In order to restore a heritage house such as Twin Oaks you must be aware that a certain amount of craftsmanship is required to complete the job, an inept hand will not suffice. Rob has been in the carpentry industry for almost 20 years and his attention to detail is reflected in the quality of the work he produces.

Twin Oaks before the roof was redone and before Rob started to work on the fish scales

As is apparent in the photos of the house most of the wood work on the exterior of the house needs to be fixed and as a non-carpenter I had no idea what this meant. Rob would go over with me the steps that would need to be taken while the new roof was being put on but honestly I did not understand what he was really saying.

Detail of the fish scales at the front of the house. Before work was completed

As the job progressed I slowly learned the amount of work that was going into the restoration as well as the amount of time Rob would be dedicating to the home. I knew that this house would take a long time to restore but actually watching Rob do the work started to put it into prospective.

Corner of the house where squirrels had chewed their way into the house.

The front of house, which is not viewable from the street, takes the brunt of the weather. All the wind and rain we get here has taken its toll on the house and with a new roof, gutters and downspouts the wood work needed to addressed. 

Fish scales removed from the corner

Rob removed the fish scales from around the damaged corner as well as removed the belt board , exposing the original boarding of the house.

Th beatiful old boards used to clad the house

I was not expecting Rob to be so thorough with the restoration but in order to properly restore the house you do have to take it back as far as you can in order to rebuild parts of the house.

It was fascinating to watch Rob work and see how he can recreate something originally built 120 years ago.

His ability to notch and cut the wood in such a precise manner pays off in the final product.

The work was not fast moving but the end results paid off.

Watching Rob work really made me excited for what was to come as we continue to restore the house.

The finished product

The Roof Part Deux

It was last June when I last talked about our roof, we wanted to have it replaced as soon as possible but we were unable to secure a roofer until this year. In our area you can apply for a Heritage House Grant, where you can submit a proposal to a heritage committee in regards to restoring your designated heritage home. If you are approved the district will grant you up to 30% of the final cost of the project. You have a year to complete the work and because we couldn't secure a roofer we were just under the wire with our grant from the District of Saanich House Grant's program, but the job has finally been completed.

Rob had begun preparation on the roof last year, we had been living with tarps on the roof and limited to no gutters. As soon as the weather started to improve we called to confirm the start date.

The house before the roof work started

Our house is three stories tall and it appeared to take a lot of effort to work on. Each day the guys from Four 12 Roofing would show up and climb the ladders to the top of the house, each trip carrying another load of supplies. They always appeared to be in great moods and we even received compliments from our neighbors in regards to how lovely the roofers were.

A work in progress

While we waited to have the roof done, Rob and I had time to talk about the roof and how we wanted to have the attic function in the future. We knew that if the roof was going to be coming off we had to take advantage of that time and make sure anything that needed to be done would be done during that short time period. We decided to cut in skylights in the roof as this would allow the space to have natural light as well as take advantage of the views from the third storey. This also had to be approved by The District of Saanich because as a registered Heritage House we can not alter the exterior of the home without the councils approval otherwise we risk losing our designation and access to the grant money that we need to help keep the house standing.

View from one of the skylights

We were able to get the addition of the skylights approved without much hassle as long as they were not visible from the front of the home and it did not alter the historical look of the home. We put in five skylights all together on the east and west of the house and we also replaced the hatch to the widows walk with a fully opening skylight.

The widow's walk and the new skylight hatch

Each skylight was cut in as the roofers worked on that section of the roof and each day when we would come home from work there would be a new beam of light shining in the attic. It was like the house was taking big cleansing breaths.

First hole in the roof for the skylights

When we first moved into the house and I saw the attic empty it was apparent to me that we needed to have a bathroom upstairs and that bathroom would have to include a bath.  This was only a dream until Rob came home from work a couple of months ago with a cast iron claw foot tub that was bound for the dump.

A surprise bathtub in my yard

When that first skylight was cut into the roof and we had a crane on site we had the claw foot tub lifted up into that skylight opening to bring the bath into the attic. The bathtub wont be installed for a while but it is pretty cool that the bathtub is sitting there in anticipation.

The bathtub being lifted to the roof

It is very satisfying to have the house worked on, to have the windows fixed, a door working, just knowing with each step we get closer to having a fixed house, the house of our dreams.

Part of the roof when shingles were removed

A lot of people look at the house and see all the work that has to be done and I see it as well but I try not to get bogged down in the detail instead I focus on the work that does get done and the roof, gutters and downspouts was a big job to be checked off the list.

Half old roof, half new roof

It makes it that much easier to see what the house will look like as a finished product, though now its hard not to focus on the fact that it is in a serious need of a paint job, but alas that is still a couple years off.

The gentlemen from Four 12 Roofing were friendly and hard working.. They cleaned up after themselves and they completed the job in a reasonable amount of time considering it is still raining here regularly. I would highly recommend them for any roofing work you might need.

Twin Oaks with a new roof, gutters and downspouts