Monday, January 10, 2011

We do Bathrooms

These before and after photos are the best thing for showing what can be done.  I'm definitely not a "pink" person, and I don't like the frilly sink.  I'm into marble, granite, slate and white and primary colors.  That said, it's not my house and i don't have to use that bathroom.  But, these transformations can be phenomenal. 

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If you like a lot of varnished wood, and can't get over your nautical days, this bathroom is for you.  The owner and I laughed about that, because he does love to sail.  Humor aside, this bathroom is comfortable, with a warm, radiant heated marble floor, separate shower and cast iron antique tub, heated towel warmers, his and her everything, and a complete exercise room on one side and large walk in closets, master suite laundry room and bedroom on the other.  Three bedrooms, several closets and some poorly designed wasted space in a six bedroom home became a single suite.

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If money is no object, these three photos show what can be done.  Realistically, I think I'm likely to get one tile job like this a decade.  Few of us could afford the tile alone, let alone the installation costs.

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Sometimes, just converting one bedroom into the master bath once she's gone off to college seems the wisest thing to do.  Doesn't it look great?  No more feeling like you're in a closet when you dry off after the shower. (I'm standing in front of the shower to take this photo.)
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This bathroom was kept reasonably priced.  The vanity is a mix of three older ones, and the cabinet interiors were remade with plywood, and painted, since the old particle board had disintegrated.  The counter top is real marble, and was recycled from a demolition site.

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I just had to throw this one in.  He's one of my friend's cats.  He has decided that his home is her bathroom.  He's almost 20 pounds and only looks ferocious to humans (he is a skilled mouser)  He lost all his hair one time, and gained the name "Samson".   
He's the bathroom cat!

Robert A. Cox, Hopper Construction Company

You can give me a call any time to discuss possibilities. Sometimes I can do the designing.  Sometimes, we work with architects.  In all cases, we try to ensure that the results will add enjoyment and value to your home.

How did I get the name "Hopper" for my company?  It's easy.  My last name is Cox, and it is simply too common.  I'm told it just meant "chicken" in French.  So, someone back there was a chicken farmer.  There are too many businesses with that name in them.  When I was a child, my grandmother sometimes "baby sat" me by leaving me at various museums in Chicago while she went to work.  One of my favorites was the Chicago Art Institute.  The women there were so nice.  I would eat my lunch so many times in front of the painting "Nighthawks" by Edward Hopper.  I love that painting, so, it's also the name of my older schnauzer. (I name my pets after American artists and musicians.)

I have more than fifty years since I got my first construction job. How did I get my start?  My very first job was to sweep up after the carpenters when they were building houses across the street from our home in the Mississippi Delta in the 1950s.  I learned from the black workers so much about life as well as old fashioned carpentry in those years.  Life has always been mixed, one way or another, with building things ever since.  I also grew up in Mississippi and Tennessee at a time of extreme racism and violence.  I was a real rebel for a Mississippi boy.  Within a little more than a decade, I was a civil rights investigator, getting those signs taken down over water fountains and on rest room doors.  Those were the years that formed my interests and my viewpoints.  Those really smart and considerate black carpenters were the ones who taught me about tongue and groove flooring and mortise and tenon carpentry. 

For St. Louis, I am very concerned about a history for the past 50+ years of extremely bad maintenance and construction on our old brick buildings.  These buildings could last for hundreds of years to come, if they get proper maintenance and remodeling, and if they are properly improved using the best "green" techniques and materials. 

In later pages, and on new links, I will focus on what has been wrong and what can be right with regard to taking care of our masonry buildings, what is right and what is wrong with tuckpointing as it is usually done, how roofs really should be built, and what types of insulation work in different situations.  Stay tuned. 
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 We do garages

In the past year, we have rebuilt three garages and built one from the dirt up.  Our most recent was a one car garage that had been badly damaged from a dumpster fire.  The garage had been designed with clapboard about eighty years ago.  The roof was a mess even before the fire.  Someone had replaced the rafters with 2x4s on three foot centers.  The result:  the ridge line of the garage badly sagged, and it would have been unsafe for workers to install a new shingle roof.  The siding had also been damaged.  

Our solution:  tear off the old roof, deck, gutters, rafters and joists.  We left some joists to hold the walls in place.  We then rebuilt the entire upper structure with 2x6s on 16 inch centers and tied that all together with hurricane ties.  Why hurricane ties?  We don't have hurricanes here.  Right?  Correct, but we do get tornadoes, and we get some high winds and wind shear during thunderstorm on a frequent basis.  

We wrapped the garage in house wrap (Tyvek or similar) and sided the entire building in Hardie cement fiberboard siding.  The corners are done with paintable PVC, and the windows and doors were replaced.  The wood at the ends and behind the gutters was all wrapped in aluminum and eaves were created. 

The before picture is here.  The nicest thing one could say about this building is that it was 'tired".  We will add the after photo later.

The wood fence had also been burned, and this photo shows things after we had demolished the old fence.  We also scraped away at least 6" of soil, for it is almost certain that much of the paint is filled with lead.  That dirt and everything that appeared to have lead in it was hauled away and disposed of according to the new lead paint regulations, or it was "encapsulated".  At this point, the garage is now a solid building that will last another century, at least, if properly maintained.


Robert A. Cox, Hopper Construction Company
314-757-9292 (phone and text)

You can give me a call any time to discuss possibilities. Sometimes I can do the designing.  Sometimes, we work with architects.  In all cases, we try to ensure that the results will add enjoyment, comfort and value to your home.

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