Business Intelligence – March 2022
The pandemic prompted many people to do home improvements.
What is a cool construction project that you’ve done for yourself in the last two years?
Vice President, Estimating
Gray and Son
During the summer of 2020 after COVID hit, my son Franz and his family were not able to travel as much as they had planned. Needing an escape from Philadelphia city life, they spent more time than usual visiting my wife and I in the country. Earlier in the Spring, my brother in California sent us a video showing off a new structure he had built over his pool, complete with monkey bars, rope swings, etc. When Franz saw it, he came up with the idea to build a rock climbing wall over a corner of our pool, and with the extra weekends at our house we would have time to build it together.
As an architect and former part-time manager of a rock climbing gym, Franz was able to create a 3D computer model, render some images, and create framing drawings to help with the construction. Over July 4th weekend we drove to every building supply store in the area to find the lumber we needed (pressure-treated 2x6s and marine-grade ¾” plywood), then we started building. We were able to get most of the framing done that weekend, but it turned into a summer-long project. My wife and I spent many weekends drilling over 300 holes in the plywood, hammering in T-nuts to attach the climbing holds, and staining the entire structure in gray.
By Labor Day weekend, it was complete, but we built it in the driveway and had to move it to the pool. The problem was it weighed over 1,200 pounds! Luckily, my son designed it to be disassembled into five sections so we could transport it when necessary. The grandkids were climbing and falling into the water before the end of that weekend. They love it and we’re so happy we were able to complete such a cool project together!
COVID isolation in a tight Baltimore City home confirmed the value of realizing our lifelong dream of owning a farm, so my family and I took a leap and purchased a 1960s farmhouse surrounded by horse pastures. With the goal of renovating it (mostly) on our own, we have found the shift to country life and the adjustment of living through a renovation challenging but very therapeutic. The house, built for the one and only family that has lived in it previously, has revealed quirky and fun surprises throughout the way: bees in the walls, a built-in ironing board in the kitchen, a traditional built-in writing desk, and what must have been a state-of-the-art intercom system hardwired throughout the house.
Our biggest goal of the project is to accommodate the next phase of our lives as new empty nesters and bring our new home with us into the modern age. The most transformational project was raising the ceiling by removing the ceiling joists in the main living space. This required threading in a 32-foot long by 24-inch deep glulam beam through the attic vent under the rafters to support the roof. We called on all of our friends for help just like an old-fashioned barn raising and it went in very smoothly.
We’re looking forward to the day that we can have many friends and family join us in this newly open and high-ceilinged living room, to relax and appreciate the result of all this hard work. With many projects still to come, this labor of love will continue as we work together to make this our forever home.
Jr. Vice President, Panel Division
Alliance Exterior Construction
My pandemic project was creating storage space. Living in a single-level rancher means we don’t have much of it.
Luckily my dad spent 20 years as a residential home builder and has the expertise to overcome that problem. We bought all the lumber, nails, screws and joists required to add a lofted space to my garage. He came over at 8 am on a Saturday and we were done by 4 pm the same day.
Now the space is more functional and my dad and I enjoyed doing it together along the way.