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Can I get the opinion of Architects, Shop Front Designers or Joiners on our new Shop Front?

  • 09-05-2022 7:34pm
    Registered Users Posts: 7,767 ✭✭✭ Calibos

    Joinery is all done and we have no issues with the quality of the Joinery but we are not happy with certain details of the design which were there in the original simplistic drawings but not obvious to the eye so I didn't catch them. Some of our issues are too late and expensive to change now but we can live with them but one issue of which we feel can be made more acceptable to us with a viable alteration that won't cost a fortune to change.

    Facade hasn't been painted yet but we photoshopped something close to the eventual colour ourselves because the arch/designer said not to judge till it was painted.

    Can you guess which part of this our main issue is with...and are we simply philistines that don't understand traditional Victorian style joinery rules which the arch/designer says this design follows?


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,816 ✭✭✭ Tow

    An Post

    Looks fussy, I find these traditional wooden shop fronts tend rot.

  • Registered Users Posts: 7,767 ✭✭✭ Calibos

    LOL. Not a Post Office but we are often mistaken for one because of the colour. Can't really change it as we've been a local landmark for decades that people base directions off. "Left at the Green Shop at the end of X road...."

    Previous lasted 20 years which was good going for this area and this time most of it was made from some expensive all weather special External type MDF so hopefully it last at least as long.

    Other than the fussyness is there anything that stands out to you as not looking right?

  • Moderators, Home & Garden Moderators Posts: 10,110 Mod ✭✭✭✭ BryanF


    put up an original picture

  • Registered Users Posts: 567 ✭✭✭ Needles73

    In my option the panel under each window and the recess to the left of door looks off. Particularly the recess on door way which is quite high on the left.

  • Registered Users Posts: 7,767 ✭✭✭ Calibos

    Thats the original photo with the existing pre-applied white undercoat photoshopped out for the green. ie. This is what the shop front looks like at the moment except in reality its white undercoat at the moment.

    Post edited by Calibos on

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  • Registered Users Posts: 488 ✭✭ Addmagnet

    I'm not in any of the fields you've asked for opinions from, so feel free to completely ignore me. Only thing that I find slightly jarring is the difference in the size of the indented, arched 'thingy' on the left-hand side of the doorway.

    Looks like it was done so it lines up with the wood panel under that left window, in the same way that the one on the right lines up with the wood panel under the right window, but I dunno ... might be that most people would consider the doorway a whole 'item' and would expect it to be consistent.

    Took me a while to see it, and I could be barking up the wrong tree entirely!

  • Registered Users Posts: 7,767 ✭✭✭ Calibos

    Basically the original Arch/Designer who designed the original facade for a renovation back in '97 was thrilled to get the commission to re-visit their work to correct the amendments/'mistakes' the contractor back in '97 supposedly made without the designers permission. By the looks of things its those amendments the contractor made back then that are the design elements we actually liked and felt were normal, and its the designers 'Corrections' with this new design that we dislike and can't believe are following traditional Victorian facade joinery rules which is what the designer claims.

    To our mind, the Plinths at the bottom of each pillar should be level with each other, with the leftmost being the shortest as its on the upslope and each plinth to the right getting taller to reach the ground on the downslopes. The inset detail on the pillars should all be level with each other too as you pointed out. The left side Stall-riser (under window detail) Inset should be a bit taller and the right side one should be shorter so they match in size.

    I can just about grasp why they may have done it this way in that they treated each window and surrounding pillars and details as a separate entity which are consistent within themselves but not with each other on the other side of the door. However thats all too expensive to change now given the cost will be borne by us as we didn't catch this at the drawings stage. Basically we just glanced at them because to our untrained eye they looked pretty much the same as the '97 facade and we assumed the designer was pretty much re-creating the original facade, just with a few tweaks that had nagged at them for years.

    The thing that bugs us the most and might be a cheaper and easier fix is those Skirting/kick boards. They follow the slope of the path and because they're are so close to other horizontal details them not being parallel is an absolute eye catcher and not in a good way.

    We photoshopped some options without the Kickers/with shorter kickers hoping putting a few more inches between the non parallel lines would fool the eye but none of the options looked right. The only option that looked in any way right that we came up with was the following photo. Level kickboard parallel with other horizontals, that is cut to the slope on the bottom of the board, that starts half way down the plinths on the left and butts the top of the plinths on the right. This also happens to be the way the Black step also runs.

