Wow! What a difference a week makes! Serious progress was made on the well house homage, the exoskeleton for the “flagpole” obelisk and the yogi temple restoration and … wait for it …. the overall grading of the property began!!
To start things off, Mike & Ty were able to get the well house safely down to the seating level that will remain, and we selected a nice seat cap to create the bench top for this remaining wall height. We are all excited to see the final restoration and finish work that will create a beautiful homage area here, but now that we have it brought to a safe height, there are some key priority’s on other areas of the project Mike will be focusing on first. Next up will be his restoration work on the “flagpole” obelisk (up the scaffolding he goes!), and in the coming weeks he will also be teaming up with Taylor’s team to salvage the north and northwest sections of the historic wall, which will be used to rebuild the remaining front (east facing) sections of the historic wall. More to come on this in the next few weeks.
Next, let us introduce Andrew Watts and his crew of Cal Pac Mobile Welding, our metal fabricators, who made significant progress applying the long term, steel exoskeleton stabilization to the “flagpole” obelisk. The stabilization design developed by our structural engineer, Dale Hendsbee, of Mesitti-Miller Engineering, and our historic architect, Nancy Goldenberg, of Carey & Co, is being executed beautifully by Andrew and his team. The metal components were selected specifically so that they will patine nicely to blend in over time with the historic brick, but we all feel it also adds a nice element to the history of this structure that allows it to remain standing. We couldn’t be more impressed and thrilled with the results!
Next, Taylor’s team, Patrick and David, have been hard at work on the Yogi Temple. After the temporary wood patch was removed from the roof, we all got a chance to see how much natural light would be offered if we added simple skylights into the new roof plan, right above the mysterious “stairwell to nowhere.” Ok, so it’s not really to “nowhere” as Kenneth Kitchen had originally planned a second story for the red brick castle, what we now affectionately call the yogi temple, but he left Santa Cruz before finishing the work he began in the 1940’s. As a result, there is a beautiful terra cotta and abalone detailed stairwell inside that, technically, leads to “nowhere.” We determined awhile ago that we will not be able to complete that originally planned second story due to a concern for structural integrity, so we are enclosing the structure with a new roof and have decided to add skylights to let natural light shine in from above to showcase the stairwell artifact nicely.
Taylor also met with Kurt Hurley, our Green Building Specialist with the City of Santa Cruz, to review our Green Point Checklist, to ensure we are on track for meeting state and local green building requirements. Kurt says we are on track and doing great! He gave us some additional ideas we will definitely be considering in order to include as many possible ways to be “green,” in addition to the many ways we already have scoped out in our plans.
I personally spent three days weeding the interior courtyard and front of the property. A big ‘thank you’ to Doug and the guys for pitching into help with this! Those crazy weeds were turning into a forest! Additionally, to test our cleaning method, I gently washed dirt off of sections of the south facing wall of the yogi temple. It really is amazing how just a bit of “elbow grease,” water and a soft brush will take off decades of grime, lichens and soot. You’ll see in the before and after pictures how the bricks and abalone detailing come to life and shine with just a little TLC. We can’t wait to see the entire place glow after we complete this work. It will take time and many Epsom baths to recover our sore muscles, but it will be well worth the effort!
And last, but definitely not least, E&S Trucking began the grading work!! This is a huge step that we have been waiting over two years to see happen. It started this week with Eric (aka “Biggie”) applying his artful scraping of the top layer of decades of weeds to get to the beautiful layer of “clean” dirt below. Eric is truly an artisan with his bull dozer and CAT, as he is able to nimbly get around this historic property, carefully avoiding the historic artifacts and plants that will remain with consummate skill. Bill, his boots on the ground partner in this, hosed down the dirt as Eric scraped to keep the dust down. Such a critical component of this work! We and our neighbors truly appreciate it. Thank you, Bill!! Eric and Bill are near done with the scraping phase, which has had their dump truck crew busy all week taking load after load of weedy top soil off site to be repurposed; next they will be digging in (excuse the pun) to the actual grading of the property to meet the site plans and prepare the foundation area for Taylor’s crew to begin the construction of our future home.
There are insufficient words to express all of our gratitude and happiness. We are so thrilled to be the new stewards of this amazing property, and can’t begin to thank all of our contractors for their hard work and amazing talents that are bringing our vision for this property to life. It’s truly a dream come true.
Many thanks to all of our neighbors and interested passers-by intrigued by our project. We are humbled and grateful to be a part of your community.
Stay tuned for more progress reports each Friday/Saturday!