Categories
Restoration

Mansard Roof – Part 2

Be sure to check out Part 1, which covers the history and planning for the mansard roof.

This post covers the rebuilding of the original architectural inlaid gutters that wrap the house at the lower cornice.

Introduction

The original gutters were covered, and a k-style gutter hung on the outside.

Proper water management is critical for any building. Back in the 1990s, the original built-in gutters were covered, and k-style gutters hung on the outside. There were two major issues:

  1. The south side was not finished, so water had been rushing over the decaying soffit/fascia/brick for decades.
  2. The k-style gutters were insufficient in moving the volume of water produced by the mansard. The original built-in gutters are much larger, the original architect decided drainage.

Before

Here are photos of each side of the house with the covered gutters in various conditions, with the south side being the worst:

The most challenging and concerning aspect of this project was “the south side ruins”. Here are close-up photos showing the state of the inlaid gutters:

Carpentry

The team had to return to the rafters to bring the south side back to life. The rotted rafters were sistered to provide structure to build the new gutter boxes. Certainly, the biggest unknown going into the project.

We discovered that the outside of the gutter box had been trimmed to provide a slope for drainage of the galvanized metal covering into the k-style gutters. With this, a decorative piece was lost. Not only did the entire parameter of the gutter need to be increased in height, but the decorative trim needed to be added.

Mockup of the molding, ice & water shield, copper cleat, and gutter

Once the parameter framing was replaced, we turned our sights to the crown molding. We worked with Wood Innovations of St. Louis to produce the trim. We went with a hardwood, Sapele, and matched as close as possible to photos from our archives.

The crown molding serves more than decoration; it creates a structure for the copper cleat and drip edge.

Copper Inlaid

Once the carpentry was complete, the focus shifted to the copper inlaid. The first step was installing the copper cleat around the parameter. Each section was custom fabricated to fit and then soldered into place. Every dormer and chimney has a box projecting out, creating a lot of miters. All of the copper used is 20 oz.

Downspouts

With the architectural inlaid gutters brought back to life, all four of the downspouts were replaced with copper. Over the years, the downspouts had been replaced with PVC, and there was a mashup of different brackets.

After

The video starts with the downspouts, showing the new copper gutters surrounding the house, and ends with the new lower cornice with molding.

Photos of the rebuilt inlaid gutters:

How did the scary south side turn out? Here’s a before and after:

Conclusion

In order to protect and preserve this historic home, it all starts with water management. We couldn’t be more thrilled about what is next, the new slate roof!

At the time of writing, the team is halfway through laying the new slate. Here is a preview:

Thank you for reading, Michael and Alexandria

Categories
Restoration

Mansard Roof – Part 1

Two years in the making, this summer, we embark on the biggest project the house has seen this century, restoring the mansard roof.

Introduction

When we first set eyes on the house in 2019, we knew the roof would need some work. The extant of work would take time to unravel. In this post, we will review the history and details that make up this victorian mansard roof, along with covering the scope of work and timeline.

Here are a collection of photos showing the roof over the years.

Slate Mansard

We have spent the past two years working with consultants and contractors and researching the best path ahead for the mansard roof.

Delaminating slate on the west side

The Problem

The current slate roof faces three major issues:

  1. The slate was painted in the 1990s, and as a result, many tiles are beginning to delaminate.
  2. Most of the slate is Pennsylvania black, with a life span of about 100 years.
  3. A major valley flashing is beginning to fail, resulting in a leak that was “fixed” only to be undone by the expansion/contraction during the winter.

We hired a consultant in 2020 to assess the slate. Even though the slate had been painted, we were given a life expectancy of around 20 years. The primary issue is the combination of the delaminating slate and the failing flashing. Exploring the cost of fixing a major valley became the motivator for looking at the whole mansard roof.

The Solution

Some of the black and green slate that recently arrived.

