Tuxedo farmhouse returns to its 1888 dignity

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Tuxedo farmhouse returns to its 1888 dignity

Postby newsposter » Thu Dec 01, 2005 6:23 pm

Farmhouse returns to its 1888 dignity


Calgary Herald

Thursday, December 01, 2005

In 1993, our family lived in a small bungalow in Bankview and a good friend of mine, Maryian Trnski, owned 220 30th Ave. N.E.

I was looking for a large lot in the inner city, and Maryian suggested that I buy his property. I viewed it and turned him down. It was a four-suite apartment carved out of an old farmhouse that was in a terrible state of repair, with 40 years' worth of tenants' trash built up in the weed-infested yard. The basement had flooded many times and some of the main posts in the house had sunk so much the floors above tilted and all the plaster was falling off the walls. The old windows were broken and fixed with poly and duct tape. For the price, I could not make it work.

The house was originally built in 1888 by Joseph Leycock, who homesteaded on the land, which is now Tuxedo Park. The sturdy fir timber home went through many owners, tenants, renovations and disasters and had survived them well enough to continue to be rented, but the place was on the ropes. Many owners before me had planned to rip it down or renovate it but never had.

After meeting one of the tenants of the home through another friend, I toured the property again in greater detail. The size of the lot, its location and history intrigued me and I concluded that the worst problems with the home were not impossible to fix.

A few months later, the price came down and we bought it, evicted one of four tenants and moved in.

We investigated getting a Heritage Grant to fund renovation work, but due to the restrictive nature of the grants, we would have had to restore everything in the house to the original materials and plans. In the end, we didn't want a drafty old farmhouse. We wanted a totally upgraded, but original-looking home, so we created a plan of our own to restore it.

I began a progressive renovation and completely rebuilt the substructure of the house and removed all the interior framing and windows and rebuilt everything. The exterior of the home is almost identical to the original except for the basement entrance and the roof dormer. We upgraded all the electrical, plumbing and heating, and chose original period-style finishing.

I still have a large job jar of unfinished items, but I think that we have done a great job and we did get the look and feel that we wanted in our home. The costs we have incurred are now looking less drastic as real estate surges onward in this town.

Toni, Tim and I have no plans to move and will continue to upgrade and fine-tune the place as time goes on. We love the place and will likely never move.

Send us your contribution to Where We Live. Please keep your story to 450 words. E-mail to Neighbours@theherald.canwest.com.

© The Calgary Herald 2005
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