the goal

The Birthroot Midwives purchased the old MJB Jewelers building with the goal of creating a modern, healthy birth center.  The midwives worked hard to retain the character of the building during the historic restoration while updating it for safety, comfort and efficiency.

project details

The building was only marginally worth saving. The Birthroot midwives opted to remodel instead of rebuild because they loved its historic character. This decision resulted in smaller overall carbon footprint and the design matches that of the historic neighborhood. Right off the bat the building had to be raised so we could rebuild both the foundation and flooring system. With a solid foundation in place we built an addition and remodeled the building.

Some materials from the existing building were salvageable, which added character and interesting finish details to the completed birth center.  These materials included: old framing material that Smith and Vallee Woodworks used to build custom cabinets,  refinishing the existing wood floors, and reusing exterior windows as interior relighting  windows.

The midwives chose materials with a focus on occupant health, which included: opting for low and zero VOC materials, hardwood and marmoleum flooring, Paperstone countertops and formaldehyde free insulation.

The building performance measures we used for the birth center included advanced air sealing and insulation details borrowed from Passive House systems, a SIGA building envelope system, a highly efficient commercial tankless water heater, a mini-split heat pump and a Heat Recovery Ventilation system.

Photos by Chris DiNottia.