(Readers: Please note this blog is constructed as a story. While not all chapters are linked, I think the story will be more meaningful by starting at the beginning.)

Scene: Jordan’s Office: Follow-up to previous day’s meeting – Entry #9

Jordan: “Guru, how’s the brain working today?”

Guru: “Cranking away. I’d given your questions some thought before but no one really forced me to convert the concept into a workable model.”

Jordan: “Let’s see what you have. Coffee – regular?”

Guru: “Yes, thanks. I’ll start with how to remove or replace a wall. But let me ask you a question. Why do want to move a wall? Virtually none of my clients ever ask me that. Plus there are pocket doors that can close off or open rooms.”

Jordan: “You said the target was a 100-year house. That house will have what 5-6 owners over the 100 years?”

Guru: “At least that many.”

Jordan: “OK. Any how many owners do you think will want the same configuration for room size and room function?

Guru: “Most new owners would like to change something in the layout.”

Jordan: “Exactly. Most people probably do not ask about moving walls because it is so difficult and costly. What if people knew they could move walls more easily? I’m not talking about walls on some track but real, honest-to-goodness walls.”

Guru: “I see your point. And yes, they probably would want to move walls. OK, here’s how to make that happen. Picture a house frame with no walls. Usually the wallboard is attached every 18″ or so. The size of the wallboard panel would be the same but the panel would be attached at the end, or every six feet. Seams between panels would have a decorative strip. Couple of other attachments at on the back of the panel to keep it flat but these snap into place.”

Jordan: “If I understand correctly, I remove the decorative strip, which fits into the seam between the panels and then unscrew maybe 10 screws. And voila, I can replace the panel.”

Guru: “Close enough for now. But it is much easier than the current system.”

Jordan: “What about moving walls?”

Guru: “Remove the panel, and then remove the studs. The studs between the exterior walls and the center beam are non-load bearing. The studs hold the wallboard.”

Jordan: “So you take down the wallboard and studs and can expand the size of the room. How do I fill in the gaps in the ceiling and maybe the floor where the wall was?”

Guru: “The floor will not be an issue since the non-load bearing walls will sit on the floor. Here’s one of many benefits of using standardized components. There will be inserts for the ceiling and the floor if necessary.”

Jordan: “What about matching the paint color, flooring color?”

Guru: “The inserts are decorative. If you want an exact match, you can paint or stain. Lots of options.”

Jordan: “Sounds reasonable. What about the idea of tightening up the house. Over time houses start to creak and moan – you know age…like us.”

Guru: “Feel a little old myself. The solution is relatively simple but requires people to change their thinking a bit.”

Jordan: “I apologize Guru. I just got a text and I need to go. Are you around for the next few days? I want to discuss keeping the house tight and designing to avoid earthquakes and floods. I’ll know more about my availability later today. And then the big question – how do we make this all happen?”

Guru: “Good question. I’ll be around. Just let me know.”

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