OUR BLOG

Purcells Cove Rd | roof tight

Not all construction schedules align with ideal building conditions.  Clever products allow us to soldier on through even the harshest of East Coast winters. The application of  V-force Vapor Barrier Membrane is a fast easy and ‘temporary’step to becoming roof tight. This self adhering puncture resistant membrane is an excellent solution for quickly weather proofing a new construction and thereby allowing work to continue inside. Prior to this application the team ensure the roof is clear of ice and use blow torches to dry any excess moisture. A priming product is rolled on to the dry plywood prior to rolling out the self adhering V- Force. The boys still manage a big smile through their chattering teeth;)  ...

Gottingen St | handy hints!

Ever wondered how to store your caulking and paint while working outside in winter? Thanks Steevo for sharing your handy hint, tried and true from the 80’s. Drag out your cooler, and hook up a 60 watt globe to a thermostat! Voila. Ready to use on even the coldest winter day! Some gorgeous reveal pictures of the interior at Gottingen. Fantastic kitchen fit out. Vintage classic meets modern contemporary. Colour, pattern and texture design elements all meet to provide our owners with a warm inviting and relaxed ‘hub’ in their beautiful Victorian home. The team have also commenced work outdoors, making use of the warm cooler! Integral design elements of the era such as the decorative corbels have been custom made and are being fitted. Attention to detail is key. ...

Roofing | Ice Dams

With this seemingly never ending snowfall, and temperatures consistently sub zero, the term ‘Ice Dam‘ is commonly heard. What is an ‘Ice Dam’? An Ice Dam occurs when snow is melted by a warm roof, creating water running between the snow and the warm roof surface, then freezing and turning to ice when it gets past the exterior wall and hits a cold unheated roof edge or gutter. As the bottom of the snow pack continues to melt, water continues to flow down the roof surface until it hits the ice, thereby creating a larger and larger ice dam. The problem – Ice dams may result in leaks through the roofing material, possibly resulting in damaged ceilings, walls, roof structure and insulation, damage or injury when the ice dam falls off or from attempts to remove ice dams. Prevention – In new construction, ice dams are easily prevented through building designs with adequate insulation and roof ventilation. As with window installation, MRB  follow strict procedure and use specialty product when it comes to putting on a roof. We’ll see this in more detail as Corey commences the roofing process at Purcells Cove Rd. Cure – as with any ailment, prevention is the best cure. However, if...

Marlborough Ave | progress

This first ‘Heritage Day’ long weekend, in honour of Viola Desmond, is one that we won’t forget. Not sure how many of us are feeling well rested and rejuvenated after all that shovelling?! #snow Work is progressing with Smitty and the team at Marlborough Avenue.  A renovation like this requires precise coordination and organisation of many sub trades that are involved. Plumbers are removing old cast iron waste lines to be replaced with PVC, as well as roughing in new. Electricians are in and out.  With no drywall it is the opportune time for new electrical to be replaced and new updated wires installed. The modern heating system and HRV (heat recovery ventilator) ducts are being run, and we welcomed the delivery of the windows which we will begin installing next week.      ...

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Inhouse Design | Wish List

With the click of a button we add an item to a WISH LIST. And with another click, we make a purchase. Online stores make it oh so easy to make spontaneous purchases, turning our WISH LIST into reality. When it comes to building your home, your wish list is paramount. It is not fast fashion. These purchases and decisions need to fit you and your lifestyle for years to come. Not to mention these purchases will usually come with a significant investment! Our inhouse design team have put together a guide to help you make the ideal WISH LIST. 1.Challenges We enjoy challenges and are good problem solvers, but… we like to know from the onset what they are so we can plan and design your build appropriately. 2. Budget An idea of your budget will help us design an appropriate size build. We can point out what is possible within your budget and make suggestions for different solutions. 3. Size- how much space do you need A two bedroom home, with 2 ½ baths and open plan kitchen living dining, with about 1,200sqft? 4. Function For example if you want an open concept plan kitchen dining, or want to move all bedrooms upstairs, or add a mud room...

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Purcells Cove Rd | Windows to the sky

Corey and the team on our 'Stereovision' build are on task following MRB procedures installing windows. As with any window installation, the prevention of wind and water penetration is of utmost importance. Keeping in mind this builds amazing location and it's exposure to the elements the team adhere meticulously to our step by step procedure to ensure success. The windows in this design command our craftsmanship as they highlight and frame the amazing vistas of Purcells Cove and the stunning ocean beyond. "A beacon high atop a hillside".   ...

