About the project
Design began in August 2001. Our architect was Alexandre Ravkov; Wayne was the general contractor and Sal was the designer.
We applied for the building permit in October 2001 and got it March 5, 2002. March 6 was our first day of "deconstruction".
We filled eighteen 30-yard dumpsters with ex-house. The attic contained 50 cubic yards of ridiculously inflammable "cedar wool" insulation. Over a ton of iron pipe and radiators and 500 pounds of copper were sold for scrap.
April 6, 2002: Stripped to the studs inside, the house was lifted and moved 18" west (to conform to current by-law); the chimney went with it. In late May, the house came down onto new foundations. (Shingling was a challenge when we discovered that while the new foundation was a rectangle, the house was a trapezoid with the front 6" narrower than the back.)
June 14, 2002: Storm and sanitary drains were connected to city sewer lines.
The only original woodwork remaining in place is in the front hall and stairs; wood trim was restored and reused elsewhere. Some oak and fir flooring and three doors are original. The only original window is in the dining room sideboard; windows from the living and dining rooms are now installed in the garage. Twenty-four new wood-framed windows and six sets of French doors were added, along with seventeen other new wood doors.
October 25, 2002: Structural framing inspection passed.
Plumbing style decisions were complicated with eighteen sets of faucets, eleven sinks, seven toilets, six bathtubs and a shower. Sal made and installed sixty-three separate new stained glass panels in the house and garage; more are planned. (Eighty-one are in as of 2013.)
After three different landscaping contractors made empty promises for six months, we did the landscaping ourselves.
May 16, 2003: Final wiring inspection passed. June 3 and 5, final plumbing and building inspections passed.
On June 22 we hosted a "thank you for putting up with us" party for the neighbours. In July, 2003 we held a "wrap party" and said farewell to our loyal crew: John, Ted and Richard.
December, 2004: Sal made the mosaic floor outside the wine museum.
July, 2009: We gave up trying to maintain a lawn and put in the patio in the back garden.
This is our house, now.
The north side
Most of the back was new.
Expanding our skill set
We learned to love scaffolding.
Building by-laws said we couldn't go up, but digging down was fine. The structure is bolted to the foundation in case of earthquakes.
Fun with mortar.
We took on the landscaping when nobody else would, even for money.
More fun with masonry.
Don't let the bottle of wine fool you; the wall is meant to be curved.