detail was overlooked in this classic brownstone.  See pictures during renovation. Design by noted architect Guy Grassi Grassi Design Group.

  • 5 bedrooms
  • 7 1/2 Bathrooms
  • 4 fireplaces
  • 4,704 sqft
  • African Mahogany Panels in Library
  • Quarter/Rift Sawn Oak Hardwood floors
  • New Elevator
  • Roof Deck
  • Heated Parking Court
  • HyperHeating and Cooling system
  • On-Demand Tankless Hot Water system

Six floors of luxury and opulence from garden level to roof deck boasting over 11-foot ceilings.

Dining Room

An elegant dining room with details of high ceilings, Italian marble mantel, classic wall molding, and oak floors. Beautiful decor adds to the ambiance with crystal chandeliers and rich tapestry complimenting windows and walls.

Chef Kitchen

Gourmet Kitchen 310 Marlborough Street Boston_by Connaughton Construcion

This chef kitchen is prepared for the task of fine cooking and entertaining. Granite countertops with separate island, Wolf, SubZero, and Miele appliances and custom painted kitchen cabinets. The molding at the top of the kitchen cabinets is a popular design trend. It’s very elegant and adds interest to the kitchen.

 

 

Elegant Libary

Elegant Library with Builtin Mahogany Shelves. 310_Marlborough_Street by Connaughton ConstructionThe library displays superior quality craftsmanship with mahogany built-in shelves, walls and coffered ceiling creating the warmth and luxury you’d expect in this side of Boston. The sitting area that makes you want to curl up and read a book from the owner’s extensive selection. Accented with LED lighting.

Connaughton Construction, creating luxury renovation and custom design and custom building in the Greater Boston area for over 30 years. We are a professional builder successfully combining our long-standing reputation for quality craftsmanship and construction service. We instill confidence in our customers through a proven organization, efficiency, and compliance with all building codes, specifications, and regulations. We know and comply with all permits and registrations that are required.

If you have used our services, a referral is the greatest compliment you can give us. If you are looking for our services, we have plenty of reviews from delighted customers. Call us if you have any questions. We have solved many challenging problems that can appear in city living. You won’t be disappointed. 

Call us if you have any questions. We have solved many challenging problems that can appear in city living. You won’t be disappointed. 

 Request a FREE Consultation with Connaughton Construction and let your new custom home project begin. Design your story with Connaughton Construction.


Sign Up Here for The Builders Notebook Newsletter.

Do you have your own project and need the hand of an experienced custom home builder?

Contact Connaughton Construction to discuss your sustainable construction, energy efficient home, open floor plan, kitchen and bath update, home office design project.

Set up your personal Design Consultation.

If you prefer to talk to someone on the phone, please call John with Connaughton Construction at 781-899-1438 x 14 or  Ellen at x13.

About the Author. “Lover of all things digital – writing, SEO, websites – Carol Scalzo is the founder of Hit-the-Web Marketing where she helps businesses create significant, consistent, and valuable pieces of content. You can see more of her work at The Retail Factor, follow her on Twitter, or join her email list for businesses who want to turn their websites into lead generating machines.”

What do Millennials seek in their homes?

January 25th, 2016

What do Millennials seek in their homes? The millennial generation is becoming an increasingly important part of the housing market. According to a 2015 National Association of Realtors study that looked at generational housing trends, Millennials, those born between 1980 and 2000, comprise the largest segment of the buyer market.

They’re young professionals who prefer a turnkey home that needs little or no work. They are creative, romantic buyers who want to investWhat do Millenials Seek in their homes by Connaughton Construction sweat equity and money over time. They want to put their personal stamp on the property, to add value for the future. Research shows they want sustainable construction, energy efficient homes, smart technology, updated kitchens and baths, open floor plans and home offices.

Sustainable Construction

Millennials seek to have homes that are higher energy efficient than the standard construction methods. A sustainable construction for a millennial combines an integration of the ecological, economical and social balance. These components create cost-shifting opportunities to benefit both the efficiency of the home and the builder’s bottom line.  See Green Home Building and Sustainable Architecture.

Millennials seek Energy Efficiency

With energy costs on the rise and growing interest in protecting the environment, young buyers are conscious of buying homes that are green.

Today’s buyers are looking for energy-efficient homes. If the home is not already set up for energy efficiency, the Millenial buyer will factor those costs into their budgets so they can do it after they buy. Millennials are savvy on insulation levels, seasonal energy-efficiency ratios and other energy-efficiency factors.

Smart Technology

Today, buyers want to know about the home’s technology. They want to hear about the local cell service and Internet speed capability.

In some cases, a house’s appeal can be increased or diminished because of the strength of a mobile carrier’s signal or its Internet service provider options. Internet and cell service matters a lot to this generation. They’re going to ask how well the cell signal and internet service is at this location.

