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Works Begins on the William Bailey House

Work has recently begun on the William Bailey House in Vaughan. A Gothic Revival cottage dating from the mid-19th century, it will undergo a comprehensive exterior restoration while the interior is transformed into a commercial unit with residential on the second floor.

The house has some unusual features that make restoration an interesting challenge. When the building was constructed, there was a small basement under a third of the house; the rest of the house was built over a shallow crawlspace with foundations laid just below grade - about 12" deep. It seems that a previous owner, wanting a furnace room, decided to excavate under the north side of the building - without adding deeper foundations. The result was a basement with not only a dirt floor, but dirt walls - and a stone foundation perched on top. As it was naturally rather damp, the furnace was kept off the floor on four concrete blocks!

The furnace room. You can just see the stone foundation sitting on top of the dirt walls under the joists.

Working with Tacoma Engineers, we have developed an approach that will allow us to retain the existing foundations with limited intervention. In the north wing, we will be pouring a new slab that ties the existing foundation together; elsewhere, our scope will be limited to masonry repair.

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