We are replacing the slate with Vermont S1 grade slate, which has a life span of up to 200 years. We are closely matching the same “floral” pattern with a combination of black, green, and red slate tiles. All flashing is being replaced with 20-ounce copper, and the original inlaid gutters are being brought back to life.

Sorry, honey, your dream kitchen will need to wait.

– A brave husband named Michael

While the slate makes up most of what you see on the mansard roof, there is a lot of water management from restoring the built-in gutters, copper flashing, and dormers.

Architectural Built-in Gutters

Restoring the original built-in gutters is nearly equal in scope and complexity to replacing the slate. In the 1990s, the original built-in gutters were covered with galvanized steel, and aluminum k-style gutters were hung. We are going back to the original built-in gutters with 20-ounce copper.

The k-style gutter hung on the outside of the covered original built-in gutter.
The rusting covered built-in gutters with the k-style hung on the outside.

Dormers

Most of the metal work on the house is terne-coated steel. Three barrel dormers need restoration. Terne-coated steel requires painting and can show signs of rust in as little as a year 1. To preserve the architectural detail, the rust will be cleaned up, and a special coating applied.

An angle showing two of the barrel dormers.

Crown

The upper crown has seen better days. One of the first items is extracting a sample of the crown and sending it to our millwork company in St. Louis for reproduction. We are working with the same millwork company that has reproduced the interior casing seen in the library restoration.

The crown below the ridge cap is at the end of life.

Upper Gutters

When the flat roof above the mansard was installed in the 1990s, a k-style gutter was hung and painted red. We are replacing the aluminum gutter with copper, which will sit right above the new crown. Custom copper scupper boxes are being fabricated with 3-inch downspouts leading to the inlaid gutter.

Photo of the mansard roof in 1989 with original scupper boxes before the roof was painted.

Skylight

The backside of the mansard features a skylight door. It is the only window for one of the third-floor bedrooms and acts as an emergency exit. We are replacing the skylight door with a custom-ordered replacement from Velux coming from Denmark.

Radius Hip / Ridge

As mentioned, most of the metal is terne-coated steel. The radius hips and the ridge behind the front parapet will be replaced with copper.

Soffit & Fascia

The south-facing side of the house needs the most work. The number one issue was when the gutter system was hung in the 1990s; it was not continued all the way around. As a result, water has been running over the fascia and brick for decades. We are going to solve this problem by rebuilding the inlaid gutter. From there, we can replace the soffit and fascia. At a later point, we plan on repointing this side of the house.

Timeline

Below is an overview of where we are at the time of writing.

  • We finalized the construction plan in February. The goal was to start work in late spring.
  • The Vermont slate is ordered in March.
  • In late March, we learned there was a delay for the Vermont Black due to slowdowns at the quarry. Either we go with a Vermont Gray Black or wait an additional ten weeks for the Vermont Black. We chose to wait for the black, which closely matches what is original to the roof. Waiting for the black slate pushed the timeline from late spring into early summer.
  • The slate arrived in St. Louis in May. We are waiting on the copper and for the team to free up from their current project.
  • Scaffolding is erected the week of July 4th. First up is removing the existing roof, shoring up the decking for underlayment, and beginning work on the inlaid gutters.

Thank you for reading, Michael and Alexandria Morgan

  1. The Slate Roof Bible by Joseph Jenkins, Third Edition, page 285[]
Categories
Report

2021 Progress Report

This year has been the most transformative in terms of turning a house used as a B&B for decades back into its original intended purpose, a family home.

Family Room

A full write-up of our renovation of the family room is here.

This year, a major undertaking was renovating this 1980s addition, which served as the community room for the B&B.

Mars helping remove nine window sills.

Library

We made strides this year in the library. Be sure to check out our latest update here.

We end the year having refinished the original floor and recreating the ornate doorway into the Men’s parlor.

Porch

Last year we began the process of painting the porch. We continued this year by painting and replacing all of the exterior screens.

