Anatomy of a House

gc largeMy old house in Parkdale was in need of a serious facelift. Despite having spent considerable time and money 18 years ago the porch and facade had deteriorated to the point of embarrassment. By Greg Chown.

Reposted with kind permission of Greg Chown  Lost Toronto. Visit Greg’s site here.

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The decorative medallions had rotted and given the squirrels and birds a chance to get in..

The first step was the porch and columns which had also rotted.

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My friend Dan, a carpenter came over to help. We jacked up one side and pulled the column. My original intention was to replace the wooden bases and clean/patch the columns. However, once removed I found the base was infested with carpenter ants and the column itself in need of considerable work.

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I called Roman Columns in Mimico and he had brand new fibreglass replacements in stock for $275.00 each!

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Dan and I replaced both of them in about 3 hours (I painted them the night before).

Next we stripped the deck  off the porch and made any repairs to the base.

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Next up was the medallions and trim up top.

A different Dan came over and we set up the scaffold.

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I removed the rotted inserts and years of debris that the animals had left behind including a mummified squirrel…

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I originally thought we could cut new pieces by hand out of marine grade plywood but it was obvious that this was beyond both of our capabilities.

A quick call to John K. (a film carpenter with a CNC machine) solved this problem.

His company in Mimico, Motion Designs.

He came to the house, picked up the plywood and returned the next day with new panels,

designed by John, cut by the computer.

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These were primed/painted and installed the next day.

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And there you have it, as good as new.

There’s still painting details to finish up.

Below is what the house looked like in 1998.

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P.S. A mixture of Borax, sugar, honey and boiling water has proved a good deterrent to the ants.

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2 Responses to Anatomy of a House

  1. Ruth Flower-Davies says:

    So interesting to hear about Greg’s process and sourcing of materials. Always great to have new leads on craftsmanship and materials.
    Ruth & Will

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