Hogan/Belcourt house conservation – Part 6: Interior

Continuing with our conservation series of blogs on the Hogan/Belcourt house on River Lot 24 in St. Albert.

Once the plan for the restoration of the interior of a house is developed the physical work of restoration begins. The Standard and Guidelines for Conservation requires that we conserve as much as possible the original materials of the structure. When we have to replace materials we are required to use similar material, “like for like” is the mnemonic for this approach.

Working from one room to the next we start by removing broken or damaged structural elements, removing rotten boards, lead paint, black mold, and finishes on interior surfaces of walls and ceilings. We rebuild each room replacing removed materials with materials of the same or a similar type. (See pictures #1 and #2) When it is unavailable or on occasion unfeasible to use similar material we need to note the change and rational for the change.

When we restore family homes we quite often have to meet new building codes and standards of safety for buildings that will now become public buildings.  Public safety is always a concern and although we can often “grandfather clause” original structural design elements, we work to incorporate safety features into the design phase of the restoration plan.

In the Hogan/Belcourt house, for example, we had to incorporate a safety wall at the base of the stairs to the second floor where there was none originally. (See picture #3) We also added a ramp to provide for freedom of access. These alterations are beneficial to ensure the public have a safe and enjoyable time while visiting the restored houses at our heritage site.

For more information about other restoration work at the St. Albert heritage sites go to: Restoration work at St. Albert Heritage sites