What exactly is the Hamilton Road Project?
The Hamilton Road Project on paper is the renovation of an antique house. On that face of the project I decided to take it on to see physical results from my education. On the other face of the project is that it was the house my father and his brothers grew up in. It was bought by my grandfather in the '40s, and at the end of the day it was either buy it or a developer buys the block and bulldozes the block for condos.
|The HRP Before Work Begins|
Just over two years.
So what made you decide to undertake the entire renovation yourself?
My grandfather and my dad are people I looked/look up to. The were/are the sort of people that solve their own problems and depend on themselves. It seemed to me that if I could do the ins and outs of a project like this and see it through that it would help me depend on myself more.
|The Original Interior|
Well, yes and no. It has made me realize that any problem can be solved and what is considered "standard" or "code" may not necessarily be the best solution to a given problem -- but at the same time it is quite humbling. I went into it thinking I knew how to work with my hands and now I realize that in most aspects I am still a novice.
I did at first, mainly because I didn't get a permit. Or 5 permits for that matter. It was ok for the first year, but I got the bright orange "Stop Building Notice" about a year ago. As it turned out, the inspector knew my grandfather, walked through to see what i was doing later that day, approved me, and decided not to hit me with fines.
Yeah, mainly he just wanted to see I wasn't trying to flip the place and knew somewhat what I was doing.
Do you mean physical state or style state?
The house, as I found out getting into working on it, should have been condemned ten years ago as an unsafe structure. [It was at a] point where half the walls needed to be jacked up, kicked out and re-framed because of how badly the supports were rotted.
The physical style was pre-Victorian for the original brick, with a truly utilitarian gray addition from the forties built off the back. My plan is to leave the brick parts of the house more or less unchanged and have painted stucco off the back.
|Looking Out The Front Windows|
Well, every day there are things that were unexpected and each has its own "special" way of being difficult. I can't really say one part was harder to overcome, but there are a few points that stand out in my mind. The first was raising the walls two inches with jacks the same way someone would change a tire. That was one of the more dangerous things we accomplished.
Beyond the aesthetic things that are starting to come online now the single thing i take a great deal of pride in is the HVAC system. I had never worked with sheet metal before and built from the ground up a system that passed code and works.
My goal is to have Thanksgiving there.
Do you have any other big projects you've got on the shelf for after you finish this one?
Actually I haven't allowed myself to think too far out yet. I found early on that if I didn't break things down day to day it was too overwhelming to continue. I can definitely say though that I won't let the skills gained go to waste.
|Stairs To The Basement|
What I can say is this: It is a great thing to do, but if you take on something like [the Hamilton Road Project] there are caveats just like anything else. It will take twice as much time and three times as much money as you initially expected, but at the end of the day nothing is more satisfying. On that line, though, for anyone getting into a project like this, the help and support of my family, soon to be family, and friends was the most valuable thing on site. Not only were they there to help manually, financially and spiritually, but they kept me going even on days that I didn't want to be working.
Thanks for much for contributing. Best of luck on completing the renovations!
You can follow Dave's progress on his blog at http://hamiltonproject.blogspot.com/