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The Strength of Steel

Every once in a while, we encounter a situation where structural wood products just can’t cut it. In these cases, we turn to steel.

That’s been the case with an impressive, whole home renovation we’re currently doing in Eagle Bay. Structurally, the home is rock solid, but the owners wanted to completely update it inside and out, adding many unique and custom high-end finishes in the process.

One outcome they wanted to achieve in particular was to add a feeling of more spaciousness and airiness to the kitchen, which is located directly under the upstairs loft. In photo 1 above, you can see the original structural support for the loft was a glulam beam — a stress-rated, engineered wood beam composed of wood laminations, or “lams”, that are bonded together with adhesives. It was strong enough, but because of its depth, it created a cave-like feel for anyone in the kitchen, blocking both light and the view.

The solution was a large steel flush beam, which you can see being installed in photo 2. In the photo, the temporary supports are still in place. We had to bring in two specialized interior lifts to get this heavy steel beam into position, along with a lot of manpower.

Finally, in photo 3, you can see how the steel beam looks with the temporary supports removed. The effect is dramatic, particularly when you’re in the kitchen, as the ceiling height is now consistent across the entire space, with no compromises in light and view. Not only does this make the kitchen area feel larger and more spacious, it also opens up the second story view towards the lake from the living room.

We’ll look forward to bringing you more updates and photos of this ambitious renovation in the weeks ahead.