  • Registered Users Posts: 16,302 ✭✭✭✭ Sleeper12

    First thing that jumped out at me was the baseboard. You can't change the fact that it's on a hill but it shouldn't look as bad as it does

  • Registered Users Posts: 7,767 ✭✭✭ Calibos

    Thats one of the first things that caught my eye too and I too felt that those insets on the pillars on each side of the door should be consistent with each other, that the door should have been treated as its is own 'Entity'. However, theres nothing to be done about that now as its too expensive of a 'fix'.

    My biggest issue is with the Skirting/Kickboards not being parallel with any horizontal lines.

  • Registered Users Posts: 7,767 ✭✭✭ Calibos

    Yep. Me and every customer I've asked to guess which part I'm not happy with. They go out, have a look again and immediately say, its those skirting boards at that angle isn't it!?....YES!!! I reply. LOL.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 16,302 ✭✭✭✭ Sleeper12

    I'm not a carpenter but I'd imagine it would be not too difficult to alter the bottom.

  • Registered Users Posts: 7,767 ✭✭✭ Calibos

    Thats what we are hoping. It won't surprise us if the designer and joiner claim it'll cost silly money to change though as the amount of pushback we are getting is unreal.

    "I won't be able to drive past the shop without feeling my 'vision' has been compromised if you proceed with this!"

    "Yeah, and I have to walk into this shop every day of my life for the next 20+ years and I will have to look at those annoying OCD triggering AF non parallel lines and baseboards every ****in day if we don't!!" LOL

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,446 ✭✭✭ Seanergy

    Yeah, and I have to walk into this shop every day of my life for the next 20+ years and I will have to look at

    @Calibos You won't have to look at the baseboards/kickers for that long, they will be rotten by then. I'd want a 10mm gap from ground to timber with an industrial silicone.

  • Registered Users Posts: 7,767 ✭✭✭ Calibos

    The colourising photoshop may have masked it but there is actually nearly 10mm of a waterproof cement kind of filler between baseboards and plinths and the ground,

    The main failure point on the last job was the plinths which were normal timber and rotted from the bottom up and actually where inset down into the path surface. However IIRC the paths were dug out and re-cemented by the council a few years after the shop facade was last done in '97. ie. thats why they the bottom of the plinths were inset into the path surface, it was more like the path surface was raised around the plinths. This probably hastened the plinth timbers demise but at any rate, it still took 20 years to rot where pieces started coming away and falling off. This time with Weather proof materials, them back above the path surface with a near 10cm filler under the baseboards and the slope running past and away from the facade so no risk of standing water. well I am confident this new facade will last at least as long as the old if not longer.

    Post edited by Calibos on

  • Registered Users Posts: 7,767 ✭✭✭ Calibos

    The designer is adamant this is the way its done and they studied traditional Irish shop fronts for their thesis back in the day......yet I've done streetview tours of several hilly towns in Ireland tonight and not a single time have I seen anything like our new facade. Every detail stays horizontal and disappears/tapers into the slope so to speak. Not one example of a Skirting/Baseboard/Kicker have I found running parallel to the slope and non parallel to the main horizontal details of a facade.

  • Registered Users Posts: 30,707 ✭✭✭✭ Lumen

    I am none of the listed professions but I am incredibly critical and I think it looks fine.

    If the paint job is good and the window display, signage etc is done well those elements will all just disappear into the streetscape.

    I looked for an example in Dingle and couldn't find anything exactly the same but this demonstrates my point:,-10.2714272,3a,41.1y,139.19h,71.91t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sRuf4hj5s6zjd9A1LNMtd_A!2e0!7i16384!8i8192

    What do you notice most here? For me it's the awful gold threshold, the rotting drainpipe, the juxtaposition of green and blue, the dull window display. I'm not looking at the relative proportions of the plinths.

  • Registered Users Posts: 77,773 ✭✭✭✭ Victor

    Yes, the sections under the windows look wonky, as do the columns either side of the door. The challenge is to have people look at the windows instead.

    Cost - ask how much to change it.

    Street-cleaning - having a perfectly straight lower wall, made from a solid material (stone or concrete) is good.

