Flagpole Obelisk Restored and then some…

As mentioned in last week’s entry, our mason Mike Threet and his apprentice Ty Guinn did a stellar job replacing all of the abalone detail to and repairing the fissures of the thin “flag pole” obelisk.  This past week we were able to see this work and the beautifully executed steel exoskeleton in all their glory as Taylor’s team removed the scaffolding. To ensure nothing damages this amazing artifact during the construction phase of our project, they installed a strong protective barrier around its base. We look forward to the day when all of the work is complete and this barrier can be permanently removed, once again fully revealing the obelisk and all of the hard work Mike, Ty and Andrew our welder put into restoring this unusual and beautiful Kenneth Kitchen creation.

Taylor’s team also laid down a nice solid plywood cover over the terra cotta tile veranda of the Yogi Temple to protect this during construction. It was nice to see this go down to ensure we keep this lovely tile work in good shape through out the duration of our project.

Having finished the southern side obelisk, Mike and Ty have returned to working on the well house, putting great care into completing the recreation of the four corner columns of our homage to this historical structure. Mike’s keen eye for detail and creative imagination have ensured that this new work blends in beautifully with Kenneth Kitchen’s original brick and mortar work, resulting in a finish to these corner pieces that is both structurally sound and aesthetically pleasing.

Mike and Ty have also begun restoring the detailed edge work along the northeast corner of the Yogi Temple roof line that was all but completely destroyed over time. The brick work components of this are now in place. Next week Mike will be determining the best approach toward replicating the abalone detail work that can be seen along the southeast edge of the roof line.

Once this is completed, Taylor and our roofing contractors will be able to complete the installation of the new roof being lain over the original concrete slab Kenneth Kitchen laid down as the floor for what would have been the 2nd story of this historic structure, ensuring that going forward rain will no longer pool and cause further damage to the temple. To achieve this Taylor and team have designed the new roof with a slight angle running toward the back roofline, allowing rain to run toward new gutters they will place along the back of the building. None of this will be visible from the front of the building, other than a small amount of copper flashing, allowing us to keep the original facade of the building while ensuring it will be well protected going forward.

Taylor also met the challenge of designing the roof to be as light as possible, to minimize additional weight to this historic structure. To achieve this, Taylor chose Rockwool insulation for its light weight, durable, fire proof and ecological characteristics. Additionally, as standard solar panels would require heavier support components, he was able to track down an alternative light weight solar panel solution that does not require such added structural elements, thus allowing us to achieve our plan to have solar panels across the Yogi Temple roof that are not be visible from the front of the building. Kudos to Taylor and his creativity towards helping us achieve this goal!!

To add to all of this great progress, we received the arched wood windows for the Yogi Temple, which Taylor’s team primed in preparation for installation next week. We are super thrilled to see progress on this step in the temple restoration and look forward to having them all installed. Taylor has also indicated that the new doors should also arrive and be installed soon! Having all of the new windows and doors in place will definitely be a significant milestone in our restoration work.

This week also saw the earth moving team finish compacting and leveling the site for both the detached garage with ADU above and our single family home on the south side of the property. It’s really exciting to see the site taking shape and will be even more exciting to see the foundation work develop over the next several weeks.

I’m also happy to report that I was able to join the team on site for one day this week to contribute a small amount towards helping clean the pillars along the front of the Yogi Temple. Ty began this work by cleaning three of the pillars as well as the upper portion of the front facade. I was able to continue, though couldn’t fully complete, the work on the remaining pillars. It’s truly amazing how water, scrub brushes and a lot of good old fashioned elbow grease does to make these artifacts really stand out and shine. Removing decades of grime, lichens and other aging elements is truly gratifying work. I can’t wait to get back out there and do more!

Doug and I also enjoyed entertaining a few passer by visitors on site Saturday morning while we were there admiring the week’s progress. We were honored to meet Peter, a local Aptos artist, and his wife Melanie, as well as their relatives visiting from New Zealand who they were touring around Santa Cruz. We loved sharing our story and the interesting history of this amazing property. I also got the chance to give another little visitor, Gino, our nearby Plateau Street neighbor Penny’s grandson, the thrill of seeing the big earth moving machinery close up. He may be a little guy, but he knows everything about each of the pieces of equipment on our property and was really excited for the opportunity to see these up close. I think we may have a future earth moving expert on our hands!

We sincerely hope you have enjoyed this week’s progress report and pictures. We look forward to sharing more news in the coming weeks and hope you will continue to follow our project.

4 Comments Add yours

  1. jczelusta says:

    Howdy, neighbor! We live around the corner from you, on Chace near John. Just came across this blog, and wanted to say thanks for the love, elbow grease, and literary talent you’re investing in this project. Our four-year-old enjoys riding his bike past your property to catch a glimpse of the workers and their machines. He likes to ask, “What are they doing with the Court of the Mynsteries (sic)?” Now we know! Hope we get a chance to meet in-person one of these days. Keep up the great work.


    1. Hello! Nice to “meet” you 😉 and, thank you. We are thrilled to be the new owner/stewards of this amazing historic property. If you would like a personal tour sometime we are happy to show you what we’ve been doing 🙂


  2. Melanie Vizzusi says:

    Artina and Doug, thanks so much for the personal tour last weekend. My brother and his partner thought it a great treat. I am thrilled to see the continued push towards restoration. I love this place!


    1. It was wonderful meeting you, Peter and your brother and partner (Scott and Christine?). We look forward to seeing you in the future. We would love to see the website for Peter’s glass works. Can you send that? Also Christine’s (?) website.


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