Monday, February 14, 2011

Knox Hill Project:: Weekly Update

Work continues on insulation projects and ceiling work with the leveling of the master bath ceiling. For those who may not have been following whats going on our second empire roof line and 'flat roof 'which is really pitched to shed water, creates a  sloping ceiling on the second floor. This makes proper stenciling or wallpaper decoration impossible and its visually disturbing to the eye.  So after the gallery hall was done we have now moved into the master bath suite to level those ceilings in there. Basically it is the leveling out of the ceiling slightly on one end up to about a six inches on the opposite end, resulting in only a slight loss of ceiling height but a much more normal ceiling line. You have to remember that in the Victorian era the upper floors were for sleeping and never seen by the public. Today of course we spend more time in our bedrooms watching TV or on the computer and we actually more than happy to 'show the results' of our restoration handiwork so upper room are far more public than they used to be.

We also began some work in the back bedroom area (rear of the house) with framing in a temporary wall. The rear of the house will have a major rebuild when the 2 story new wing connecting the house to the 2 story carriage house is built and this will result in the raising of the ceiling height in the back of the house to 9 feet as it is in the front. Because of the roof slope the back bedroom only has a 6 foot ceiling height at the very back of the house. This temporary wall allows us to control dust and debris to the restore of the house and provides a place to keep saved trim and things used in the future. We will put a door in soon so that area can be closed off and we can proceed in the rest of the house.This second floor area at the back of the house was actually not originally here when the house was built but later added and then "upped' to a second floor a few years after that. This time it will be done right and should be a great improvement.

Sometimes its easy to feel overwhelmed and  people ask you why do all this work when its a 'marginal neighborhood" and you can afford to live in Hyde Park or Indian Hills. My response is that its only a marginal neighborhood because its been marginalized and ignored by the city for so many years. With the warm weather over the weekend I was reminded why I am doing this when I looked out and saw the new owner of the house across the street , shovel in hand trimming the edge of the sidewalk in the front yard of that house. The first attention that house has had in over 7 years. It wont be long until that house has a brand new roof and the front facade will be restored. As I looked up the street I  noticed how clean things were. In 2008 there were junk cars on the streets, chain link fences, and trash everwhere. Many of the residents in our neighborhood are with limited financial means, they can not drop 250K in a house restoration, but they are beginning to take pride in their surroundings. The house on the corner(far right), bought by an "investor type" a year ago for 5 grand who thought he was going to continue the illegal four-plex that was there has given up. because we have kept the city on him.  Now its on the market for 20K which if nothing else shows just how the neighborhood is appreciating in value. It won't be long before someone buys it and its on its way back to a single family home.
Ok this is a garage whats the big deal? The garage door was stolen 3 years ago, taken off in broad daylight by a salvage thief, and no one at that time said a word. This had sat open since and often had been a site where people might drive by and dump things. Imagine my surprise to see a new garage door on it this week. Now sure, I would like to see a nice wooden "carriage house door' like we will be putting on our new carriage house but I know the owner cant afford it , but I am really impressed that he is investing in that house again.
You take your victories when you find them and you realize had you not come along and invested in this area things might have stayed the way they were, not the way they are today. That makes all this hard work worthwhile.

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