Radon System Eyesore, Design Advice Please!!!
February 3, 2014 in Design Dilemma
My wife and I recently purchased a home and one of the requests we made during the negotiation process was to have a radon mitigation system installed (the levels were a bit higher than the EPA's recommended limit). We just got the keys and when we walked through the home for the first time we were a bit surprised (ok, I was pissed!) to see the system that was installed...more importantly, where it was installed.

What was once one of our favorite rooms in the house (a downstairs, secluded bedroom) is now a source of annoyance. I was thinking of framing out both corners of the room near the fireplace to create some balance, but I would love some tips and advice.

Thank you so much. I have attached one before picture and two pictures of the current state of the room.
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Consider an inglenook to make the encasement more purposeful:[houzz=
4 Likes   Thanked by zwatne    February 3, 2014 at 11:26PM
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Matilda Bos Design Studio
Hi......Well I can certainly understand why your angry with this result, I would go with your
idea of boxing around and doing the same on the other side, You could put bookcases on the ends, to give a more useful purpose, and create a seating area near the fireplace for
reading. I would also suggest you lighten the color to a warm white.
2 Likes   Thanked by zwatne    February 6, 2014 at 10:50AM
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Rebecca Hite Real Estate, Huntington Properties
I agree with the above; boxing in will most likely be the best way for you to cover up the system. Add shelves or photos to take all of the attention away from just the boxing; I'd suggest a wood color as close as possible to the mantel, or you could take the opportunity to restain it and change the color scheme of the room. Best of luck!
1 Like   Thanked by zwatne    February 6, 2014 at 10:54AM
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Why the hell was it installed in there ...were they pissed at you for asking for it ?...can it be moved so will go on and out through an out side wall ?
0 Likes   February 6, 2014 at 11:52AM
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JudyG Designs
I take it you did not do a walkthrough before you passed papers? That is so important and this is a good example of why.
4 Likes   February 6, 2014 at 11:54AM
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Perfect example of an 'up yours' construction job. Not all that uncommon, either.

What you should have done was to get a credit in closing and contract to have someone of your choice do the job to your specifications.

I'm afraid you're going to have to pay to have it uninstalled and re-installed to your specifications. No amount of cover-up is going to keep you from looking at it every day and get pi$$ed.

Faced with that expense, my guess is that you'll rethink your insistence upon having a radon mitigation system installed ... and perhaps appreciate how the seller may have felt like their sales transaction was 'held hostage' by your stipulation.
1 Like   February 6, 2014 at 12:09PM
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While I appreciate the feedback, and agree with many of your thoughts and comments (should have done a walk-through, should have taken the credit, etc.) this is the reality of the situation.

I could definitely pay to have it redone, though the costs to do so would likely upset me as much or more than simply dealing with the current situation. One positive of the current placement is that it is ideally placed to capture the radon from the lowest level and the next level up (four levels for the house, two are below grade).

I do like the idea of building sitting areas around the fireplace, I always though the entire wall of brick was not terribly comforting anyway. Any other suggestions similar to this?

For the record, I agree with those of you who have said this is essentially an FU choice by the seller. I can only hope karma balances the scales of the universe here.
4 Likes   February 6, 2014 at 1:57PM
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Google "inglenook" for varied examples - best of luck on your new and improved space!
1 Like   February 6, 2014 at 2:06PM
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Sounds like you will make lemonade from lemons. An inglenook would look lovely in that room. This will be a lovely room. Are you going to keep it a bedroom?
2 Likes   February 6, 2014 at 2:22PM
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You say it's "ideally placed," is that an objective expert opinion? If not, I would have another radon mitigation contractor come in to give you an opinion on the efficiency of the current installation. These systems need to create a subslab depressurization at the lowest level of the home, for example through sealed sump or drain tile access. From there the piping can be routed completely exterior. Your situation may be complicated for some reason but it's worth getting an expert opinion on whether installation is ideal and effective. If the answer is it should have been done differently, you have recourse to go back and have it done right. Hate to see you lose so much square footage to this scenario. You should have r'cvd the results of post-installation testing showing acceptable radon levels in any case. You were smart to get this addressed, radon is a genuine health threat easily addressed. Good luck.
0 Likes   February 6, 2014 at 2:50PM
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Ok, so it's there and you own the place. How about installing some elbows and getting it closer to the wall (near the floor) then see if you can shrink the pipe diameter to maybe 2" as it travels thru the room. These are fairly low pressure systems and the fan at the top of the stack can handle a little more drag from the downsized pipe and additional elbows, it it dies then replace it with a higher CFM unit to compensate for the increased drag. If you can do all this, build a small permanent box type seat or fake wood box to hide the pipe coming from the floor. Build a tv or speaker box into the corner to hide the top exit. The 2" pipe running up the wall might actually fit in any cavity and disappear. Good luck, hope this might help. By the way if you are in a cold climate keep an eye on the stack for ice and frost build up since it's going thru a heated space. Chris Hayden
2 Likes   Thanked by zwatne    February 6, 2014 at 3:01PM
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Patricia Colwell
I think the idea of boxing it in and repeating on other side probably the best way to handle this just shorten the mantel and get on with the rest of your life. Sure would make sure as many people as possible know the name of the idiot that took no pride in his work.
2 Likes   Thanked by zwatne    February 6, 2014 at 3:44PM
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Barnhart Gallery
1 Like   February 8, 2014 at 4:03PM
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Engrav's Decorating
What they did is appalling.

Could you build pillars on either side and enclose the pipe in the design? Maybe some built in shelves on either side too?
0 Likes   February 9, 2014 at 6:57PM
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