Monday, November 23, 2009

Knox Hill Project:Weekly Update

Another decent weekend to get some work done, hard to believe its November!
Still concentrating on the stair hall. As you may know from previous posts we have been dealing with a number of issues to get the staircase area "up to snuff" with the level of the rest of the house and give it some pizazz.
At the same time we have had to do some reworking to get a space for a full bath on the first floor. There was a full bath on the first floor but it took almost a 1/4 of the kitchen space and bathroom off a kitchen just do not appeal to me. The new 1/2 bath will be tucked under the stair landing and will be out of the way of formal areas of the house. The half bath will be very period with English Encaustic Tile on the floors and old style fixtures. Eventually there will be two stained glass windows. One in the diamond window on the west wall and another on the east wall which will overlook the basement stairway and bring in more light to the bath from the stair hall.

Part of this involved re-framing a floor back into the area previously occupied by the old basement stairs. We also changed the depth of the stair wall under the stairs which will house the toilet space so the wall would be one level all the way across as you come down the lower level stairs.
This view shows the new wall being framed in and you can see the large space that will eventually have a stained glass window. This wall will be extended all the way down to the basement and wills serve as the formal stair hall to the basement which will house a period Victorian bar, and make a great 'pub room' to relax in. My plans are to Architectural panel below the chair rail in the staircase area and use a Renaissance revival wallpaper above with a frieze. The ceiling will of course be wallpapered or stencilled as well and we will be installing a period ceiling medallion in the stair hall and period light.
It is slow work but things are moving along.

Tomorrow I get to waste a day of my time to attend a hearing with city inspection over our "Big bad problem property house" It is amazing that we have to waste our time on this because an incompetent inspector threw a VBML on this House when it only needed a repair order in 2005. I WILL NOT tolerate this lack of process and am prepared to take whatever appropriate legal action to hold the city to actually enforcing the ordinance as written and not let it become perverted into the useless tool it has become . If this entire ordinance gets thrown out in the future (and I believe it will) by a state or federal judge, the city inspection department has only itself to blame for their incompetence and the lack of proper oversite in the application of the ordinance AS IT WAS WRITTEN. City inspections cannot "pick and choose' what part of the ordinance it feels like enforcing and have any legal standing to ask a court to enforce it given their failure to do their job and actually follow the entire ordinance. Feel free to call the city inspection department and express your outrage over those of us actually investing in the community and making it a better place being harassed by a city agency that isn't doing it's job to start with.
We will have a long weekend coming up and hope to get a lot done next week


PML said...

Good luck tomorrow. I am presently struggling if I should continue with purchasing my dream Victorian in Westwood, which I found out has a VBML order against it. It's a HUD foreclosure and HUD refuses to do anything to get the VBML removed and I am struggling with the unknowns of the VBML process. Everyone tells me I am worried about nothing.........

Paul Wilham said...

You need to look at the CPOP site to see exactly why your house was under VBML. More often that not it is a overzealous inspector who just wants it off his rotation for followup. Our house was cited for 2 broken windows and an open door which should have been a repair order.

Read the orduinace as there are things city inspections are supposed to do and dont. Things like filing a civil case against the prior owner so it shows on a title search. If there was an Expired VBML the house is supposed to be inspected by the director of inspections AND he is suposed to get a court order under the ordinance to do it, IT NEVER HAPPPENS.

They are 'picking and choosing " the parts of the ordinance they want to follow and sooner or later a court will throw the ordinance out.

PML said...

Funny, that is the same exact reason my house was put on the VBML list. 2 broken windows from where someone had broken in and stole all the copper plumbing. The windows were later secured by HUD with plywood, so it has been made secured. It was placed on the list in the first part of the year and nothing has really been done since, I called and really could not get much info, except that it was in preprosecution, whatever that means. The house is very far from needing to be on the list.

Lundy said...

Interesting project for sure. I know it is not quite the same, but if you have trouble getting the fired clay encaustic tile, we make cement tile that has very much the same look. Many people do use it in foyers and sunrooms, etc of historic townhouses. Of couse it is much less expensive than the UK imported tiles. Have a look and if we can ever help, we'd love to. Lundy
Villa Lagoon Tile

Paul Wilham said...

PML send me your address via email so I can look at the inspection history. I may be able to offer some advice if I know some more information. You might not need a VBML waiver if the plumbing is repaired and tehre are no other major issues.