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Gottingen St | interior trim

Steevo and the team at Gottingen have been thankful for work indoors. This past week has been a big push on getting the interior trims completed. We called on our friends at East Coast Specialty Hardwoods to custom match the trims to the homes original. We sent them samples of what we needed and they shaped them out of poplar wood, which paints very well. Window casings were reproduced with two pieces. One wide trim and the second a backband. Each door has plinth blocks to set the casings on, and the baseboard is a three piece assembley with base, cap , and shoe. We also got the behemoth stone bathtub in place. The corbels that frame the arch in this were hand made by Forbes Restoration. They were made to replicate the two old plaster ones that unfortunately we were unable to save. ...

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Green Roof | did you know?

We briefly looked at installation of a Green Roof in August 2014 at our Clifton St home. As preparations for the installation of a green roof begin at our Purcells Cove build here's some interesting facts you perhaps didn't already know. A green roof or living roof is a roof of a building that is partially or completely covered with vegetation and a growing medium, planted over a waterproofing membrane. - Green Roofs are not new! Green Roofs have been around in Scandinavia for centuries, and a superb reconstruction of Norse living can be seen at L'Anse aux Meadows in Newfoundland. - Environmentally smart; reduce heating and cooling costs, reduce storm water runoff, filter pollutants and carbon dioxide out of the air, the list goes on. - The green roof acts as a shield to protect the roof membrane from the elements and therefore extends the roof lifespan by at least 200% - Green roofs can provide living space for not only plants but also local animals too! Pretty Bird. Pictures of what will be green roof at Purcells Cove ...

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Purcells Cove Rd | Wrapping it up

Wrap, Strap, and Insulate! With Jack Frost nipping at their noses, Corey and the team are working hard as nails, bound and determined to seal up the house. Protecting themselves from the elements sure helps to keep the build progress rapidly:) A protective membrane 'Firestone V-force' adheres to the roof to provide temporary weather protection, allowing work to continue below. Permanent stages of spray foam insulation have commenced under the buildings eaves. This expanding foam application will provide thermal insulation and minimise air infiltration. The team have also begun the important step to wrap the building in WrapShield as they install windows. We are well on the way to having things at Purcells Cove weathertight and secure! ...

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The Company We Keep

Pick up a copy, it's FREE! The winter 2015 issue of HALIFAX Local Connections is hot off the press and features our friend Omar Gandhi on the cover. It's awesome to once again see Omar and his work in the spotlight. The article, page 22, commends Omar on his vision and passion for design and dreams that are specific to our East Coast. Our current Purcells Cove Road project is an Omar vision. Local Connections follows up 'The Architects' story with a worthwhile read on urban planning and future development in Halifax. It's exciting and energising to be a part of an industry with such vision and vigor for development and growth. ...

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Marlborough Ave | new project

A new year and a new project for Smitty and his team. This south end Halifax property will be undergoing a complete makeover. Large steel beams have been installed in place of the load bearing walls that the team has removed. Spreading the weight of the 2nd storey through the steel beams will allow open concept living plans on the main floor. Also on the agenda is to complete an unfinished basement, a gorgeous modern kitchen, and three new custom bathrooms. With replacement of many existing windows, our homeowners will hardly recognize the original house.          ...

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Northend neighbourhood| Sneak peak

Did you read the exciting news from the Chronicle-Herald last week? Our North End neighbourhood will soon be boasting it's very own Crossfit gym! MRB teammate Phil is hard at work fitting out the super cool 6500 ft space near Robie and North Sts. Already sporting the trademark 'Crossfit garage doors' this former bus garage with 8m ceilings is getting an MRB makeover in preparedness for its grand reveal. Phil has constructed two 16 foot reinforced walls, and a third 12 foot high wall. Each clad with beautiful milled barn board. Both vertical and horizontal installation has been used adding instant character and interest to the space. We'll get some more pics up when the renovation is complete. In the meantime, stay up to date with the business launch at CrossFit Ironstone ...

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Gottingen St | progress

  According to the Huffington Post, this is the craziest rental home EVER! .  MRB foreman Corey (the guy on the left in the photo) worked on the Pole House renovation before he set sail from Australia bound for Nova Scotia:) Back to business to bring you up to date with Steevo at our Gottingen St Reno. The team went about hanging drywall prior to Christmas, thus allowing work to continue throughout the holidays. Bob the taper was kept busy taping! And this week painting has commenced. We were able to use some of the old heating duct work to supply fresh air to the old part of the house. This was less invasive than tearing walls apart and running new lines. Next we grind the floor transitions and the wood flooring begins Friday. Hoping to start the tile in the bathroom soon too. ...

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MRB 2015 | Full Steam Ahead

Happy 2015! After an amazingly warm and green Christmas Day we are all hands on deck in sub zero temperatures this first week of January. Corey and the team on Purcells Cove Road will be thankful they got a roof on pre Christmas, as it means they can board up the windows to make the work site just a little cozier! This build is really taking shape. With walls and the roof we can envisage this 'Stereovision' As the early days of January pass, I look forward to posting updates from our work carrying over from 2014, as well as our new MRB projects for 2015. Stay tuned:) [caption id="attachment_5878" align="aligncenter" width="310"] Omar Gandhi Architect[/caption]      ...

