The screening and scaffolding that surrounded Dickinson House since April has been removed, revealing a pristine, vibrant and colourful renewed exterior. The project started in November 2019 with a complete laser scan of the exterior which allowed the staff of CSV Architects to map out all of the areas of deterioration and form a plan for restoration. Madison Construction Ltd. started work in January 2021 by removing all of the shutters and the storm windows. These items were taken to the company workshop for repair or rebuilding as required.
Scaffolding was erected in March of 2021. The construction team started at the top and scraped down all of the loose and damaged paint. Once the scraping was finished, the damaged portions of the trim and siding were removed. Useable portions of the siding were then used to repair smaller areas. The siding and trim boards had originally been milled in Dickinson’s own sawmill, but to a pattern not presently commercially available. Special cutters were made and replacement siding and trim were cut from Eastern pine, to match the original profile on the house.
Once the wood repairs were complete, all the small holes, cracks and surface blemishes were caulked and primed. The entire house was then painted. Visitors familiar with Dickinson House will notice that the walls are now a lighter shade of yellow and the shutters a somewhat softer green than previously. The major change is the pale green on the storm windows and certain other window frames. When asked about this change, CSV stated “Our rationale for revising the colour scheme is based on our review of historic photos of the house. We discovered that the storm windows were not always painted white. Using the pale green on the storm windows will give some variation and interest while allowing the detailing of the white window casings to shine. The white window frames behind the storms will still be visible from the exterior.”
With regard to the shutters, CSV stated “The slight shift to a green with more olive undertones is in keeping with the spectrum of heritage colours of the period and is more harmonious with the house’s current shad of yellow. Looking at the paint layers on the shutters, there were different shades of green used over time. We definitely wanted to keep the green, but make a selection that is slightly softer.”
The painting was completed on 21 May and the shutters, doors and storm windows were replaced. Final paint touch-up and detailing was completed June 2.
As of this date, Dickinson house stands ready to greet visitors, when COVID-19 restrictions permit, with a new, refreshed exterior which will last for many years to come. Many thanks to the City of Ottawa, CSV Architects and Madison construction for a timely job well done.