Updated Kitchens and Baths

They want to buy a home with new kitchen and new bath fixtures and design. New fixtures are especially important for today’s young, budget-conscious buyers.

The primary reason younger buyers seek updated kitchens and baths is because they have limited budgets. Most of their savings will go toward the down payment and furnishings. Kitchens and bathrooms are also the most expensive parts of a home to update. Young homeowners cannot afford to sink a lot of money into those areas.

While updated kitchens and bathrooms may bring in a younger crowd, remodeling costs should give a seller pause. After all, if those updates aren’t in a young buyer’s budget, they probably aren’t in a seller’s budget either.

Open Floor Plan

The kitchen has become the hangout room along with the family room. An open space that can easily transition from kitchen to TV room is high on the list of the perfect home for young buyers. In essence, the kitchen is the new living room.

Millennials are attracted to an open floor plan, rather than a layout with many small rooms dividing the home, because the younger homeowners entertain. They want people to flow through the home during gatherings, rather than be sectioned off in rooms.

Home Office

More than 13 million Americans work from home. All signs point to that trend continuing, which makes a home office important for many buyers. Home offices have vast appeal and are not just for those who work from home full time. As technology continues to make us more mobile, young buyers have more options than ever to work from home, depending on their job. Having a dedicated space is important because it will help keep them focused and concentrated on work while they are at home on a call, planning a presentation, setting up their workday or simply paying bills.

Connaughton Construction, has over 30 experience implementing many sustainable construction, energy efficiency, smart technology, updated kitchens and baths, open floor plans and home offices.

 Request a FREE Consultation with Connaughton Construction and let the new custom home project begin. Design your story with Connaughton Construction.


Sign Up Here for The Builders Notebook Newsletter.

Do you have your own project and need the hand of an experienced custom home builder?

Contact Connaughton Construction to discuss your sustainable construction, energy efficient home, open floor plan, kitchen and bath update, home office design project.

Set up your personal Design Consultation.

If you prefer to talk to someone on the phone, please call John with Connaughton Construction at 781-899-1438 x 14 or  Ellen at x13.

Construction Manager We build from the Ground up

January 10th, 2016

How does Connaughton Construction help you get your dream home to reality? From  the ground up.

The construction process is definitely an art. There are many factors that contribute to the construction of a building. Architects and Construction managers play a vital role in the construction process, and work closely with the building owner. Let’s take a look at the role of the construction manager in the building creation process.

Preconstruction. In the preconstruction phase, the construction manager oversees the building process and works directly with the building owner. We oversee a team of builders, engineers and suppliers or tradesmen.

Three Phases of Design

While the Architect creates the first 2 phases of Design; Schematic Design and Design Development, the third phase where the Construction Drawings are finalized is where the Construction Manager gets involved in the project. We review the final specifications and materials that are detailed in the final drawings and provide estimates of time and cost of the project. Then we build the project.

Meetings. A pre-construction meeting is held with the owner, architect, construction manager, project manager, inspectors, contractors, sub-contractors to plan for the construction process. Here a plan is set for meetings, schedule control, processes, and reports.

Construction. And so it begins. As the ground breaking begins the round of construction, the Construction Manager will be onsite and is responsible for the transport of heavy equipment. We oversee the contract documentation to ensure the contractors have all the necessary permissions, tools and equipment. We make sure everything is of expected quality, on schedule and on budget.

Out of Ground. We begin clearing the site, moving the soil and ground cover and begin construction of the foundation. Again, we continue responsibility for ensuring everything is of expected quality, on time and on budget.

Topping Out.  During this phase the building frame is complete, windows are installed, roof, interior framing, and rough plumbing and electrical begin. We collect all documentation and ensure expected overall project quality, on time and on budget.

Weather Tight. Exterior siding, all doors and windows are installed, lighting, masonry, and the structure is weather and waterproof. Again, we are ensuring everything is of expected quality, on time and on budget.

Ready to Close in. The frame is inspected and the rough electrical is complete. During this stage, as the construction manager we coordinate the work of the interior contractors, furniture deliveries and equipment installers. We also review the documentation for the facility managers to prepare for occupancy.

Finish Stage. We prepare for the drywall, cabinets, carpet and fixtures. We compile all the documentation for the facility manager on behalf of the owner.

In review, Connaughton Construction, as the Construction Manager, we are the organizer and planner who manages the resources to make sure the labor, materials and equipment necessary for the construction process runs as planned.

Our best referrals are from real estate agents and architects. We’ve been building and reconstructing properties from the ground up for over 30 years. Our expertise is in the city of Boston where we know the land, the building requirements, the departments of people who need to get involved in the approval process. We work closely with architects and property owners and with them we have built our reputation as a top quality construction management custom builder. Many satisfied clients are in the heart of the city with high expectations of quality luxury buildings. We’re always ready for the next challenge.

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