Saturday, March 24, 2012

Last Post for the Weekend (Probably)

Some of you might be curious about the clock I purchased recently. It arrived in the mail earlier this week (which was fast!)

I'm thrilled with it. It's incredibly heavy and well made for its size, and it's actually in working condition (although I will clean it before I decide to keep it running full time).

The front is decorated with a cherub, putti, birds, fruit, and leaves. There are, however, two carvings in the lower corners, and I'm not sure what they are meant to represent. One looks like it has a hammer (left), and one looks like it has two horns (right).

I'm not sure what this fellow is supposed to represent. He almost looks like "The Fool" depicted in Tarot decks, but not quite. I have no idea what he's carrying.

This figure, however, is definitely "The Hermit" as depicted in tarot decks, complete with walking stick, cloak, and lantern, except that the hermit is usually carrying the lantern at eye level.

The movement is an 8 day lever timepiece by Empire (roughly 1920-30). I know little about this company, other than they made a very large variety of clocks, including wall clocks, and reproduction clocks. The company was eventually bought-out by Smiths.

All the engravings appear to be done by hand (as opposed to etched or machine engraved). This is also true of the dial numerals, which show several imperfections and inconsistencies (all of which are a bonus to me, since it looks more handmade like an older clock). The only shortfall on the entire clock are the hands, which are a tad thin.

And to put things in perspective, this is a pretty small clock, so this photo should give you a much better idea of the size.

Inverarden House

This post will be specifically about Inverarden House.

This is a wonderful old house, built in 1816. I remember being there only once as a child when they were having some kind of tag sale or charity yard sale there. It was so long ago that all I remember was the climb up the front steps.

As far as I can remember, it's been closed to the public, and I've wanted to go visit for years. I've even written to some of the people in charge, and only more recently there's been talk about continuing with restorations to the house.

This past Friday, I was dropped off after work near the house, so I decided to walk up to it and see it in person.

The history and information about the house can be found here:

Seeing the house up-close left me with mixed feelings. On one hand, the house appears to be in fairly good shape, but upon closer inspection, you can clearly see that it needs thousands of dollars in restoration. Everything from peeling paint, rotted wood trim, broken windows (I can only assume since some are boarded up), and brick work on the chimneys.

But I thought many of you might like to see it.

From the road:

Walking up to the house:

Wonderful porch details:

The back of the house:

Window details show that it originally had operable shutters:

Front entrance details:

Yes that's a bird's nest.

I managed to take a few shots from the front window, but the glass was very dirty, so these shots are blurry. But you can get an idea of the interior, since there aren't any photos of it elsewhere on the web (that I know of).

You can see original 6 panel doors, and some kind of odd electrical panel by the door (possibly also a bell/call system - it was too hard to see):

The corner blocks of the casings were a sort of pyramid shape, which you can kind of see here:

Picture rails:

The wonderful view from the front porch (St.-Lawrence River):

Cornwall Homes 3

Alright, I THINK this is the third installment of this "series" of posts.

First, a quick update. A while back, I had made a post about the Rankin Apartments. As it turns out, my friend Gen pointed out that yes there was indeed a fire at this building, and even a heroic rescue of some of the occupants by some neighbours.

I went back a few weeks ago, and the damage in only visible from the rear of the building. Apparently most of the building has smoke damage.

The following are just a few photos from a walk down Montreal Road, which is in the older section of town. Many houses in this area are in sad states of neglect, but it's a great place to spot some beautiful original house details.

Note the pigeons. They seem to be eerily following me around in several of these shots. This lovely Victorian showcases a wonderful front porch that was scraped down and repainted several years ago. As far as I know, I believe it's rented to two tenants.

My dad had commented to me YEARS ago about how much he loved the details on the shingles of this particular roof. When I saw it in person, I realized that they are actually SLATE, which is pretty rare in Cornwall (AFAIK). The owners (several years ago) capped most of the building in white vinyl siding, and they started to repaint the trim and never finished.

This one is a fairly typical Foursquare with nice siding details in the upper roof portion (note evil pigeon), and a stunningly gorgeous porch with wonderful columns, panels, and windows. I have an up-close detail shot of the porch elsewhere.

This next house is one of my favourites on this stretch of road. The entire house is in a pretty sad state, but the weather-beaten look is part of the reason I like it so much. It looks like it's been completely untouched for decades, except for replacement windows.

It has an original painted tin roof, original gingerbread trim, gorgeous front porch, original blue house numbers, and a painted brick exterior where the red pokes through a bit.

Although I love the look, it does appear to be in dire need of some maintenance. Some of the roof trim is rotted, and it needs some fresh paint in many places.

Long Overdue Post(s)

Alright, I've been absent from my blog for far too long. Not that much has been done on the house (unfortunately), but I've been busy for the past 2 weekends helping my friends with their bathroom.

The last major projects I worked on, were the demolition of the built-in in the Office (see below), and installing the casings on the dining room side of the arch on the first floor (not 100% done yet).

Here's the Office built-in demo. Now, some of you might be wondering why I'd take out this built-in, since it's in pretty nice shape, and it's decently old. There are several reasons, but mainly: I don't like that it doesn't match, it's shallow, and it could be much larger.

I want the Office to have a sort of library feel to it (and I plan to add either freestanding or built-in bookcases). I want the new built-in to blend-in like the one upstairs, with the same mouldings as the doors and windows. I also want this one to have glass doors on it, and to be the full size of the original window.

So yeah, here we go. This is how it looked when I started:

When I first got the house, however, it looked like this:

But I ended up removing that piece of casing and using it as the top for the bathroom door (since it was the exact size I needed).

With the frame removed (and not destroyed either), several layers of wallpapers were discovered. Some of them are actually quite beautiful.

I was also surprised to see that the curved arch was made of a huge solid chunk of wood, rather than just a bent plywood as I had originally thought it would be.

The built-in itself was fairly easy to pry out, since it had only 4 nails holding it to the sides. The resulting hole showed that the window opening was patched with scrap wooden t-g boards and then wallpapered over. As you can see, wallpapering over wood just isn't a great idea.

The original pattern was pretty faded, but this shot shows it off the best. Parts of it were shimmery.

The other nice paper on the inside wall showed a pattern of leaves and fronds with the larger ones in a light cream, and the thinner ones in a gold (reflective).

This shot was taken the next morning. I decided to rip-out all the boards from the opening to maximize the available space. The cinder blocks (as with the other two window holes uncovered so far) show the exterior wall of the building next door.

This particular section of wall was incredibly BAD. This is the main structural wall on their building, and it looks like it was VERY shoddily put together. Unfortunately there really isn't much anyone can do NOW. The building has been this way for probably well over 50 years. But it's still rather shocking to see.

Some gaps are huge. Others seem to have a very poor bond with the cement (with bits crumbling out).

In other house news, I stopped by a local second hand store and scored these two pieces of "art". They're cast resin copies of architectural elements. One is "Doric Door" and "Corinthian Arcades". Both were priced at 15$, which is a pretty good deal, but both frames are in very poor shape, and I'll probably have to take them all apart, reglue them, and repaint them (in a shinier black).

I want these to go on opposite sides of the bed over a night table.

You can see some of the scuffs/dings on the frames in this shot.

I'm also trying to decide what shade of stain I want to use on the inside of the built-in upstairs (which will only be seen when the door is open). I am aiming for an "old orangey shellac" kind of colour. Either in a brownish orange, or an orange.

Thoughts, comments, and opinions are always welcome.