One of the things we knew about Slide View was that to help it live up to its potential was going to be a lot of work and cost some cash. In fact, way more cash than was in the budgets due to skyrocketing prices for raw materials in the construction industry. But with a little help from friends (and some payment in beers), we have been able to keep the project ticking along.
As we started to demolish the rest of the internal structures and remove the bathroom and kitchen, it became apparent that we had some stumbling blocks in our design and plan to overcome. Some fairly easy, others not so much.
We always had it in the plan to remove fossil fuels as energy sources for the building. So with a couple of offending oil burning appliances and a propane powered cooker ready to be removed, we had no problems in removing the walls they were attached to. We also planned to reconfigure the plumbing and bathroom(s) for the way the new house will be used. We're so pleased we already took both of these decisions as we would have had some big surprises if not.
As we removed the bathroom, it became clear there had been some leaks during the life of the building. The floor was soft like oatmeal beneath the bath :( and as we removed the tile, one of the walls, sheathing came away to reveal... no insulation in that external wall. This was a surprise but explains why the pipes froze a couple of times this winter. We also found a reasonable amount of mould and damp boards on the floors and walls. In the pictures below, when we removed the boards from the walls, the only insulation in there was the pink fibreglass you see at the bottom of the first picture. This has sort of been the story of the external walls of this building, Every day, a new surprise!
And speaking of insulation surprises... Below are just of some of the things we did find in walls when there was actually something in there! A lot of the older part of the building was insulated with wood shavings and over time this has settled. While in the bathroom wall there was no insulation, in the rest there was at least some, but some walls had only around 50% at the bottom of the wall with shavings in. This means that as far as insulation goes, the walls of this house were probably only around 50-75% as insulated as the builder originally planned for. One wall just had a piece of cardboard as the insulation. Another was partly stuffed with old newspaper. At the bottom of one wall was just a bunch of leaves... and a mummified bird. That was a fun find. Add to that a mix of wasp nests, dead creepy crawlies and an invoice from 1960, to what I assume is the original builder/owner,
I've felt like more of an archaeologist or social historian at some points of this demolition. And the demolition is almost done! We have a little drywall to remove, the metal on the roof and an exterior wall that needs to come off completely and then we can start putting things back together.
Now, in a #DawsonCity spring, we can really see how swampy and generally poor the drainage is on-site. This is something we will have to integrate into our management plan for the landscaping of this site. We are lucky to be surrounded by some beautiful Willow trees and see these as an essential part of the landscaping, however, our landscaping design is going to change somewhat to try to work with the ground conditions we have but improve the utility of the gardens on this lot. We're back to the drawing board on this!
Needless to say, the work on Slide View will not be a quick project. Particularly as we have so much going on for the team right now.
We have also been working on our annual reflective summary which includes our accounts for 2020, these will both be published on our site soon so that people can see what we've been up to, what has not been great and what has gone well for the last year. Transparency is an important part of our philosophy so if we are going to publish something internally, we think our customers, colleagues and friends should be able to see it too. If it's not for public consumption we have to ask ourselves why... and so far, we have been unable to find anything we had a reason not to share.
We have been fortunate to welcome a new team member with responsibility for operations at #DawsonLodge and her amazing experience and general enthusiasm and loveliness makes her a great complement to the team. Her experience in both retail and hospitality means that we have a fresh pair of eyes looking at how we work evaluating our processes and challenging our choices. And then making things better! We love to learn from new people, every new mind augments the hive... Oh wow that sounds sinister... but accurate. We all bring something to the table and we all need each other for Yukon Spaces to continue doing great work (and then even greater work).