We have also continued working on the main french doors.

In the spring, we added porch gates for an increasingly curious toddler.

Men’s Parlor

As we get closer to finishing the library, we are preparing to tackle one of our favorite spaces in the house, the Men’s parlor. When we first moved in, it was still configured to be the game room for the B&B with a pool table and poker table.

Around the time we refinished the library floor, we moved the pool table from the Men’s parlor into the basement. The floors in the Men’s parlor are in good shape since there was a large carpet covering most of the heavy foot traffic.

Windows

One of the most important features of a historic building is its windows. Windows are like eyes for your home. All of the windows in the house (except the three in the mansard roof) are wood. Before we moved in, they had begun chipping. We have been in the process of restoring every window. We are happy to say we are now 20 windows in of what feels like countless.

I’ve learned that it’s a labor of love carefully scraping, sanding, sealing, reglazing, and painting these windows. I have chosen to take this on because this will be needed every 5-10 years.

Conclusion

We feel truly blessed and surrounded by community. On December 1st, we welcomed our twin girls into the world. The outpour of love and fellowship has been truly overwhelming. We chose Hermann to raise a family and restore a historic building; we couldn’t be happier with that choice.

We are excited for 2022 and continuing the restoration of this home. Stay tuned!

Categories
Restoration

Restoring the Library – Part 3

Be sure to check out Part 1 and Part 2 of the library restoration.

The restoration of the library continues with a focus on refinishing the floor and recreating the doorway to the Men’s parlor.

Flooring

The floor was quite literally a jigsaw puzzle for such a compact room. We were fortunate enough to get our hands on antique donor wood, which we reworked into the disrupted areas due to the previous kitchen.

Carpentry

We were surprised in Part 2 to discover a doorway to the Men’s parlor. The hard part was bringing back the original plinths, casing, rosettes, baseboards and more. We spent quite a bit of time scouring for artifacts looking for the originals in the basement. At times we got lucky, such as having the original door that fits like a glove. We also had several plinths and rosettes. When it came to the casing, we were not so lucky. We ended up having to recreate all of the casing on both sides of the doors.

Original used as the source to turn two new rosettes.

Recap

It is fun to look back on how much this space has changed, from a second B&B kitchen to being carefully restored to a library. We’re now in the home stretch of finishing this room! Next up is paint.

Categories
Renovation

Family Room

Our largest interior project we have taken on yet. The family room was added in the 1980s and is around 900 square feet. It was used as the reception and breakfast space for the B&B. As a result, it was by far the most in need of a refreshing. Since it’s our primary living room, it also sees the most action. Since this space was an addition, it is the only space we plan on using modern design.

Before: Community Room

When we moved in, this room was still very much a B&B community room. There was a reception desk, three dining tables, and a sitting area. Over our first year, this space naturally turned into our family room–especially an ideal space for a toddler.

Casing, Aprons & Sills

Before embarking on the prep work for painting, we took inventory of the windows. The room has nine windows total and needs updates. The window aprons that were originally chosen were too thick and protruded beyond the casing. The window sills were laminated MDF with a marble pattern.

The window sills were laminated MDF and the window apron protruded beyond the casing.

Needless to say, everything about this configuration needed to change. We fabricated custom window sills that better matched the style of the windows and replaced the window aprons with the proper thickness.

Painting

The room has nine windows, and we quickly learned about a winter tradition previously common, taping up over the windows. We spent more time removing goo from the casing and windows than painting.

A mockup of the paint selection and new window apron, including wet paint.

Double Doors

The main entry doors into the room has seen a lot of action over the years.

Flooring

The biggest part of this project was the floors. When you first entered the room, there was an elevated floor, and the remainder of the room was carpeted. It turns out that the commercial carpet is original to when the room was added. We knew we wanted to do away with the elevated entry, but we wrestled choosing the right flooring. Our goal has been hardwood throughout, but this is the main space for toddlers and a large dog. We ordered countless samples of everything under the sun, from engineered to rigid core. It’s amazing how few passed the “toddler-proof” test.

