peter w. carpi | harbor towers | renovation


~Weekly Progress Videos and Layouts~

Sara and I bought a home along the Boston harbor in early 2010.
This site includes weekly video updates of our renovation plans.
Most videos, other than the first few, are narrated. Click the
other link above to see the work schedule and materials.

2013 edit; image hosting site let me down and closed shop
without notifying users or allowing us to download and preserve our images.
Therefore, I've at least temporarily got some photos that no longer link here,
sorry about that. It's only a few of them in the beginning.

This first image is the previous layout of the unit, with
the large open living/dining area along the northern wall,
with four window banks looking out over the North End of Boston.
To the east (top of the image) is a balcony and master and guest
bedrooms overlooking the Boston harbor and Logan airport.

Old layout of 37A/B

Althought Sara and I liked the long bank of windows (9ft each) along
the northern wall of the living room, we didn't like the tiny kitchen
at the bottom of the page, and the bedrooms next to each other.
We wanted the kitchen to be a social hub for the layout and for
our guests to have the privacy of a seperated bedroom to retreat to.
I also wanted to take advantage of the 180 degree views the unit offers
from a central location.

The video below is of a walkthrough of the unit before we purchased it.

0:46 - 1:04 . . . Half bath
1:05 - 1:20 . . . Kitchen
1:20 - 1:40 . . . Northern wall of old living room
2:08 - 2:24 . . . Baclony facing Logan and Boston Harbor
2:36 - 2:52 . . . Entryway, foyer & bar area
2:56 - 3:12 . . . Main hallway to bedrooms
3:18 - 3:42 . . . Second bath
3:46 - 4:13 . . . Second bedroom, facing east
4:16 - 5:13 . . . Master bedroom, facing east, and master bath

   This following layout is the new design, with a central open kitchen
also serving as a foyer. The new master bedroom is split off to the
bottom, and the old master bedroom remains on the top right as the new
guest bedroom. The living room is still open to the dining room but
together they have been shortened to provide space for another room,
just above the master bedroom. This, as well as the room just to the
right of the balcony, serves as extra bedrooms that we plan to use as
a studio for photography and artwork and a library/study/home office.
These two spare rooms each have pocket doors leading to the kitchen
and French doors leading to the living area.

New plans for Harbor Towers unit 37A/B

WEEK ONE - 2/12


0:00 - 0:24 . . . Former entryway, foyer and bar
0:28 - 1:00 . . . West end of former living room
1:01 - 2:10 . . . Former kitchen and half bath
2:22 - 3:30 . . . Former living room
3:36 - 3:53 . . . Former hallway
3:54 - 4:16 . . . Former guest bedroom
4:19 - 5:20 . . . Former master bedroom and bath


WEEK TWO - 2/19

February 19th video, which is after two weeks of renovation.
We now have virtually everything ripped out down to the concrete.
Next week we start framing and putting in the under-floors.

A few shots from the end of week two, 2/19:

Interior renovation after demolition

Another of the renovation after demolition


Photo of renovations after week three

Over the weekend Tony, our general contractor shown in the photo above in blue,
Sara, and I went over the final designs for the kitchen. We made
a few changes to what we originally expected but were fortunate to
stay on budget. Val, of V&V Floors was the handyman for all the work.

The following are some mock-ups of what the kitchen
should look like, with the exception that the fridge placement is a
bit off - it will be closer to the front door (move down the image a
little ways) with further clearance from the island counter.

This image is a top-down 3-d view of the layout. The colors aren't
accurate, however; we are using a peppercorn dark wood for the cabinets
and an off-white carrera marble for the counter tops, which is fairly
represented for the island but not the peninsula and bar area.
Overhead 3-D view of kitchen layout

3d image of kitchen looking northeast

This is a 3-d image of the bar area, with a cross section of the end of the peninsula on the right.
3-d image of the bar area



During Harbor Towers renovation week four we started framing and reviewed the lighting plan.
The video above shows the first week of framing.

WEEK FIVE - 3/13

The video above shows the latest framing and some thoughts on the master bed and bathrooms.

Quad French pocket doors. These divide the studio from the living room.
If you look closely you can see a Schematic of the design on the floor.
quad French pocket doors

In the studio, facing east.
There are only two window panes in the studio, but a mirror in the window
sill looks like a third window on the left - it isn't.
in the studio, facing east

In the studio, facing northeast.
in the studio, facing northeast

In the studio, facing north.
in the studio, facing north

In the studio, facing northwest.
in the studio, facing northwest

In the living room, facing north.
in the living room, facing north

In the living room, facing west northwest.
in the living room, facing west northwest

Master bedroom and bathroom layout.
master bedroom and bathroom layout

This is Sara's design for her space in the bathroom, across from the sinks.
design for space across from sinks

WEEK SIX - 3/19

This week we did a second video on the sightlines in the unit:


Sara is back on video duty this week, with a special talking head appearance by yours truly.
This week we see the steam shower unit and basin, as well as the tub in the third bath.
Sara also discusses some of the lighting hookups and checks out the wall at the head of the bed.

