What's the Future Ever Done for Me?

Anatomy of a House

My old house in Parkdale was in need of a serious face lift. Despite having spent considerable time and money 18 years ago, the porch and facade had deteriorated to the point of embarrassment.


The decorative medallions had rotted and given the squirrels and birds a chance to get in..

It was a wildlife condo with no maintenance fees.

The first step was the porch and columns which had also rotted.


My friend Dan, a carpenter came over to help. We jacked up one side and pulled the column. My original intention was to replace the wooden bases and clean/patch the columns. However, once removed I found the base was infested with carpenter ants and the column itself in need of considerable work.


I called Roman Columns in Mimico and he had brand new fibreglass replacements in stock for $275.00 each!


Dan and I replaced both of them in about 3 hours (I painted them the night before).

Next we stripped the deck  off the porch and made any repairs to the base.



Next up was the medallions and trim up top.

A different Dan came over and we set up the scaffold.


I removed the rotted inserts and years of debris that the animals had left behind including a mummified squirrel…


I originally thought we could cut new pieces by hand out of marine grade plywood but it was obvious that this was beyond both of our capabilities.

A quick call to John K. (a film carpenter with a CNC machine) solved this problem.

His company in Mimico, Motion Designs.

He came to the house, picked up the plywood and returned the next day with new panels,

designed by John, cut by the computer.



These were primed/painted and installed the next day.

A heavy duty wire screen (painted black) was attached to the back of each piece. I had previously used a lighter gauge screen door mesh which wasn’t as strong.

ALWAYS use a harness when working on a scaffold!


And there you have it, as good as new.

There’s still painting details to finish up.

Below is what the house looked like in 1998.


P.S. A mixture of Borax, sugar, honey and boiling water has proved a good deterrent to the ants.

P.P.S. I buried the mummified squirrel.



One last detail was to trim out the column bases.


14 responses

  1. Lynda

    Beautiful work!

    July 17, 2016 at 9:08 am

  2. Janice Murray

    Lovely house! I grew up at 116 Garden Ave. Always wondering what it looks like now.

    July 17, 2016 at 9:28 am

  3. Tim James

    She’s a Beauty!

    July 17, 2016 at 9:33 am

    • Thanks
      I’ll post a picture of what it looked like 20 years ago.

      July 17, 2016 at 9:46 am

  4. sonyxmax

    Nice work. I dig the colour scheme, too. Feels very heritage and respectful. Always gratifying to see a grand old dame given the respect she deserves.

    July 17, 2016 at 10:37 am

  5. Jane

    Nicely done, Greg!

    July 17, 2016 at 11:17 am

  6. When I started stripping the paint years ago, I found original colours underneath the 14-20 layers of paint and based the new colours on those.

    July 17, 2016 at 11:17 am

  7. liz

    I was born and grew up in Parkdale,, what i would like to know, is where is the house, Please let me know,,, thanks,, and well done

    July 17, 2016 at 11:21 am

  8. sonyxmax

    Makes sense, G. We’re going to be repainting the interior and exterior of our house later this summer and we’ll be going for a heritage vibe as well…. it’s of a similar vintage but not nearly as grand as your digs.

    July 17, 2016 at 11:55 am

  9. James R Weekes

    Thanks Greg for helping to preserve the historic fabric of the city. I wish our politicians would encourage this type of restoration on more buildings in private hands with low interest loans. There are so many storefronts in the city that are worth restoring (looking up one storey from the street level usually shows the great potential). I don’t know of many cities with as little political regard for historic architecture as Toronto, so thanks for doing your part on so many levels.

    July 17, 2016 at 11:57 am

    • Many American States offer tax incentives to owners who preserve/improve historic houses.
      In Toronto they just raise your taxes…

      July 17, 2016 at 3:49 pm

  10. Gorgeous! Back from the brink.

    August 15, 2016 at 10:45 am

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