Saturday, November 30, 2013

Riley Lodge: Our Story - Life in the Original Crappy Little Trailer

Click to enlarge.

And we settled into ours - the in-law's trailer, which we got special permission from the City to park on the property while we renovated. (One does feel somewhat bad referring to it as the original Crappy Little Trailer. The in-laws were quite generous in lending it to us, after all.) Thus, the very first item on the agenda - more important even than a new roof - was the addition of a toilet and a sink to the third floor attic, as the water-damaged floor in the one and only bathroom had already been ripped out for replacement. It was always a good idea to make one last trip up to the attic before bedding down in the trailer for the night - for obvious reasons.

Days were spent working at our salaried jobs to help fund the restoration; evenings and weekends were spent working on the house. Showers and laundry were done as needed at the respective parental houses. Life in the little trailer was cozy for the insomniac, the spouse and our offspring at that time ... an extremely large Russian Wolfhound named Asia. And when Asia came inside the trailer at nights, everybody stayed in pretty much the same position until morning.

Probably the rainbow makes living in the trailer seem
a lot more idyllic than it was ...

After the relocation, a hole was dug for the new basement underneath the house and a heavy-duty foundation poured, with cutouts in the cement to accommodate each of the beams still running underneath the house.

Pouring the concrete ...

Perched over the foundation,
waiting for the cement to cure ...

Lowered onto the basement ...

Carefully extracting the beams ... all but one,
which still runs down the centre of the basement.

Cutouts filled in with cement ...

Our one regret during the restoration was that we were not able to afford to put the wooden cold pantry at the rear back on. Sadly, the quote to have that replicated would have eaten up far too much of our budget. It came down to a cold pantry or a new roof - the new roof won.

Having salvaged as many bricks as possible from the columns around the original veranda, these were now used to plug the hole at the rear where a chimney had been vented from the kitchen, and to brick up the back where the cold pantry had been. Ridding old bricks of their mortar so they can be reused is not as much fun as you might expect it to be.

HE looks happy because HE just had to LAY the bricks.

HE didn't have to CLEAN the bricks.

The roofer picked the hottest week of the year to install our new cedar roof.

By the third day, he had heatstroke.

He wore a pair of Hush Puppies and carried
a bundle of shingles on each shoulder up that ladder.

It was frightening.

Meanwhile, the insomniac  made a trip to the Glenbow Museum Archives to try and locate original pictures of Riley Lodge so we knew how to rebuild the veranda. As we'd never seen an enclosed veranda, we assumed, as did many others, that the cedar shakes were a later addition and originally it likely had spindles and railings like most other verandas from the same time period in the area.

After having gone through three boxes of Riley family papers and discovering absolutely nothing, we ended up using a picture taken from a 1910 book of house plans as the model.

That new roof made quite a difference ... looks better already.

New brick columns made from reclaimed brick, and restored original columns ...

The completed veranda ...

Ohhhh, look how young we were ...

And Happy, Happy, Happy.

Once the exterior work was done, we turned our attention to the interior. We redid the plumbing and heating, eliminated the old knob-and-tube wiring, insulated and finally drywalled. We wanted to do lath and plaster walls, but again, the cost was just too high.

Insulating the attic ... good times.

After the drywall, we rented a paint sprayer and added a coat of beige-tinted primer to all the walls. Having had no previous experience with industrial paint sprayers, a fair bit of the primer ended up elsewhere ...

A foreshadowing of what the insomniac's  hair might
 look like in the future (like right now), frosted with white ...

Can't blame any of that white in the spouse's beard
on paint though ...

The second the primer dried, we contacted the moving company to get our furniture out of storage; the move-in date firmly etched in our memories as it was the spouse's birthday - October 7, 1987. An ideal time of year to be moving out of a trailer and into a heated house.

The following pictures show how it looked back then, before all the picture rail, plate rail, baseboards, door and window trim that had been labelled and removed at the old site had been stripped of their many layers of paint and reinstalled. It's awfully ... beige, isn't it?

So beige ... and so uncluttered. Ugh.

Before the arrival of the blinds and lace curtains,
and elimination of the salvaged lighting ...

This was our only kitchen cabinet for
many, MANY years ...

Tomorrow ... the final post. The Before and After photos.

IA


* In 2008, the insomniac  returned to the Archives, and after wading through six or seven more boxes of Riley family material that had been donated since 1987, found four pictures of Riley Lodge in the very last envelope in the very last box; said discovery causing her to utter a muffled whoop of exultation and do a quick fist pump of her white-gloved hand (Archives are almost as quiet as Libraries). That year, we hired Mark W. Chambers Architect Ltd. to draw up new plans for the veranda, recreating exactly how it looked in the photos, and rebuilt it. Everything is now as it should be ...

32 comments:

  1. Just beautiful! What an accomplishment!

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    1. Thanks, Mark! Looking back on it now and considering we've always had to work within a budget, we're pleased with how it all turned out. There will always be a few regrets, obviously - but all in all, very pleased. :o)

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  2. Oh no! Not dirty bikers!! Not in my neighborhood! Ha! Some people. Thank you for sharing this incredible journey with us. So much blood, sweat, and tears in that house. I don't know if I could ever leave it behind. Well, maybe for a nice price and a new adventure in the zombie woods.

