Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Fifth of Five

The second floor of the Cheney Cottage, waiting on 62nd Street

At long last, we finally brought the last piece of the Cheney Cottage home to 62nd Street today. It was a long day, but everything worked out.

The day started with us realizing that it was the beginning of Daylight Savings Time, and we had to turn the clocks ahead an hour - meaning that we lost an hour of sleep. This was problematic in that we were getting up at 5:30. When the alarm went off, we had gotten very little sleep, and it took a while to get rolling.

We got down to the Gill Tract around 6:45. It was still dark, but Phil and the crew were there, hooking the house up to the truck and getting ready to leave.

Also there was a representative of the City of Berkeley. We had to give her the $25,000 for the rest of the City's bond. So we wrote out a check and handed it to her, but she told us that she had to get the check from the University. I guess that, in addition to yesterday's article in the paper where Dan Marks referred to us as "amateurs", they also think our money isn't good enough, or that we go around writing bad checks.

Fortunately, Kevin Hufferd came down and gave us the check. Kevin Hufferd is a mensch. He has been a true supporter of this entire project, making it happen and giving us a lot of good advice, trying to creatively find solutions to problems, and encouraging us every step of the way. He has represented the University of California-Berkeley professionally, worked with us to find solutions and has never hidden behind bureaucratic and arcane "rules". How unlike the City of Berkeley staff.
Thanking Kevin for all his support as the Cheney Cottage leaves Albany Village

How many times can I describe the wonder of watching Phil Joy and his crew work? They are amazing, and everything went smoothly. Despite having trouble with some trees on Sacramento Street, and the occasional bad driver who couldn't figure out that a house blocking both lanes was hard to pass, we moved relatively rapidly the four miles from Albany Village to 62nd Street.

It was an amazing moment with the house turned the corner onto 62nd Street. Finally, the two sections of the house were close together again, and Phil unhooked it form the truck. Then the winch slowly pulled the house onto the lot, right between the two stacks of cribbing that support the second floor.
The first floor being pulled beneath the second floor

Dre helps steer the first floor into position as it is pulled back onto the lot
The first floor, almost in position
The first floor and second floor of the Cheney Cottage are now aligned on 62nd Street, in their new location.

Next, we spent the afternoon working on the first floor. We nailed some trim that had come loose during the move back in place, swept up both floors, and fixed the front door of the house so it locks (we had been keeping it bolted closed). We also put plastic between the two sections, to keep the rain out.

We also spent a lot of time chatting with our neighbors. Everyone who came by was excited seeing the house on the site, and they were enthusiastic about the work we've done to date. Most had seen the Chronicle article yesterday, so we commiserated with a lot of them about difficulties dealing with the Berkeley Permit Center. There is a great deal of anger in the community about the Permit Center, and people were enthusiastic about our ideas on how to address the issues.
Tony Lopez, Phil and Celeste Joy, Dre Swanson, Gerardo Camargo and Leo Rosales

On Tuesday, Phil and the crew come back and take the dollies out from under the Cheney Cottage, and put the first floor on cribbing. Then on Wednesday, Eric and his crew will start working on the foundation. Hopefully, in two weeks, the foundation will be done, and Phil can come back and lower the second floor gently down onto the first floor. We'll reconnect the walls, and put all the trim back on the outside of the house. A new roof and a paint job, and the Cheney Cottage will be weatherproof and ready for the interior restoration.
Contemplating all the work left to do

Friday, March 11, 2011

Going Up

The Second Floor of the Cheney Cottage, high in the air
There are two more days until the first floor arrives on 62nd Street. On Sunday morning, we will bring the first floor of the Cheney Cottage to its new home on 62nd Street.

Today, the Phil Joy crew lifted up the second floor of the Cheney Cottage. It is now 16 feet from the bottom of the beams to the ground, ample room to slide the first floor under.
Ready for the first floor

Tomorrow, we'll do some clean up on 62nd Street, making sure all is ready for the arrival on Sunday. We'll also make sure none of the "No Parking" signs have been taken down along the route, and we'll go to Albany to take the tarps off the first floor. We'll meet Phil, Celeste and the crew Sunday at around 6:15, and head for Berkeley. Finally, the Cheney Cottage is coming back together.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Going Up

The Cheney Cottage from the back, sitting on the beam.

The second floor of the Cheney Cottage is off the dollies, and headed up. Here is the progress from today.
The east side of the Cheney Cottage with the huge beam.
The other interesting view in these pictures is the new colors. Purple for the base, green for the trim and cream on the windows. You can see it best on the pictures of the front of the Cottage.
The Cheney Cottage with the Delaney House behind

The Home Stretch

Monday morning, 6:30AM. The rains have stopped, the sky is clear, and the weather reports are good. This is the week when the second half of the Cheney Cottage moves to 62nd Street.

Starting today, Phil and his crew will be on 62nd Street, preparing for the move. First, they'll put large glulam beams down to stabilize the cribbing, then put the large beams through the second floor to support it. The second floor will be lifted, and the dollies, after being under the second floor for 11 months, will be removed. Phil will take the dollies back to Albany Village, and put them under the first floor.

Then the second floor will be lifted 16 feet up in the air. The beams stick out the east and west side of the second floor, so the entire structure can be raised from the outside (to keep the space under the second floor clear).

Later this week, Phil will pull the first floor of the Cheney Cottage out of the Gill Tract and put it on the parking lot, ready to go. And then on Sunday morning, the first floor will follow the second: Along 8th Street to Gilman, down Gilman to 6th, 6th over to University, up University to Sacramento, then all the way along Sacramento to Alcatraz, up Alcatraz to King and over to 62nd Street.

Once at 62nd Street, the first floor will be unhooked from the truck, and attached to the winch to pull the first floor under the second floor, positioning it exactly on the points Moran Engineering identified as the right spot, based on the plans Andus Brandt drew up.

Eric Angress will then work with his crew to dig and pour the foundation, and build new pony walls to support the first floor. The first floor willy gently be placed on its new foundation, and then the cribbing will be brought inside and built up to support the ceiling. Upstairs, the cribbing will continue up to the suspended second floor, and the beams removed. Then the second floor will be gently lowered down and set on the first floor.

We hope to have the house back in one piece by April 1st.

I'm also meeting Dare Morris this week to get a bid on painting the exterior of the Cheney Cottage. As part of the sale of the house, the University did all the asbestos and lead abatement, so the exterior of the house has been scraped and is ready to be patched and painted. This is a huge advantage: the lead paint removal is costly and difficult, so having the house ready for paint has saved us quite a bit of money.

We've been looking at the old paint left on the house, and have determined that one of the original colors of the house (maybe the first color) was purple, along with green. This is a house that has been grey and undistinguished for years, so we're going back to its roots: we're painting the house a deep purple with dark green trim and cream colored sashes. After all it's been through, we think it's time for the Cheney Cottage to put on some bright colors and show itself off.