Restoration Transformation

Most remodeling projects seek incremental improvement: to increase efficiency, repair damaged materials, or rework functional use.  These projects pose a variety of challenges from budget to physical space limitations, and the transformations can be stellar.

What do you do, however, when the underlying framework is barely salvageable?  This historic bungalow house move and green rehabilitation illustrates that extreme… a house that was deteriorating from the foundation to the peak of the roof, from the front door to the back stoop.  The sill plates were rotted and the structure sagging.

Before the house move and rehabilitation... a historic home is buried under that aluminum siding.

Before the house move and rehabilitation… a historic home is buried under that aluminum siding.

In a local historic district like Sherman Hill, even homes like this have value – as physical records of the societal forces that guided development of the city through its boom years in the late 1800s and early 1900s.  This house was included as a contributing building in the historic district because it helps establish a context for understanding the historic neighborhood as a whole.  Even so, it was difficult for all but the most ardent of preservationists to see the value.

And look at it now!

After being move to a new lot, a full exterior restoration was completed, including a new front porch with a footprint similar to the original.

After being move to a new lot, a full exterior restoration was completed, including a new front porch with a footprint similar to the original.

Threatened by expansion of a parking lot, the house was within a month of demolition when the neighborhood negotiated with the property owner to get the house moved to an available lot just a short distance away.  This gave us the opportunity to plan for the home’s next 100 years.

The small bungalow sits on "cribs" waiting to be rolled down the hill to the new foundation.

The small bungalow sits on “cribs” waiting to be rolled down the hill to the new foundation.

Particularly with a project as complex as this, planning and design become as important as construction detail to a successful project.  The time between the move and the start of construction was used to create a set of drawings.  Some of the difficulties encountered were determining how to support the complex floor structure of the existing house on the new foundation, working through the historic district approvals for the proposed front porch, and arriving at the appropriate mix of spaces that respected the historic character of the house while carrying it forward into the next century.

Kitchen before - barely a kitchen!

Kitchen before – barely a kitchen!

The kitchen transformation demonstrates the amazing talent it takes to turn an abandoned house into a work of art.

Kitchen after - this cozy kitchen, highlighted by a curved soffit, packs in a surprising amount of storage and usable work space.

Kitchen after – this cozy kitchen, highlighted by a curved soffit, packs in a surprising amount of storage and usable work space.

As a rental home, this project is now contributing once again to the economy and vitality of the city as well as the context of the historic Sherman Hill neighborhood!

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