Location: East Providence, RI
The Philip Walker House was acquired by Preserve RI int he late 1980s. The house remained vacant and untouched for about 30 years, until a new directive from Preserve Rhode Island in 2008 sought to make the house inhabitable again. HRI was contracted to gut the 1960’s kitchen and bathroom, and to leave the rest of the house essentially intact, besides a few service upgrades. Yet after the kitchen and bathroom frame was exposed, HRI discovered a few significant issues.
About 100 years ago, workers covered severe structural damage in the the gable end timber frame, adjacent to the 1890’s Kitchen. The deteriorated sill had caused the building to drop about 2-4 inches and the building’s weight transferred inappropriately to the central chimney. There was so much pressure that the chimney began to to crack and fail. The challenge was releasing the weight from the chimney, repairing the frame, and trying to stabilize the chimney. Unfortunately, the 1st floor original chimney surround and related flue (that was modified in about 1870 and 1950) had to be removed to a stable point, and left as a study to showcase the evolved chimney mass.
HRI stitched back the frame, installed some steel to help transfer the load and prevent the building from racking, rebuilt part of the foundation, replaced the heating system, insulated open walls, installed a new bathroom and kitchen, repaired all of the house’s plaster, and completed some of the first coats of paint.