It’s Armageddon out there! Driving around the Philadelphia suburbs today in the midst of the ice storm, I was reminded of a little more than a year ago when Hurricane Sandy blew through the region. Although today’s damage seems to be more widespread than Hurricane Sandy’s, the latter’s force was devastating enough to fell a gargantuan tree through the roof of a colonial house in Wayne.
In just a few months time, we had the homeowners safely back in their house - which, I may say, enjoyed some improvements over its pre-Sandy incarnation.
In addition to the fundamentals – new insulation, drywall, chimney, HVAC system, French drain system, electric, windows and siding – we added some flourishes.
The original, rain-damaged flooring was replaced with red oak throughout, which we stained and finished in place. We installed a vaulted ceiling in the master bedroom with small recessed light fixtures around the perimeter. We replaced the dated stair rail with an oak newel post and custom railing, and we fully renovated a badly damaged bathroom.
We removed a large section of bearing wall between the living and dining rooms; we then built a coffered ceiling to help camouflage the steel support beam. This main living space now gets natural daylight from three sides, and it’s large enough to be creatively arranged into separate areas.
Finally, the back deck also took a major hit from the tree. While some of the framing was salvageable, we painstakingly reinforced certain sections and replaced damaged joists. We installed composite decking and railings from TimberTech, as well as LED lights (on a daylight sensor) in the post caps. Finally came the doggie gate for their new puppy (adopted just before their Sandy-enforced relocation), and we were move-in ready.
Back to the icy present. There certainly are a lot of downed trees out there and, having seen the potential damage firsthand, I hope everyone is very careful, takes his or her time getting around and respects the power of Mother Nature - she can sure throw her muscle around.