    Recesses in shop front - minimise the number of corners that Saturday night drunks can pee in.

    Wheelchair access - can anything be done?

  • Registered Users Posts: 7,767 ✭✭✭ Calibos

    Like I said, we can live with most of it once its painted, signage goes back up across the top and some of those panel details/insets have the stencilled lettering done, (Newsagent, Tobacconist, Confectioner etc.)

    The biggest negative eye catcher for us but thankfully probably the easiest and cheapest to fix like I said is the Skirting/Baseboards/Kickers that run down the slopes between each of the plinths. The first photo is as it is right now. (just virtually painted in photoshop not painted in reality yet. (Painters started filling today)) The second photoshopped photo I posted is how we think we can reconcile our desire for all details to be horizontal and parallel to each other, with what has already been built and is too expensive to change now.

    The pushback from the designer and joiner is that most elements are Medite Tricoya Exterior MDF which is very expensive but we've told them we will pay within reason yet we are still getting pushback. The designer seems emotionally invested in the current design for some reason but its not them that has to live with the final result day in day out. We do, and we simply can't tolerate that non parallel Skirting/baseboard/kicker.

    I blurred out the Windows and door opening in the photoshop because they admittedly don't look great at the moment with customers posters/flyers, backs of sweetstands, and HB fridge and partial back of a Coke fridge. I didn't want all replies to focus on that and talk about trying to make a silk purse out of a sows ear. I wanted people to focus purely on the facade. The reason being that renovating the facade is just the beginning and we will be renovating and reconfiguring the interior of the shop in the coming months too. EG. Those fridges and sweetstands in the left window will go to the back interior wall and the Magazine/Newspaper stand that was on the back wall will move to the Window. We can afford to cut down the Magazine stand in height now because Magazines aren't the big seller they were back in '97 so the back of the Magazine stand will only come up about 1/3rd the window height and I have an idea about how to make an attractive backlit sweetjar display in the Window that will hide the back of the Magazine stand. On the Right Window I have an idea for a framed Community noticeboard to take any local flyers and ban them from being stuck to any other surface or window going forwards. Look, whatever we end up coming up with for the windows, it'll be a hell of a lot better than what it looks like now which is why I blurred the windows out.

    Post edited by Calibos on

  • Registered Users Posts: 30,707 ✭✭✭✭ Lumen

    Have you tried photoshopping the baseboards dark grey/black?

    They're in line with the pavement so would echo the tones of that, as a sloping element. Might also add a bit of contrast and be easier to keep looking clean.

    I do see why you think your photoshopped version is better, but it looks fairly subjective to me.

  • Registered Users Posts: 7,767 ✭✭✭ Calibos

    Heres the old shop front pulled from Google Streetview. Its actually weird that the Weather hasn't been atrocious these last 3 years but most of the deterioration and rot came to a head in the 3 or so years since this Streetview was taken. Though I suppose thats the way it goes. Fine and weather proof for donkeys years and then some cracks or gaps open up that you don't notice and water gets behind and starts rotting things from the inside not noticeable at a glance on the outside until pieces crumble off!! LOL. ie Plinth pieces started rotting and falling off, panel gaps started separating and warping and raising etc It had started before this photo but then the Pandemic, lockdowns and then pent up demand for trades hit and we couldn't organise getting it all redone till now.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 30,707 ✭✭✭✭ Lumen

    Ah OK. So my idea might not work because the new baseboards are not recessed.

  • Registered Users Posts: 37,604 ✭✭✭✭ Mellor

    The image in the OP is wrong and not to traditional details. Or if they was a traditional method, there was as variation as tradition.

    The stallrisers and plinths should be level with each other. The slope should be accommodated in the skirting so that the only non-parallel line is the ground. The projecting brackets are poorly proportioned imo.

    This is similar shopfront with the details corrected. Looks far better imo.

    FYI this is from a shopfront design guide

  • Registered Users Posts: 7,767 ✭✭✭ Calibos

    Heres a Google Streetview from another shop in another part of the town that also has conventional skirting detail. Stallrisers aren't as tall as ours though.

    One wonders if our designer compromised on normal practice wrt to matching plinth heights because of their desire for full stallriser joinery/detailing under the windows? I mean I do like the fact its no longer just rectangular panels of Plywood with some profiles nailed on around the edges and panels affixed to white render stallriser 'wall' with a painted black 'Skirt'.

