Saturday, 24 April 2010

The Roof Comes Off

With the stucco gone, the crew began on the roof. There were two layers of asphalt shingles and one of cedar to remove.

The new asphalt shingles will go on over a plywood sheathing.

The Grand Unwrapping (continued)

Over the course of the next couple of days, all the stucco came off. The crew told us that it was mostly in excellent condition, and they marvelled at how long and straight the boards of clear cedar were. Passers-by also approved.

On the side and back views, you can see the shape of the original windows. We'll be returning the openings to those dimensions.

Meanwhile, down in the basement, Michael and Glen, our electrician, removed the ceiling of the one finished room to make rewiring easier.

Inside the cavity, they discovered a considerable collection of mouse turds and a few desiccated bodies.

Michael was also spending a lot of his time inside scraping yet more stucco off the ceilings.

Luckily, this cellulose-based material scrapes off easily with warm water, leaving a smooth surface that shouldn't even need sanding.

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

The Grand Unwrapping

7:30 am: Monday morning. We arrived to find the work crew already starting to strip stucco off the house. As we had hoped, the old bevelled siding underneath is in excellent condition except for a bit of rot around a couple of windows and at the bottom of the front steps.

This is where pictures are worth more than words, so here is a brief visual account of progress on this first day:

The men began at the back...

then they moved around to the side...

and by the end of the day they had begun on the front:


We are delighted to see the character of the old house beginning to shine through.

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

The First Day

Enthusiastic and knowledgeable friends are a huge asset in finding out just what you've got under the roof of old house. Jim and Lauren were quick to come over with pry bar and hammer to help us with uncovering some interesting features.

First task was to remove the boarding on the stairs to reveal lovely old spindles still intact:

Then Jim and Michael prised up the carpeting:

The original newel post had been sawn off when the panelling was attached, but Jim found us a perfect replacement that only needs to be sanded and painted.

Outside, Jim peeled back a bit of the stucco and, sure enough, there is wooden siding hidden underneath:

We actually have three different kinds of stucco on this house: on the lowest level there's "beer bottle" stucco with embedded chips from actual old green and brown glass beer bottles.

Above that, covering the main and upper floor, is a paler stucco without the embedded glass fragments,

and on the front porch there is a truly ugly two-tone mix that I have just learned is called California stucco.

You can see the effect here, with Jim and me examining it.

All of it will be coming off in the next month or two.

Jim incidentally, has named our house, which is in the Grandview neighbourhood , Grand Cottage.
How's that for an oxymoron? I like it.

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Eastside Eden

Now that we have returned permanently to Vancouver, this blog needs a new name. Ozblog was right for Australia, where the locals regularly refer to their homeland as Oztralia, Oz for short, but it's no longer appropriate.

Our new home is on Vancouver's east side, so Eastside Eden seems appropriate. It's something of a misnomer at this point, as you can see from the photos here,

but we'll be working towards making place and name a good fit. Restoring the house and surrounding it with a flourishing garden will be an ongoing project - to be recorded here in all its triumphs and disappointments.

The task begins on April 10th...stay tuned.