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    1. Dirty bikers was probably one of the nicer things we were called, Creepy Glowbugg! The insomniac  herself was once referred to as “a fragrant” by one of the neighbours. It took a while for her to figure out what he really meant was “a vagrant”. ;o)

      Not gonna lie - there's been a lot of tears over the past little while. But I'm so looking forward to The New Adventures in Zombieland! LOL

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    2. I know, right? That's such a classic I didn't have to write it down. Doubt I'll ever forget that one! :D

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    3. That is funny! I would be sniffing my clothes and asking my husband do I stink?

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    4. Well, maybe that's actually what he did mean, Rhonda and I misinterpreted it! LOL

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  3. The transformation of he old Riley Lodge into what it is today is nothng short of amazing! What at first looked like a little red school house during the move was transformed into an architectural masterpiece by work's finish.

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    1. Awwwww thanks, Nightwind! It's been kind of fun looking through all this old stuff, and you know what? Even the offspring have been reading it. Who knew? ;o)

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  4. Im so happy to get to follow your story :D what a huge job you guys did there!

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    1. Thanks, Lesthi! I'm glad you've enjoyed it!!

      You must be getting excited about your big day, which is very swiftly approaching... I hope neither of you is getting too nervous or stressed? :o)

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    2. Oh my fiancé is calm as a cucumber ;) but myself I'm totally stressed out over everything from the the food to the weather :'D I'm trying to calm down but it ain't easy.

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    3. Awwww... Well, I hope you can relax enough that maybe you can even enjoy the day a little bit! :o)

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  5. Awesome!!!! There are just no other words for it OR for you! :-)

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  6. Amazing! Amazing! Amazing!

    You guys, the house and the move x

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    1. Thank you, Winter Moon!

      I hope your Winter Fayre next week is a huge success! I went to one this weekend and bought some handknit socks for the spouse and some thrummed mittens - have you heard of those? I never had, but I think they'll be very useful this winter! :o)

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  7. Wonderful account of your magnificent restoration. What a wonderful accomplishment. That veranda is a dream!

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    1. Thank you, Fran ... that's sweet of you to say. ♥

      That veranda is the best place to sit in the mornings with a cup of coffee and listen to the world wake up. :o)

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  8. Wow that is really remarkable! I was reading all the post about the house and wow it is really such an amazing journey!!! Cannot wait for the final post :D Wonderful job nothing more to say!!!

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    1. Thank you, Magda! It was an amazing journey ... and a long one! LOL

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  9. I think is really of great merit to see what you did! Specially considering you were working on a budget. You are very talented, guys.
    And in relation to the neighbours, well, they can be like that. Back in Spain, there was a lady living upstairs in our apartment building who used to complain about noise ALL the time (even if we were playing an acoustic Spanish guitar with no cables and no amplifier on it at five in the evening, or just having a tea and chatting in the morning). She was pretty much a nightmare for years, I think it was all about our look, because we really made our best not to make noise and nobody else ever complained...

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    1. Thank you, Violette! In retrospect, having to do everything within our budget forced us to learn a lot of new skills. And that's always a good thing. :o)

      Ah yes, there will always be neighbours who will never like you no matter how hard you try. And really, in the end, who cares. ;o)

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  10. You should be so proud! This certainly is a huge accomplishment, and a wonderful addition to your community! I can't wait to see more pictures! ~Denise

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    1. Thank you, Denise! We've never regretted a moment of it - if the house hadn't been available for $1, we'd never have been able to afford to call a house this wonderful our home. :o)

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  11. This is so much fun to see! :) I love the wooden roof, didnt notice that before.
    I agree, that was a little to beige... so much light! Darker colors are more cozy.
    Omg, how did you live with only those cabinets in the kitchen? We have 5 times that many... and could use some more. :D
    But I wonder how much crap you have though, that you can just throw away... Guess I'll find out when that day comes.
    Looking forward to your next post, as always! :)

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    1. We just got the quote for cedar shakes for the Little Gothic Cottage - good heavens, they've gone up astronomically since then! It's looking like asphalt shingles for the next project! ;o)

      You probably would be surprised how many unnecessary things you accumulate, simply because you have the space. Start your downsizing now, Sandra! LOL

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  12. Putting the house on the new basement and sliding out most of the supporting steel beams looks like a gigantic game of Jenga! I really enjoyed reading those old newspaper clippings -- glad you won over the neighbours! Even with the motorcycles, you were better than long grass and beer bottles, LOL!

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    1. No kidding, Debra! I often wonder how nervous York Shaw really was about the whole thing. Not that they ever said anything to us, but there were just so many things that could have gone wrong.

      We won over most of the neighbours ... some still refer to us as the people who ruined their lives, even after all these years. Hey, I could use that for an epitaph - she was better than long grass and beer! :D

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