When my client described how he wanted to convert his home's existing two-car garage into a spacious new living room, I knew it would be a great project for my design/build firm. Measuring 34 feet deep by 28 feet wide, the garage space was a blank slate — little more than an unheated box with a concrete slab for a floor. The garage had a full-height attic that he was planning to convert into a master suite, and the first floor had plenty of space for a nice living room and his many collectibles. The only problem was that the wide-open floor plan he wanted wouldn't be possible until we figured out a way to support the second floor's main girder, which was propped up by a steel I-beam running down the center of the garage.
When we started the design process — specifically, figuring out how to create a unique space and support the second floor without posts or columns — I immediately thought of local steel fabricator and sculptor John Rubino, whose decorative steel beams are on display in various residential and commercial structures in northern Vermont. Although...
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