As developers avidly converted old, smaller dwellings into larger homes on the same plots in a Bethesda, Md., suburb showcasing multimillion-dollar lakeside
As developers avidly converted old, smaller dwellings into larger homes on the same plots in a Bethesda, Md., suburb showcasing multimillion-dollar lakeside manses, local officials placed a moratorium on construction of larger houses. Thus, height restrictions were tightened from 35 ft. to 30 ft., and new building regulations made ceiling heights higher than eight feet in new construction nearly impossible to achieve using typical 16-in.-deep wood beams for flooring.
Even within considerable constraints, developer Lewie Bloom was able to complete a dream home featuring 9-ft. ceilings and a cantilevered pool overlooking the Potomac River. When architect Robert M. Gurney included high ceilings in his design of the Bloom residence to communicate a contemporary, open, airy space, the developer’s search for a solution to achieve these aims Û despite local building restrictions Û led him to Chambersburg, Pa.-based Nitterhouse Concrete Products, Inc.
At the Nitterhouse web site, Bloom was introduced to the benefits, spans, and loading capacities of the producer’s new ConCoreFloor structural flooring system. Subsequently, a meeting was arranged with Nitterhouse Concrete Vice President of Engineering John M. Jones, who custom engineered the project’s hollow core precast subflooring, including an area with solid plank designed to support a 500,000-lb. cantilevered swimming pool. A comparison of total costs (including labor, material, and equipment) among flooring systems for the $3 million to $5 million residence showed the ConCoreFloor System to be the least expensive.
Using Nitterhouse’s hollowcore flooring, the builder was able to achieve 28- to 30-ft. clear spans and add as much as eight inches to ceiling heights throughout the house without columns or steel beams. Project owner/contractor Bloom affirms, Other developers in this area are coming by the site, asking how I was able to get the high ceilings. The project is getting lots of praise from builders.
In addition to column-free space and higher ceilings, Bloom wanted marble and terrazzo floors Û an impossibility with wood subflooring due to the inevitable cracking. Use of the ConCoreFloor System with 2-in. concrete topping assured the integrity of marble and terrazzo floors, as it allowed installation of radiant heating in the cast-in-place layer.
When people are spending over $1 million on a new home, they don’t want 8-ft. ceilings, Bloom observes, and from what I was fortunate to discover, the only way to get more ceiling height [8 ft. 6 in. to 9 ft. high] with clear spans and terrazzo and marble floors is by using the Nitterhouse hollowcore concrete flooring system. Û www.nitterhouse.com, 717/267-4505
Owner and Contractor Û Lewie Bloom, Bloom Management Corp., Chevy Chase, Md.
Architect Û Robert M. Gurney, FAIA, Alexandria, Va.
Precaster Û Nitterhouse Concrete Products, Inc. Chambersburg, Pa.