Let the restoration begin!
It’s been over 2.5 years since we purchased the historic landmark Kenneth Kitchen, Court of Mysteries property, but we now have our permits to begin the restoration work and build of our new home at 515 Fair Ave. It was a long journey, but we learned a ton about the building planning process and are finally launched on the restoration work to bring to life the Red Brick Castle and it’s surrounding artifacts. Many thanks to Samantha Haschert and team at the SC Planning/Building office for their patience and help getting us through this process!
To kick off the restoration work, Mike Threet, our local mason and his compadre Ty are hard at work deconstructing the Well House. It’s arduous work, but they are consummate professionals, taking care to salvage the decorative sandstone & abalone pieces, as well as much of the historic brick work, that we will be using to build a beautiful surround above ground around the in ground stone well that Kenneth built and help us to use these historic materials to restore elements of the other artifacts.
Our plan is to place a fountain within the newly built up surround around the well and cap a remaining few feet of the walls around the terra cotta floor/foundation with a bench top to create a peaceful homage sitting area under a lovely Jacaranda tree when the work there is complete.
If passing by, you will also see that scaffolding has been raised around the southern “needle” or “flag pole” obelisk to allow the team to carefully attach structural retrofit supports that will allow us to keep this unique artifact, which is a key component of the symmetry to the property. Mike will also be making repairs to the obelisk to address fissures and other time-worn damage done to this artifact. We are thrilled to have been able to find a solution that allows us to retain this obelisk, which many said might need to be removed.
In addition to Mike Threet and Ty, our General Contractor (GC) Taylor Darling of Santa Cruz Green Builders and his amazing team are beginning the work to establish new electrical wiring for the Yogi Temple, or Red Brick Castle. New windows and doors have also been ordered and will be installed soon, a step we are all very excited to see completed as it will allow natural light to shine through the temple for the first time in decades.
In the coming weeks the south and southwest sections of the historic wall will be carefully deconstructed, which will allow us to salvage sections of this wall to be used at a later date to rebuild the missing or broken sections along the front, east facing, portions of this wall, which will remain as representative elements of this artifact. This deconstruction work will also allow us to complete the beautiful horizontal wood fence along the north, west and south sides of the property. Taylor’s team began this work along the north and west sections a few weeks ago, partnering with our surrounding neighbors, to create this lovely new fence. Everyone involved is very pleased with Taylor’s team’s work and we are all excited to see this element of the project completed in the coming weeks.
Grading of the property that will allow us to lay the utilities and begin the foundation work for the new detached garage and our future home will also begin in the next few weeks. We are thrilled this is now on the schedule and excited to see this critical step begin. We know our neighbors will be glad when this heavy work is finished!
To help provide added security for the property/project, my husband, Doug Harr, along with Taylor’s electrician, David, have set up a Ring camera system, which includes a “doorbell” attached to the front security fence allowing neighbors and inquisitive passers by to contact us should the need or interest arise. If passing by you will also see Doug posted a small sign by the doorbell that lists this blog/website so that anyone interested can track the progress of the project and contact us with any questions.
We feel so blessed to be members of the Santa Cruz community and to have the fortune to own this property and be a part of its history as the new stewards of these unique artifacts. Please feel free to reach out to us with any questions you may have about our project.