Attic Floor Restoration Project
April 22-23 & April 29-30
Whether sun-slanted or dark and gloomy, peacefully meditative or unsettling and haunted, attics are always compelling, especially in older house. They are places where ghosts lurk and secrets of the past are stacked in boxes or hiding behind ancient, dusty furniture. But these garrets are also places of romance, somewhere to hide from parents or governments, or hold secret trysts. They are places where artists and authors have retreated to paint or to write or to dream.
With it’s heavy beams and church-like a-frame, the John Brown House attic at the Brown Homestead is no different. Behind a nearly hidden door on the second floor landing, and up a steep and narrow stair, this space, empty but for some old windows stacked against one wall, already has a singular and intriguing ethos.
Having sat quiet for who knows how many years, the Brown House attic has slowly amassed a thick collection of dust and debris. Thorough cleaning will allow the contemplative space to become useful once again, and should help the air quality in the house overall. This cleaning, however, calls for more than a mop and some elbow grease.
We will remove the floorboards themselves, carefully numbering and stacking them. Next, we will clean down to the lathe of the 2nd floor ceiling below and add new insulation. Finally, we will complete any repairs and relay the floor boards.
This process will also give us an opportunity to excavate the space under the floor. Who knows what long lost treasures may lie beneath the boards of a floor nearly 200 years old? We are going to find out!
As education is a part of our mandate, we are excited to invite you to be a part of this project and learn along with us. We believe that every pair of hands and each mind engaged in the space adds value and life to the house. Our hands will be kept busy lifting, cleaning and repairing boards, as well as searching for any potential artifacts. Our minds will be kept busy as we learn and follow proper documentation methods, and by the thought and ideas this intriguing space will inspire.
We will encourage you to try all the various tasks required during the project, as a way to foster a shared appreciation of the work involved. We are happy to have Doug Vickers, a master heritage carpenter, join, guide and instruct us. Doug has worked on a number of heritage homes throughout Ontario and across the United States and we are more then pleased that he will be available to share his wealth of knowledge with participants.
During the workshop we hope participants foster a connection to the site that extends beyond the tangible experience. We want this to be the beginning of a deeper relationship and understanding of the site’s history and its potential future. During provided lunches we hope to share with you our knowledge of the site’s history and hear your thoughts and interpretations of the site, and where you feel it’s potential lies.
Finally, at the culmination of the project, we will host a family meal in the newly restored attic. It will be a time to celebrate our hard work and experience the space in an entirely different way for the first time in many years. The Brown Homestead was a working family farm for nearly 200 years. The house has also been a tavern and inn, and the property is still surrounded by farms and wineries. We feel the experience would be incomplete without a shared meal. We should also mention (in case we haven’t already convinced you) that there may even be some delicious local wine.
The project will take place over two weekends, April 22-23 & April 29th-30th. The first weekend will focus on lifting, cataloguing, cleaning and repairing the floorboards. The second will focus on any remaining cleaning and repairs needed and relaying the boards. Be prepared for full days of learning, work and a good time. We will run from 8:30-4:30 with an hour for lunch. We will provide food, water and some tunes to keep us fueled during the work days.
There are a few things you will be asked to be prepared with if you decide to join us, but the main requirement is a good attitude and an open mind. Please e-mail our Project Coordinator Theresa Felicetti to learn more or sign up.