Structural Engineering for Proposed Garage Modification

I need a structural engineer to detail and certify a modification of a garage with trusses. Here are the sketches. The idea is to put two flow-through dormer pairs in the second story of the garage, which has an existing apartment. The trusses need to be accounted for, but the sketch I saw on line seems to be a good method. I am still looking for an engineer to detail and certify the plan.  Also, I am considering the alternative of one pair of shed dormers, if feasible, and, in addition, a deck in front, and a telescope pier from the garage concrete level for stability.

Please see the other charts for general plan.  I added more detail on charts 4-6.  My idea is to retain the truss bracing outside the existing room on the second floor, but to replace the roof part of the truss.  Thus, new windows would be above the existing knee wall.  This will require bracing.  My main concerns are whether this is possible and whether there is any way to make other modifications to eliminate the portion of the truss external to the existing knee wall.  If this is possible, then there could even be a deck extended out from the existing room.  I also want to consider one shed dormer on each side instead of two.  I also want to consider a telescope pier that would extend from the concrete slab to the roof.

I am looking for engineering details and a plan.  What is required for the basic approach and what is required for the options?  To be specific, I am interested in the following.  If you are interested, can you give me some notes on jobs similar to ours or estimate time required for the following?
  1. Idea #1: Two sets of dormers with flat ceiling, each 10′ wide, existing knee wall extended upward.
  2. Idea #2: One set of 20′-24′-wide shed dormers, front and back
  3. Option #1: Extend floor beyond current knee walls, which I presume requires significant truss bracing
  4. Option #2: add front (lake-side) deck
  5. Option #3: add telescope pier for 11″ celestron, equatorial or alt-azimuth mount



Hurricane Irma Aftermath

On the day after hurricane Irma passed Melbourne, we visited Mom’s house and found it in uncompromised condition. The yard, however, was littered with debris and some branches, as the pictures indicate.
This morning’s updates on the hurricane from NHC are shown on this image. irma path.
By the end of the day, the wind had essentially abated. This was after a wild night with lots of rain (12″ total) and wind until morning.

Hike and Picnic in Carlisle

Shelly, Olive, and I had a picnic in the woods. Watch the picnic movie.

Igloo Today!

3-day weekend event capped with Monday’s Igloo build.

Friday night, 10 Feb 2017
Forecast deteriorates. Abort Sunday’s planned hike of Flume Slide and Liberty Spring trails. (Matt said it was a good decision as Lea and his drive to Vermont was slow.)

Saturday, 11 Feb 2017
new tires on Prius V, then played with Shelly and Olive.

Sunday, 12 Feb 2017
4-hour walk around Wayland, with intermittent snow. Then lots of snow late and over night.

Monday, 13 Feb 2017
5:30 am: It snowed heavily, probably 10″, on Saturday and Sunday. Monday dawned with a further dusting. Why not make an igloo using the grandshelters Ice Box kit?.

6:30 am: Except for the forecast wind, the conditions are right to use my igloo kit to make an igloo in the yard. We have enough snow, and it’s wet snow—good for the igloo. We’re sheltered enough to not have the wind be a problem, I think. I need help, at least a second person. If anybody is interested in braving the conditions to get to Wayland (Jon, Emily, Maren, and Luke excepted since the journey from 8 to 10 Trinity Place is short), I am going to try whenever I have a partner.

6:36, Melanie: Looks fun, Dad!! I wish we could help, but Eric and I are both headed in to work. 🙁

9:35, Emily: Dave’s suggestion : “You should start a publication with that name…Igloo Today.”

10:01: readership will vroom—once i post the pictures. i am ready to build. any takers? dad

1:05: We had the neighborhood kids for awhile but intrepid Jon was the only stalwart. Time for a break after 3 hours. We might finish…before dark. How to get from inside to outside is a problem. That’s why 2 are required, but the inside person still has to survive until the job is done. We’ll see what happens.

1:30: Solo work. tiers 4-6. Cut hole in base to crawl in and out. Kids visited one more time. Still no top. Routine is go outside and throw snow inside, then crawl in and use snow for more blocks. Repeat.