    I think they realised that if they tried to conform to level plinth heights, the Skirting/baseboard/kicker on the right window stallriser would be ridiculously tall and out of all proportion with its partner on the left window stallriser. So they stepped down the plinth heights left to right allowing a reasonable sized Skirt/baseboard/kicker on both sides but then ran into the design issue of how to transition from the plinths on the left to their down-slope stepped down plinth counterpart so to speak.

    So like I said in earlier postings, when trying to work out their thought process I can kinda see where some of it may have come from. However, what I don't understand is why they came up with the particular Skirt/baseboard/kicker solution they ended up with that just looks intuitively wrong with the non parallel lines so close together. I don't understand how we the customer seem to have come up with a better more aesthetically pleasing solution to the Skirting 'problem' that does a better job of reconciling all the constraints imposed by the rest of the facade design and/or the slope the shop happens to be on....and we came up with it before we even noticed that the black step into the shop already does exactly the same thing!! ie. Transitions from half way down the left plinth to level with the top of the right plinth.

  • Registered Users Posts: 37,604 ✭✭✭✭ Mellor

    One wonders if our designer compromised on normal practice wrt to matching plinth heights because of their desire for full stallriser joinery/detailing under the windows? I mean I do like the fact its no longer just rectangular panels of Plywood with some profiles nailed on around the edges 

    The new stallriser detail could have been used regardless of the heights. The height that detail is place at is independent of the detail.

    I think they realised that if they tried to conform to level plinth heights, the Skirting/baseboard/kicker on the right window stallriser would be ridiculously tall and out of all proportion with its partner on the left window stallriser.

    If they did it with a level plinth. The two stallrisers would be the same size. That's how you get them in proportion, make up levels in the plinth. The current stall risers are mismatched and out of proportion. Ans the make-up zone in the fascia is very obvious.

    So they stepped down the plinth heights left to right allowing a reasonable sized Skirt/baseboard/kicker on both sides but then ran into the design issue of how to transition from the plinths on the left to their down-slope stepped down plinth counterpart so to speak.

    And that is the problem imo. They designed it as a slopped skirting board not a plinth. It makes no sense architecturally to me. The plinth represents the floor level or base. From that all the stallrisers, pillasters etc are built and are match. Each shop typically has one floor level, so one plinth. The next shop down the street has a different floor level and so the plinth steps at the next shopfront.

    Personally I'd have done it this way;

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,390 ✭✭✭ hesker

  • Registered Users Posts: 7,767 ✭✭✭ Calibos

    Another Photoshop Master I see!! Stunning work Mellor. Thank You!

    That Skirting on the right side is definitely getting to be on the excessively tall side but your image shows its just about tenable and allows all other details to be correctly proportioned. So my intuition that this may have informed their thought process was probably right. With the Photoshop we can see its just about tenable but her paper and CAD drawings obviously didn't convince them of same.

    There was no way back to that degree anyway. Would have required ripping off and redoing a significant proportion of the work which would have been out of our pocket because like I said earlier, we failed to spot these issues at the planning stage, so thats on us.

    Oh, to be able to go back in time, cut out the designer and show the Joiner that photo and say, "Make this for me!"

    Ah well, lesson learned.

    So we went ahead with the compromise solution and its just costing us some labour and new skirting as they were able to get the other one off without damaging the panel behind it. Bit of sanding of Glue marks and filling of nail holes before painting and it'll look perfect.

    Very happy with the paint colour as well. Thats still the photoshop above. In the flesh is a lovely shade of green and a lovely gloss which surprised me. I haven't been paint shopping for a decade and for some reason I was under the impression that rich gloss paint was a thing of the past with the EU laws against POC's. ie. It was all eggshell semi-gloss these days. Have the Chemical engineers found a safe replacement for the POC's from the old Gloss paints and given us our lovely gloss finishes back?

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,816 ✭✭✭ Tow

    You should have no problem getting a good oil based Goss paint. My wife likes Dulux's Dublin Bay No 3, I had to put up with it on a 'feature wall' for years. I like British Racing Green, it might be a little dark for you and with the PC Brigade I am not sure 'British' is still in its name. :-)