The following are some designs of woodwork that Sprague Woodworking is
putting together for us. The first is the pocket bookcase that we use to enter
our master bedroom:

Book case door

The second image here is the wall and bookcases at the head of our bed:

Book cases at the head of our bed

Next week our blueboard arrives, and there is a lot of it - 6,000 lbs.


Happy Easter and Passover to everyone. This week we see the first drywall
going up. We should finish the drywall and plastering by next week or
early the following week. Then we have molding, doors and tile arriving
on Tuesday 4/13 and cabinets and appliances arriving that Friday the 16th.

Flooring, depending on what we go with, will arrive one of those two days.
We are currently thinking of solid maple or bamboo flooring.

Our closets will come from EasyClosets, which is like California Closets.
They can turn around an order in two days with their advanced production
process, so those we'll probably configure online in the next week.
I highly recommend you check out their website because it is super easy
to design closets with their online tool - and fun!


This week we finished most the of the drywall, plasering, and cement board,
which is used in replace of drywall or blueboard underneath tiling.

Next week we will finish plastering on Monday, accept delivery of the
tile, doors, and molding on Tuesday, and accept the cabinets and appliances
on Friday. Hopefully we will be able to install the doors and molding next
week too. Tiling will start the following Monday.

WEEK TEN - 4/18

This past week we took delivery of the doors, molding, kitchen cabinets,
appliances, and tile. We also received our sliding bookcase door and
bedside shelves. This coming week we will install the kitchen cabinets and
appliances, the doors, and start tiling so we should have a great video for
you next week.


Lot's to show this week! The kitchen cabinets are in, as is the vanity in the
master bath. We also got a lot of tiling done and the steam shower in
particular looks great. We also started installing the flooring and got
most of the crown molding up.

This is what the backsplash and marble should look like together in the kitchen.
Sorry for the lousy blackberry photo, but it gives you an idea.


I was in the unit Tuesday, the 27th, and took a mid-week update video as so
much is happening these days:


It's only three days later but the hardwood floors are done and the bookcase door is in


This week the painting starts and on Wednesday we will have the counter tops
fitted. We will start finished plumbing and electrical next week in the
southern half of the unit where painting will start this week.


I couldn't sound more like a tool... at least we have counters now.


The counters are in, painting is half done, closets are going in,
and the final plumbing work is almost complete.
Next week the plumbing will be inspected, the final electrical will be
completed, the speakers will be installed in the walls and ceilings,
the backsplash, hood and dishwasher will be installed in the kitchen
and the lighting will be completed. We are still working on the quad
french doors from the living room into the studio, hopefully to be done
next week as well. Move in is scheduled for June 8th.


Today was the first day that coming to the unit felt like walking into
a home. Maybe it is because the floor coverings have been mostly removed
or maybe it is because of the paint or the working lights or the kitchen
counters being in, I don't know, but Sara and I both felt that way.
It is also getting similarly hard to leave the unit after our visits because
it feels like we are leaving home to stay in some temporary apartment.

I know all the videos are difficult to follow because of the camera shake
and spins that I so frequently perform, but this one left me seasick, so
my apologies in advance.

As I mention in the video, the major things left to do are the tiling in the
living room - both the eastern and southern walls - and the backsplash.
The quad doors from the living room into the studio also need to be completed
and the molding and painting around those doors need to be finished.
The shower doors haven't been installed yet and there is still a fair bit
of tiling to be done in the guest/second bath. Finally, we haven't installed
all of the hardware yet - drawer pulls, door knobs, tp and towel holders, etc.

I'd like to get into the unit over the long Memorial weekend and get some
video of the unit at night, but we need to fix the rope lighting first.
If we do get another video this weekend I'll try to do it with the dslr
instead of our handy flip, so that you won't get quite as motion sick watching.


Harbor Towers kitchen after remodel, with carerra marble

We came back to the unit Sunday evening to drop some things off and were
able to take some more video with my dslr, which has a wider angle lens
allowing for a more natural view and less camera shake. The video was 12
minutes long so we had to break it up into three segments:

Part two:

Part three, which is accidentally ended abruptly:

Some more photos from the weekend:

Studio in Harbor Towers

Studio and living room in Harbor Towers


Sara and I moved in on June 8th and have now been living in the unit for
a little over a month. We've removed most of the boxes but are still moving
furniture and hanging pictures and working out the punch list with our
contractor. We probably won't feel done for at least a few more months but
I realize we need to get some video or photos of the finished and lived in
unit up soon, so stay tuned and I'll try to get some daylight and evening
media up for you shortly. Thanks for visiting!


Holy cow, someone give me a prozac and I'll chase it with some Redbull, I
sound like I'm on sedatives! Despite the lethargy, Sara and I are thrilled
with the place and have been enjoying our first few weeks at home.

As promised, below is a video from July 20th that shows how it currently looks.

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July 22nd, 2010
2010 Peter W. Carpi 
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