Building the Today Media Building Blog Phase 5

As the hard work continues, the transformation of our new building from former fitness center to world-class publishing headquarters is within sight. Under the coordination of Murphy Brothers Contracting, work over the last few weeks included:

Connecticut Thermofoam completed taping (the joint compound that ensures seamless-looking walls and a necessary step before painting can begin) and prepping the lower level for painting; the team also began installing the sheetrock in the basement
Carpet Trends completed installing carpeting on the first and second floors
• completing the painting of the second floor
• installing all plumbing fixtures in the first and second floor restrooms
• Connecticut Thermofoam completed installing the drop ceiling grid work and acoustical ceiling tiles on the first floor
• electricians finished installing the lighting and fixtures on the second floor
California Closets began installing the repurposed office furniture that was moved to Rye from the Elmsford office
Polytemp finished installing the grill work and registers for the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system on the second floor
• began installing the metal framework for individual office glass doors and transoms
Greener by Design began the landscape clean-up

Next on our agenda
Next, Carpet Trends will continue installing the carpeting on the lower level, California Closets will continue installing the office furniture on the second floor and work their way down to the first floor and lower level, and Polytemp will finish installing the grill work and registers on the first floor before moving on to the lower level. Connecticut Thermofoam will complete the taping in the basement in preparation for painting, while the painting continues on the first floor. Also, work will begin to upgrade the building to 800-amp electrical service.

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Focus on… climate control
Q & A with Thomas Riedel, owner, Polytemp Inc.

Q. What were Polytemps’s responsibilities in retrofitting our new building?
Polytemp was responsible for the heating and air conditioning system throughout the building. Since the specifications called for the building’s existing heating and air conditioning equipment to be reused, only the existing air distribution system was removed. Polytemp fabricated and installed a new air distribution system as specified.

Q. What did that involve?
All of the ductwork has been completed and tested. We also installed a new climate control system that gives individual thermostat control within each office and common area. That involved installing fifteen thermostats on the first floor, thirteen on the second floor, and ten on the lower level. In the basement we installed a new Mitsubishi ‘Ductless’ system to serve the computer room and a Carrier furnace and air conditioning system for the balance of the basement.

Q. What are the advantages of the new control system?
This type of control system is very efficient and, in the long run, will result in both energy and cost savings. It allows greater control throughout the building to minimize the waste of energy and its related costs. In addition, it can be upgraded easily to allow control of the thermostats from a computer in the building or remotely over the Internet.

Q. How has the project been progressing so far?
We’ve been involved in the retrofitting work since the beginning of September. The work has been going very smoothly and we’ve enjoyed being part of it.

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Focus on… kitchen design and cabinetry
Q & A with Darrin Monaco, kitchen design consultant, Jilco Windows

Q. What role did Jilco have in developing the new office space?
Our job was to create an upscale gourmet chef’s kitchen in the basement of the new building.

Q. Can you describe your design process?
We began with raw space. First we completed our kitchen design using a CAD program, then distributed the plans for client review and approval. Our plans call for contemporary Omega cabinetry with stainless steel hardware coordinated with stainless steel appliances and contemporary furniture. In line with the latest kitchen style trends, we’re keeping it simple, not ornate. We chose a cherry door with a rich “Smokey Hills” finish and applied it to a simple recessed panel door. The kitchen installation is scheduled for late December.

Q. What challenges have you faced?
One of our biggest challenges was determining the best way to vent the air from the kitchen’s peninsula hood in light of the kitchen’s location in a basement with overhead steel beams. We solved the issue by installing a custom sized duct at a specific location that would allow us to direct the hot air up and through an opening in the steel beams to the outside. Since the steel beams in this area will remain exposed for a more contemporary feel, it will be painted white to keep it monotone for a clean design.

Q. Are there special considerations involved when designing a kitchen for commercial use as compared to a private home?
Yes. Since this kitchen often will be used for chef demonstrations in front of an audience, it was essential to have a six-burner range for cooking multiple dishes simultaneously. There also will be times when the chef demonstrations are photographed, which meant using honed finished countertops and toned-down cabinet finishes to avoid possible hot spots in the photos or videos. In addition, it was important to make sure the design complied with local ADA requirements. 

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Q. Did you incorporate any green elements in the design?
We wanted to make sure the elements of the design were as environmentally friendly as possible, including ensuring that any hardwood used was certified under the Forest Stewardship Council. We also used wood products with low formaldehyde and low VOC emission levels, to maintain higher indoor air quality.

Focus on… kitchen appliances
Q & A with Ron Serafin, owner,
Leiberts Royal Green Appliance Center

Q. Given your extensive experience with commercial and home appliances, how did you approach the selection of appliances for our gourmet chef’s kitchen?
Since Today Media is a first-class magazine company, we felt it was important that the appliances featured represent an equally high level of quality, performance, durability, and value.

Q. Specifically, which appliances did you recommend?
Knowing that the kitchen would be used by world-class chefs for cooking demonstrations, we felt it was important to provide the best, most reliable equipment to use. We recommended a Sub-Zero stainless steel refrigerator, a Wolf 36-inch electric cooktop, a Wolf convection and self-cleaning double oven, and a XO island hood to enhance appearance and remove cooking odors. We also recommended a Blomberg dishwasher and Franke sink.

Q. What challenges did you encounter and how did you resolve them?
Our biggest challenge was working out the best approach to ventilation, so it would be concealed yet functional. Our work required a close coordination with Jilco Windows, who designed the kitchen. We needed to make sure that both the type and placement of the appliances supported chef demonstrations and the ability to prepare more than one dish in the same area. It was also important to create a smooth flow so that the functions of cooking, baking, and food preparation could be managed easily. And, if it turns out that adjustments are needed at any point, we’re always on call going forward.

Q. Will there be appliances in other areas of the building and are there other factors you had to keep in mind while working with a commercial office space?
Yes, there will be appliances available in the employee kitchenette areas, including a Sub-Zero French Door refrigerator, Electrolux refrigerator, and GE microwaves. Beyond style and function, when working with commercial office space, you’re also bound by specific building codes that guide what you can and cannot do.

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