3:00: Jon returns—just what I need encouragement and help. I go inside with form; Jon shovels snow. A few difficulties with alignment and cracks, but progress continues through 6th tier. Then, as in instructions, remove the outer panel and end plate. Jon piles snow on top. I pack. It works! Final crest, 7th tier, I hold inner panel at top and Jon piles snow.

4:05: Igloo completed in elapsed time of 6 hours. Definitely a team effort. Neighborhood kids worked packing and shoveling for awhile. Jon had two important stints as Shoveler and Former. I managed to build alone after cutting a door in the base and throwing snow over the growing walls to load the form from the inside. A massive structure, 10′ in diameter. Finished product shown.

5:00: load the sleeping gear. Cocoon of Tyvec, and nested bags. Cardboard boxes to close off door.

7:15: Ready for bed in pajamas and down slippers. Add down quilt and pillow.

5:50am, next morning: 13 deg F outside this morning—and cozy inside. I did load up on the bedding since I wasn’t hiking very far to get to the igloo camp, but I slept from 7pm to 5:30am in extreme comfort, with only one call of nature in between. (The cardboard on the floor blocked the door at night.) 6 hours of work and, voila, you have a bedroom for 3. Any takers? Reservations required.


Some Fun Pics of Late 2016 and early 2017

I sent a few pics from the past six months to the Grammys. See them here.

Family Christmas 2016


We had festivities in Hopkinton and Wayland before Christmas and the week in Maine for Christmas through (almost) New Years. Unfortunately, Mom had a horrendous cold and was confined to bed many times, but the weather proved nicely varied with an extremely warm day that melted the surface of the lake’s ice and gave us the opportunity to make snow sculptures (see pics), then two days of cold with great clear ice, then a giant snowstorm that cut power and dumped 19″ of snow that foiled even the plow guys. Sledding was quite good too.



Christmas 2016


There are many pictures posted for viewing. Just click to see the catalog.

Melanie, 29, is busy at her job as a speech-language pathologist at the Perkins School. She and husband Eric Carlsen had a happy, fun-filled wedding in Maine on 10 Sep 2016.

Emily, 34, continues at Boston Magazine as a marketing manager where highlights of the last year include her organizing Best Fest 2016. She is active in sports and continues to enjoy urban life.

Celia, 38, continues to teach art in Acton. She and Jason Shelkowitz have two delightful daughters. Shelly, 4.5 years, is engaging and inquisitive. Olive, 22 months, is charming and growing up too fast.

Ann, 65, retired from the Wayland Library in Oct 2016 after 20 years of working there, the last 14 years as director. She was honored at a Library open house and feted with many compliments. She continues being busy consulting on library matters and with family activities.

Fred, 66, is getting ready to retire after almost 32 years at Lincoln Laboratory and is looking forward to more winter fun out of doors, a second new knee, and building things, while enjoying the family.

All our best to you in 2017.

Ann’s 65th Birthday and Retirement Fete

Ann’s long-awaited events for 2016—her 65th birthday and the retirement after 20 years at the Wayland Public Library, the last 14 as director. The Library staff had a private party and the Trustees hosted a public reception and fete at the Wayland Library. The festive occasion featured music from Andy Moore, refreshments, and speeches by Aida Gennis, chair of the Trustees, and Louise Brown, former Library Director (before Ann). Ann received gifts and responded with heartfelt comments. Smiles all around. See some pictures here.

After Matthew Hurricane at Grammy’s House

Here are some pictures from Mom’s yard in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew, which skirted the east coast of Florida on the night of 6-7 Oct 2016. Not too much damage; nothing catastrophic. Power was restored on the afternoon of 8 Oct 2016.

Melanie and Eric’s Wedding

Melanie Knight and Eric Carlsen got married in a splendid ceremony on Lake Messalonskee at the New England Music Camp. The entire weekend was filled with events, including staying in cabins, swimming and boating on the lake, walks in the woods, and socializing. Just a few formal pictures are here of the many taken.

And here are the ‘appy couple.