Restoration 2016-12-19T09:31:15+00:00

2016 Winner of Outstanding Achievement Award for Heritage Conservation from the Heritage BC 35th Anniversary Awards.
To find out more please see Heritage BC.

Restoration

We are currently still working on this page. A little bit more time is needed to bring you a comprehensive list and stories all the work that went into restoring Wentworth Villa.

We appreciate your patience. Please check back shortly for more updates.

Whats to Come

  • The Foundation
  • Original Doors & Windows
  • Heating System
  • Wallpapers, Planster & Paint
  • Grand Hall
  • Finials & Posts

Beautifully renovated Grand Hall will be used for hosting our concert series, as well as special exhibitions, lectures and private events.

View Upcoming Events

Floor Boards

In order to repurpose the Villa into a public space, to house an architecture museum, many upgrades were needed. One substantial upgrade was the installation of a fire sprinkler system on all levels. In order to install sprinklers on the main floor level a difficult decision had to be made. Sacrifice the original plaster and associated ceiling papers (yes the villa had extensive ceiling papers) or pull up the floor boards on the second floor. The decision was made to undertake the install from above. All efforts were made to ensure nothing of heritage value was lost. All floors were thoroughly cleaned including the gaps between boards. Anything found of interest was documented and archived. The boards were then labelled and measurements were taken to document every boards exact location at every floor joist. This data was recorded and input to a spreadsheet for use during reinstallation. The floorboards were then removed from wall to wall of each room and stored on custom built racks.

After the sprinkler (and electric system) installation was complete, all boards were reinstalled, using the original clipped head square nails when possible, to the exact location prior to removal. The accuracy of the reinstallation is within 1/32nd of an inch.

The Balustrade

The complex wooden balustrade, mounted prominently on the south facing veranda roofline, lent a significant architectural feature and added detail to the Carpenter Gothic or Gingerbread styling of Wentworth Villa. Sometime between 1900 and 1905 this iconic balustrade, for some reason or another, disappeared from the front of the Villa.

The most aesthetic change to the Villa as part of the recent restoration has been the accurate re-construction of the balustrade. This re-construction included in-depth research of 19th century photographs and the incorporation of semi-visible steel support brackets. Every attempt was made to remain accurate to the original balustrade dimensions, proportions and material composition. Unbeknownst to the average viewer, due to the placement of the veranda posts and their relationship to the design, the balustrade includes over 127 different angles and 830 individual wood segments totalling 2510 board feet of clear vertical grain Fir.

The entire balustrade was built onsite and installed in segments in such a way that fasteners are concealed both from view and from deterioration while maintaining the ability to replace components as they age or deteriorate.With any luck the balustrade will never again be missing from its place upon the veranda rooftop over looking Fort street.

The Foundation

The single largest project of the Wentworth Villa restoration was undoubtedly the installation of a seismically reinforcing foundation.

To understand how substantial a project it was to install this foundation, it is helpful to picture what the Villa was supported by for 151 years. The frame of Wentworth rested on a mix of three types of foundation; brick piers, rough split Fir on flat rocks and granite rock chimney footings. The earth under the Villa is, unfortunately, not structurally supportive and it allowed all but the granite footings to sink into the soil. The crawlspace under the floorboards varried in height but was 24 inches at its highest point and 0 inches at its lowest. Due to the sensitivity of the surrounding gardens and other factors, the foundation was dug out by hand from the inside. Access to the crawlspace was via a hole in one side of the wrap around veranda.

During the installation, the crawlspace was increased to 36 inches deep and trenches for the new foundation were taken down to a more stable base or bed rock in many cases. A concrete foundation wall was installed around the perimeter of the building; the wall was designed in such a way that it encased and preserved the original foundation. Additional concrete footings with Fir posts were added intermittantly under the floor beams.

It was decided not to re-level the building and instead Wentworth was secured in its settled state. Over the past years, adjustments had been made to the windows, doors, thresholds, hearths and floorboards in order to accommodate the settling of the building and it would detract from the accumulated character of the building to return it to its original state.

Now that the Wentworth Villa foundation is complete we can be certain the Villa will last to elighten generations to come.