- Bring the 1856 home of Warrenwood Manor back to life and up to code while preserving as much originality as possible.
- Create a unique event venue so that the house can be shared with others.
To be clear, one comes before two. I LOVE this house. I feel called to care for this historic home and learn all there is to know about it. You can’t recreate the character or charm of this house. It simply needs some tender loving care. If I am going to host events there, which I am doing now, it needs to be code compliant. That means we have to make some changes. Several of our projects are improvements you can’t really see, but will improve the infrastructure and usability. We are adding all new heating and air conditioning as well as transitioning from a septic system to city sewer. Fun stuff. Our first project with visible results was to renovate the main bathroom to be ADA compliant.
Project 1: Bathroom Renovation
The bathroom is located off a small hallway that connects the original house to the original kitchen. In order to pass inspections and provide a safe venue we are going to:
- Raise the floor about 4″ so that the floor is even from the main house to the bathroom. I can’t even count the number of times I have tripped on this step.
- Update wiring and pipes. Evidently lead and galventized pipes aren’t cool.
- Remove the tub to make room for ADA compliant grab bars and required clearance radius around the toilet.
- Replace vanity with ADA compliant sink and faucet.
- Add a mop sink that doesn’t stick out like a sore thumb to meet Health Department requirements.
- Place two drinking fountains in the hallway to meet another code from some other code book.
We are doing our best to coordinate these renovations with the ascetic of the rest of the house with semi-commerical functionality. For example, we choose a porcelain tile for the bathroom and hall that looks very similar to the original wood flooring we found underneath the old parquet flooring. We also choose a paint color that was found elsewhere in the house. Every little detail is important!
As anyone who has restored an older home knows, it is a slow and unpredictable process. There will be pipes where there seems to be no logical reason to have them. There will be mystery switches and wires that lead to nowhere. There will be layers upon layers of lead paint and wallpaper. And there will be snake skins under the bathtub. If you are thinking about taking on some renovations, brace yourself for the highs and lows. That being said, we are moving on to our next project soon. It’s all worth it in the end. For more historic home renovation tips, see our article in The Huffington Post.