Lighting

There were three ceiling fans, likely original from the 1980s. We started with the main entry, replacing the fan with a 16-light chandelier.

There were eight outlets near the ceiling that we changed out for sconces. We replaced the other two fans with 12-light chandeliers.

Before & After

Conclusion

Renovating the family room is a project of projects, and we are happy it’s nearly done. Just in time, too, the twins are due in December!

Categories
Report

2020 Progress Report

We are excited about the momentum we have after our first year of working on the home. It has been a big year for our family. We moved from Florida to Missouri and soon welcomed our son into the world. With all of this change, we were able to kick off important projects for this house.

Victorian Porch

We chose to tackle painting the porch this year because it represents most of the house’s external wood. It was over 20 years ago since the entire porch was painted; the paint was chipping and had faded.

We were surprised when we first moved in; it turns out we had a major water feature built directly into our porch! The flat roof covering the gazebo had a major leak that had supposedly been fixed.

This leak turned out to be a larger problem than expected, and the entire portion of the roof had to be replaced. After replacing the roof, we turned to the ceiling that was ruined.

Here are progress photos:

Library Restoration

Having been a B&B for several decades, it only makes sense that there would be a second kitchen. We came across an old photo of this room and discovered it originally was the library. Being one of the smaller first floor rooms, it is one of the more complex. The library originally had a marble fireplace, one of the largest windows in the house, built-in wood cabinets with glass doors, and a doorway into the men’s parlor. We’re putting it back to how it was as close as we can. Be sure to checkout Part 1 and Part 2 of the library restoration on the blog for more detail.

Cast Iron Fence

One of the home’s most beautiful exterior features is the original cast iron fence with large limestone footers. Unfortunately, it has been playing a game of tug of war with the Missouri winters. The expansion and contraction have slowly pushed the left side of the fence, almost tipping over at one point. In February, it made a big move and jumped to the top of our list.

I lost track of the number of contractors and specialists that looked at this fence. I have to admit, in the end, I overthought my entire approach to rescuing this fence. We did find help, and it took a degree of finesse. Trenches were dug on the backside of both sides of the fence, and wood was used to move the footers back into place carefully. I had thought deadmen were the way to go, but after careful assessment, the engineering needed to protect the 133-year-old footers was overkill for the length of the fence. To help protect against the fence listing in the future, we’re using drainage on the backside to help during the winters.

Landscaping

One very large sick tree towered over the five-story house. We knew it was one bad storm away from a terrible consequence. We also took out two overgrown bushes that were eyesores.

Lamp Post

After trying multiple bulbs and flipping every switch we could find on the first level, the post would not light up. It wasn’t until removing an unpermitted room in the basement that I discovered electricity to the poll had been cut. We restored the electricity, and now the light post shines bright. Looking down from the third floor, it had started to rust. With a bit of prep, it only took a couple of hours to paint the lamp a fresh gloss black oil paint (refreshing quick win after countless hours of acrylic paints on the porch).

The Herzog Mansion front porch and lamp post shine again!
The Herzog Mansion front porch and lamp post shine again!

Basement

We love the basement; it’s the entire footprint of the historic home. It has an original coal room, cellar, and multiple large rooms. There was a nearly finished room that turned out not to be permitted. I ordered a construction container and demoed the room in a day. Fortunate to do so, discovered where electricity had been cut to the ladies parlor above. The entire basement had plaster ceilings originally, which had been largely removed. First time removing plaster, and I have to say, wow, that’s a messy job!

Conclusion

We are excited about the momentum going into 2021. Alexandria and I were reflecting recently on our first year in Hermann, and the main theme that surfaced was gratitude. We feel truly blessed to have been so warmly welcomed into the community.

