It was a good day at 17 Dewey Street as the concrete entry stair and driveway were poured and the remainder of the gutter work was installed. I specified a concrete stair in the front for a couple of reasons, but the two are related.
First, in better Charleston architecture, it is traditional to have a masonry entry stair. The stair meets the ground and is therefore subject to constant exposure to weather and moisture. It simply makes sense, like many of the traditions of construction in the historic districts of Charleston.
Secondly, an overriding goal in designing the houses at 17 and 19 Dewey Street is to build smartly, investing up front on durable and efficient components that would hold up well over many years. Why have to replace the stair decking in 15 years if you can build it correctly the first time? We're just doing the kinds of things that Charleston's architects and builders have been doing for generations.
It was interesting to match the concrete finishers work today. They had the forms for the stair and driveway built in advance so that they could be inspected by city building officials. After we passed the inspections, the truck was scheduled for delivery. They arrive late morning and had placed most of the concrete when Michelle and I ran by at noon on our way to Sullivan's Island.
By 4 pm, when I returned to the site, the forms had been completely removed and the chief finisher was carefully applying a broom finish to the surfaces. I'm not used to seeing elevated concrete finished this way. I am definitely impressed by the quality of the finish that resulted.
Up on the porch, the painters were working on a few things. They painted the first coat of Piazza Blue on the beadboard ceiling and were putting another coat on the columns. We went inside to check out a few things as well.
Jarrod Simpson, the lead interior trim carpenter, returned to 17 Dewey yesterday to install the interior door hardware. Jarrod and his crew did such a nice job with the trim. My stepfather, a former custom home builder, came through after Christmas and commented on how nice of a job it appeared that they did, and he's a pretty tough critic. It was definitely good to hear that. Jarrod is another of the quality subcontractors put together by Curt Rogers, the general contractor with his company, The Fielding Group.
I'm really pleased with the way that the materials came together in the principal bathrooms. The combinations of creamy honed Novalato Limestone and walnut travertine floors in the master bath coordinate well with the vein-cut silver travertine countertop.
The travertine has a wonderful horizontal striation that captures the layering of this sedimentary stone. Vein cut slabs are cross cut vertically (relative to the earth) rather than the more typical horizontal milling commonly associated with travertine. This is my first time using it but I plan to use it again when trying to achieve a spa-like feel for an interior space.
The dark chocolate stain of the cabinetry provides a rich counterpoint to the mellow tones of the stone material. We used the same countertop material and dark stained cabinetry along Tuscany Cream marble floors and bisque subway tile in the other second floor bath.
The kitchen cabinetry has been installed now as well. We selected shaker style cabinetry with door and drawer front constructed from solid maple. Robert Paige from K&K Cabinets supplied the cabinetry, which was sourced from Kith Kitchens. I spent some time today setting up the order the for the cabinetry hardware, which Robert will be ordering for me through Berenson Decorative Hardware.
I looked around a great deal to find the right stone for the kitchen. I really felt that a durable stone light in color would be the best choice for the transitional decor and functionality that would be desired. While I really prefer marble for clients that will be sure to maintain their kitchen surfaces, granites are much harder, less porous, and more practical. They also tend to cost less than some of the excellent manufactured quartzite products that are on the market now. In the end, Dylan Jackson or World Granite and I met over at AGM Imports to look for the right stone that would fit within our tight allowance. We decided that Kashmere White, a very light stone with mahogany eyes that would pick up on the cabinetry, would be the best option. To mellow the appearance, making it softer and more marble-like, Dylan suggested that we hone the tops. We did, and it looks great.
Robert Paige and his crew at K&K Custom Cabinets have come through with excellent quality and service. Robert knows his trade, is ready with good and pertinent advice, and comes through with the quality and schedule that he pledges to provide. I can recommend him highly.
In the Powder Room beneath the stair, we wanted to add a little bit of paneling on the wall for textural and visual interest. We elected to use 6" shiplap boards, which were provided in primed poplar by JP Byrne and his company, Four Corners Woodworking. They were installed with "quarter gaps"; literally using a quarter to space the boards on the wall to achieve a consistent reveal between adjacent components. The result is a classic and transitional appearance that I really favor in situations like this. Along with the nice appearance, the wainscoting also provides the functional durable surface against which to set the pedestal sink. It should come together well.
The heart pine floor finishing is scheduled to begin tomorrow, which will keep everyone out of the house for the better part of a week. It is one of the last major steps in the completion of the house. We're excited to see how the floors turn out.
MLS Listing for 17 Dewey Street
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