Sunday, June 27, 2010

New Room, Recycled Window

The old stairwell at the back of the Delaney House

The Delaney House has increased in size, and it only has cost us about $340.

The back stairs of the Delaney House had to come out. They were old and beat, and when the house is raised, they will no longer reach the ground. They're also in exactly the wrong place: the southwest corner of the house, the place that potentially gets the most sunlight.

But they didn't get any sunlight for years, as the window was the last one still boarded up. This was because the lower window sash was broken, and missing the bottom rail. So the window remained boarded up, while other work took place.

The stairs had to come out, however, so last weekend we finally started removing them. Despite being beat up, they were pretty well made, and it took a lot of work to get them to give up the ghost.

Once we pulled them out, we had to fill in the large hole where the stairs were. We had 2x10s and joist hangers, so we cut down the 2x10s, and started hanging them as joists, matching the height (and the slope) to the floor in the rest of the back addition. The we put down plywood, and spent $300 on Douglas Fir tongue and groove flooring. The flooring went down relatively quickly, and the new room took shape.

The only problem was now we had a boarded up window that was exactly at floor level. Had the original bottom sash been intact, it would have closed almost perfectly level with the new floor.

Dave Clark offered to replace the bottom rail and the glass in the window, so we gave him the lower sash and started working on the window. First, we removed the upper sash. We carefully took off the interior trim, then pried off the outside trim, and lifted the trim, with the window frame attached, off the house. We took all the siding off the addition, and then re framed the window in a higher position. The we took the original siding and re-attached it to the house - the 3 boards that had been above the old window were placed below it, and the side pieces reinstalled at the new position.

The view with the new floor, the siding removed, and light showing through the old lathe.

Dave brought us the repaired window, and for $40 we had a usable lower sash. So the total cost of this deal was $340, and, except for the old stairs, everything was reused.

The result is that, from the outside, it is difficult to tell anything has been done. The siding, being original and as weathered as the rest of the siding, matches perfectly, and the window, also being original, matches the house perfectly.
The siding back in place, ready for the restored window

A lot of people wouldn't have done it this way: they would have torn out the old window, ripped off all the siding, and then replaced everything. But we think of ourselves both as restorers and recyclers. The old window will be caulked and sealed, and will be good to serve the house for another 100 years. The old siding will need scraping and patching and painting, but it too has more life in it.

Today, we're hoping to finish moving the last of the roses. But the Delaney House is ready to move. It should be on its 50 foot journey soon. And once that has been accomplished, the Cheney Cottage can then travel across down from Albany to 62nd Street, and we can begin the process of completing the restoration of both houses.

(Anyone notice that I didn't say anything nasty about the City of Berkeley in this post?)

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