First, oops, yeah, it's been awhile. I fully intended to make daily entries to this blog, at least until I caught up to the present, but...it's soccer season! I've been playing soccer just about every day for the last few weeks and I fall into bed exhausted at the end of the day. Which is awesome for me, the insomniac, but not so awesome for me, the midnight blogger.
So let's get back to business...
Another of my favorite features of Seyburn was the front porch. It's HUGE! It has levels! It has limestone steps! It's constructed of brick! It has a cool terrazzo floor with an inlaid stone border! But, during the 30 years of neglect, a tree decided to grow between the house and the first level of the porch. Not good. The results were a sunken cement slab, a cracked terrazzo floor, and many broken/displaced bricks. It needed lots of work.
One day, on a potty run to McDonald's (remember there's no bathroom at Seyburn yet), I cut through Indian Village (the neighborhood adjacent to West Village) to gawk at the mansions. I noticed some brickwork being done at one of the homes and circled back to get a business card. I ended up getting a couple quotes for the masonry work that I needed, but was most comfortable with the ideas and input that came from that first company that I spied in the neighborhood that day.
Now this was back in November, so when I signed the masonry contract with Ralph Marsack, we knew that the project progress would be dependent on the winter weather that was coming up quick. Luckily, Detroit had a really mild winter this past year, and things moved along at a steady pace. There were some lulls, of course, but I was very pleased with how everything turned out.
Let's take a look at some pictures of the porch before it was deconstructed (click on the pictures for the full size image and to see my notes).
Because of the home's historic status, the porch needed to be restored, rather than replaced. So after removing some of the offending "trees" and roots, the careful deconstruction began.
The limestone caps were removed and stacked in the front yard.
The bricks of the lower porch level were taken out, cleaned, and stacked neatly, one by one. (Sorry about the dark photos, I was excited about the progress and took these after getting off work...in December it gets dark early!)
The loose brick removal continued, as well the removal of the lower cement slab, and also the excision of the remaining beast of a root that had a death grip hold on the bricks!
That guy who appears to be slumped over on the steps was actually meticulously digging the mortar out from between the bricks. Check out how that root became one with the bricks, crazy, right?!
Ok, next time (tomorrow, hopefully), I'll show you how this little (when I say little, I mean HUGE) porch project turned out.