back yard cottage

From what we can tell, this back-yard structure has been here for about 100 years as seen on the above 1913 Sanborn Map.  These maps are pretty cool because the outlines of buildings were drawn, and you can see what it may have been originally if it changed.  ‘D’ for dwelling – we’re upgrading this 2-unit building.  The dwelling at the front of the lot is being remodeled by Feldman Architecture – I managed the project when I worked there and I get to see them both happen at once. The building touches the property lines on 3 sides…which is uncommon at the back yard, and not really allowed anymore for several code reasons I won’t go into… not enough room on the blog!  Look at the gorgeous T-111 siding in brown and small single-pane windows – one of which used to open into a shed!  You can see the outline of the shed that was removed but will be rebuilt as part of the front building.  Inside there was a jumble of spaces and odd soffits and such.  The refrigerator wasn’t invited into the kitchen with the rest of the appliances.  Upstairs the back windows look out onto a nice large tree and adjacent back yards.  Part of the code issue is that these windows can’t be enlarged – if they are, they’re not permitted to open due to fire prevention.  So we’re replacing all property line windows in the same configuration so they can be operable. 

Once the walls were opened up we could see the abuse this building has withstood:  evidence of charred framing indicates there was a fire at some point (which explains why such an old building has no olde detailing) and whatever wood wasn’t singed was chomped through by some hungry buggers as seen in the window sill above.  ALL to be replaced!   You can’t tell in the photo but the floor has a significant slope…which we’ll be correcting because the living spaces are being opened up to one big room.  On the left: with 10′ ceilings it seems such a waste to have a standard 6′-8″ door…seems so wimpy!  Then again it’s only a rental building so we’re not going all out here.  The attic….how great would it be to finish out this space!  But it would go far beyond the project budget here.  Wonder what’s in that box…..

more to come!

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