What’s next? Wrap up the porch and library restoration. From there, we’re going to start painting exterior windows. There is still much to do!

Thank you for reading, The Morgan Family.

Categories
Restoration

Restoring the Library – Part 2

Be sure to check out part 1 of the library restoration.

The library has seen significant progress since removing the second kitchen this summer. Here is where we left off for reference:

After removing the second kitchen used by the bed and breakfast.

The first order of business, remove the layers of flooring, and expose the original wood:

To the left, evidence of a fireplace. The house originally had six marble fireplaces, only one original remain in the dining room.

The original wood underneath is in much better condition than we expected. There are three square openings for vents and various holes for plumbing the kitchen that will need to be plugged.

Next, we move on to the casing and trim around the historic window. This project was an undertaking, and we were fortunate to be working with a talented carpenter that was excited to take on the effort. Here is a picture of what we started with:

A little bit of everything was needed, from casing to filling holes, baseboard moulding, and intricate trim.

From casing to trim, there was a lot to put back in order:

Upon careful inspection, we know there was originally a doorway walled off leading from the library to the bathroom connected to the men’s parlor. We decided to give it a go and open it up:

To our surprise, the door jam was left in great shape. We also found the original door in the basement; perfect match!

Matt Heaney confirming the door fits! Nearly all of the doors and windows in the house are different sizes.
A new perspective emerges seeing the beautiful library window from the bathroom.
The library only had one entrance and always felt a bit disconnected from the rest of the house. Space flows much better with the door-way opened up.

What’s next? The final effort of this room is waiting on the following:

  • When we removed the walled-off doorway, we introduced a new problem: We don’t have enough original casing moulding to surround the door. We had the moulding custom milled in St. Louis. It’s now complete and ready for pick up.
  • The library originally had a marble fireplace. We have a hand-carved marble fireplace mantel surround coming in from New York scheduled to arrive this week. It took Alexandria months to make a decision, and it’s beautiful!
  • The transom above the door we opened up was originally stained glass, and we are working on having a replacement reproduced. It’s an interesting architectural element given that the transom “goes nowhere” but is there for consistency. We found that power was run to light the transom.

While our primary focus for 2020 has been on the exterior, we are excited about the progress of restoring our first room. We’re planning on posting updates on the victorian porch soon, so keep an eye out!

Thank you for reading,

Michael and Alexandria Morgan

Categories
Restoration

Restoring the Library – Part 1

When a house is used as a bed and breakfast for several decades, there are many remnants left behind. One such remnant is the second kitchen used for guest meals. We knew this space deserved more and decided it was the ideal candidate for the first room to undergo a full restoration.

The second kitchen before careful extraction.

The appliances and cabinets were in good condition, and fortunately, we were able to find a family that could take it all off our hands. My father-in-law was in town visiting from Florida, and together, we carefully dismantled the kitchen.

When we moved the cabinet holding the kitchen sink, we were delighted to see the original wood molding. Several pieces of trim were removed in order to install the cabinets. Lucky enough, we found nearly all of the missing trim piled together in a crawl space under the house.

Excited to uncover the original wood molding!

The library is an impressive little space. It is one of the rare areas with a builtin, has one of the largest windows in the house, and, for its size, originally had a fireplace. We also discovered a door had been walled off leading into the bathroom.

The next step in restoring the library is carefully pulling up the new flooring with the goal is restoring the original wood underneath, along with installing the original wood trim and opening up the door to the bathroom. Stay tuned!

The library after the second kitchen was removed.
Trim with original handmade nails intact, with a near-perfect match!
Categories
Restoration

Let there be light!

We heard it had been a long time since the front lamp shined bright, and now it shines again! We discovered that a portion of the electricity to the front of the house was cut (likely many years ago). It wasn’t until removing drywall in the basement that we came across the old junction box that provided power to not only the front lamp post but also the porch light and a portion of the outlets in the lady’s parlor.