Posted by: PearlSBuckHouse | 05/08/2012

Exposing the Beams: April 16 – 30, 2012

By the end of April, 2012 visitors to the Pearl S. Buck House were able to see the exterior work begin to shift from a dismantling, excavation, and slate roof removal phase to one of restoration where all surfaces from the ground level to the tops of the chimneys began to come back together.

At the northeast corner of the House, the stone pavers were re-set and re-pointed enabling a smooth transition from where the new cement walkway meets the pavers.Image

The flagstones of the upper terrace have begun to be fully re-set and re-pointed. 

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At the lower terrace, the southern planter walls and the basement access walls were re-pointed and work to install a sump pump in the basement interior corner of the same stairwell got underway.

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The contractors involved with this phase of restoration work have been incredibly cooperative with our daily tours and at times they had to cease what they were doing so visitors could hear their docent’s interpretation of the interior rooms of the House. 

Work to restore the lower flagstone terrace was also underway and you can just imagine how heavy the stones are as evidenced by this photo, where the contractors are using a steel beam and pulley system to lower the stones into place. 

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The upper and lower tiers are now connected by a newly restored set of stairs, increasing visitor safety as the height of the stair treads were made the same and stabilized by a reinforced concrete sub-base under each stair tread.  Once the new railings are installed the overall results will be just stunning in comparison to the prior conditions of these stairs.

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Credit: Wu & Associates

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Credit: Wu & Associates

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The slate roof over the Mud Room roof and the Richard Walsh Bedroom was installed, as well as new copper ridge vents, flashing and two rows of snow guards.  Once the exterior wood siding is reinstalled at the dormers and sealant installed at all new flashing locations, these sections of the roof will be finished. 

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The northern and southeast/southwest exposure of the Small Library slate roofs were completed and new copper flashing, ridge vent and snow guards were installed.

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The newly fabricated second floor window and window sill located on the northeastern side of the home, providing daylight into the former children’s bathing room were installed, along with new copper flashing contributing to greater flow of water run-off.

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Once the new window is painted, these interior renovations to the Yellow Bathroom window will be virtually unnoticeable to visitors as the window will appear intact as if it has always been the smaller size opening.

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All four of the chimneys of the House and one located in the Cottage wing are receiving much needed attention.  In order to properly install new chimney caps, the old mortar will be replaced with new prior to installation of the caps. Undertaking this work may require nerves of steel unless one is comfortable at working at such heights.

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Credit: Wu & Associates

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The stone pavers and steps which run in front of the northern terrace and along the edge of the award-winning pond installed by Pearl S. Buck will be re-set and re-pointed further enhancing visitors’ safety and enjoyment as they tour the beautiful floral and water gardens and foliage.

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It appears that the discovery of hidden treasures is coming to an end, as during this period of work only a few additional pieces of pottery were found.

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