Monday, March 16, 2009

Knox Hill Project House: Updates and Progress


We had a great weekend, near perfect weather and things are humming along. One thing I ALWAYS stress to my clients is that they should take lots of pictures when they buy their house and as restoration work progresses. The old saying " You have to know where you have been, to appreciate where you are" applies with old house restoration. When you are doing a total restore you are going in so many directions it is easy to forget just how much work you really are doing and what a transformational change you are creating.
Such is the case with our house as seen by the "before and now" photo. As you can see from the "before" there was little going for our poor Second Empire cottage that had fallen on hard times. Now it is starting to "come to life with the paint, porch and square bump out addition. As usual, it is all in the details.


This weekend's big project was the roof install over the bump out. Now it would have been "easy" to simply do a sloped shed roof on the bay but then that would have been "too easy". Instead we determined a mansard roof line was more appropriate and will also match the planned roof for the porch. Given the height and the complexities of framing this would have been a very time consuming project on site.


So we decided to "pre build' the roof in sections. The roof was constructed in our workshop in two halves that were designed to Bolt together once on to of the bump out. The sheathing was designed to overlap and be screwed to the structure of the other half. The end result is a strong product that will hold up for years. The roof was attached by construction adhesive, bolts AND screws to the bump out structure and was tied to the new header beam inside. The end result is a strong well built structure that will last as long as the house does. You can see 1/2 the assembly hoisted up (by hand!) and sitting before it was slid down and the other half brought into position.

One of the "unintended consequences" is that the new bump out helps screen the view of the house next door. Which sets closer to the street than our house. At this point we are waiting on the stained glass window transom and the exterior storm window that goes above the picture window it to arrive, although we have the opening framed for it. This bump out will be the perfect place to showcase a marble topped table and out Meakin slag glass table lamp.


Another consequence of our restoration is the effect it is having on the neighborhood. Many long time residents who had "given up" on the neighborhood were out this weekend, cleaning up their yards and sweeping the sidewalk. After we edged our sidewalk last weekend several people have done the same. Restoration is like an infection, it spreads and we are starting to see results not only in our home but our neighbors as well. It is a very "visual" house and I am sure some of you wonder why we chose the vibrant colors? One was to make a "statement" that the neighborhood was coming back and two, it has been my experience, that you should always go a shade brighter than what you actually want in an urban setting. Over the years the 'grime' of an urban environment will darken the paint. If you start dark you get darker. I am hoping to finish the door stripping and painting next weekend , weather permitting, and install the embellishments we have painted and ready to install as well as complete the siding. MAYBE, we will even get the second floor window detail painted.












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