Merry MRB Christmas
Tis the Season

December is a busy month to get through. Holiday decorating, shopping, social gatherings, making sure the fridge is stocked for those surprise visits from friends and family. Making homemade Baileys and remembering to move that Elf…. Oh, the planning involved! It’s a lot to accomplish in what seems to be a two week month. Now, wrap up projects and make sure that everything is battened down for the holiday break. That’s what the team at MRB is rolling up their sleeves to do...

Stereovision
Purcells Cove Rd | 2nd floor framing

On our last visit with Corey at Purcells Cove we saw him finishing and straightening the framing on the first floor. The pictures do most the talking; After crafting the massive 60ft LVL's at ground level, in came the crane to lift these one tonne beasts onto the second floor. The team promptly laid the floor and late last week with a gathering of MRB teammates the 2nd floor grew walls! ...

Seashell in mortar
Gottingen St | Seashells in Mortar?

Most of our work at this gorgeous old home has been concentrated at the back. However, the foundation at the front of the home required some attention from MRB too. As Steevo and the team prepared the foundation and removed the old mortar, they found a lovely old seashell. Typical of building practises of yesteryear, sand used to mix mortar was collected straight from the beach! Traditional mortar was made from lime putty, or slaked lime, combined with local sand, generally in a ratio of 1 part lime putty to 3 parts sand by volume. Often other ingredients, such as crushed marine shells (another source of lime), brick dust, clay, natural cements, pigments, and even animal hair were also added to mortar, but the basic formulation for lime putty and sand mortar remained unchanged for centuries until the advent of portland cement or its forerunner, Roman cement, a natural, hydraulic cement. Photos show Steevo and the team forming up and repairing a section of the foundation, as well as replacing and centring the basement window. ...

Corrugated Steel Peak Audio
Peak Audio |cladding choices

What is your home clad with? When you look around, you'll notice many different cladding materials. Home owners traditionally made choices according to their budget, style and what was available. 'Shakes' wood shingle cladding is prevalent on buildings in North America constructed throughout the 19th century. Shingle cladding has stood the test of time and is still commonly used today. 'Vinyl' siding became popular in 1950's, largely due to its durability, versatility and ease of maintenance. Vinyl siding does not stand well with 'green and environmentally friendly' building practises. 'Cape Cod Siding' an MRB favorite. A product we often choose. Not only for its strength, durability and low maintenance qualities, but largely for its controlled production with craftsmanship of yesteryear, architectural profiles, and contemporary look. And then there's 'Corrugated Steel'. A lightweight, easily transportable building material composed of hot dipped galvanised steel. Commonly used in early construction in countries such as Australia where a corrugated steel roof is as common as 'Budgie smugglers on Bondi Beach!' An awesome example of this 'eco-responsible' green building material application is on Scotties job site at Peak Audio. ...

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Purcells Cove | Framing cont….

Perched high on the hilltop overlooking Purcells Cove and exposed to the adverse weather elements Mother Nature has thrown at us the past few weeks, Corey and the team continue to make great progress. First floor framing is now complete. Both exterior and interior walls on this floor have been straightened; -each corner is meticulously checked to ensure it is plumb -string lines between the corners are run down each wall Although time consuming, this step is vital to the success of the next floor. What might begin as a mere 1/2" discrepancy now, can wind up being a 3" problem further along. The second floor of this build will be constructed at ground level, and craned into place. The frame for this floor is 4 x LVL wide and 60 feet long and will weigh 2000 pounds per section. Building it on the ground is safe, and enables the team to more easily ensure it is straight. If you look closely at the first photo, you can see an orange string line marking the 8 degree angle that this floor will sit at. A similar idea to the new Halifax Library. The birds eye view over the treetops and down into Purcells Cove below is awesome! ...

I love North End
A roundabout Kudos

No doubt you've seen the round works at the North Park intersection? With high traffic incidences, collisions and ageing infrastructure, the upgrade and improvement of this intersection was well due. Projects of this scale require enormous design and planning to be a success. With so many considerations; -Design and drawing -Engineering -Timeline -Budget To name just a few. Communication and cooperation are also paramount. Congratulations to the civil contractor on this project. The major tasks were completed quickly and efficiently, the timeline was adhered to, and the disturbance to our North End neighbours has been kept to a minimum. It's exciting to watch our neighbourhood grow. The fabric of the neighbourhoods surrounding North Park Street and the Halifax Common is changing. You can see the planned projects moving this change on the HALIFAX website using the links. Peninsula Bikeway Network (north/south), Cogswell Interchange, Open Space Plan, Halifax North Common Plan, Corridor Plan, etc. ...