Friday, January 4, 2013

Uncovering an Architectural Treasure in Alameda California


Uncovering an Architectural Treasure
The Restoration of 1837 Clinton Avenue

Thursday, January 31, 2013 at 7:00 pm

Immanuel Lutheran Church: 1420 Lafayette Street, Alameda, CA 94501
(Parking available at the corner of Chestnut Street and Santa Clara Avenue.)
Free for AAPS members; $5 for non-members

Long-time Alameda restorer and preservationist, Jim Smallman, will share his experiences in the marvelous rebirth of an extraordinary Joseph A. Leonard mansion-scale home.
This two year project included new foundation, structural upgrading, new electrical service and interior rewiring, all new plumbing, major interior repairs, a tasteful new kitchen that blends well with its historic setting, and simply beautiful color treatments, inside and out.
The most unusual aspect of this project may also be the most obvious to passersby.  For nearly fifty years the house was entombed in stucco.  The conventional wisdom might suggest that such a treatment condemns a house to permanent ugliness.  However, there were intriguing bulges and patterns that hinted that much of the original exterior ornamentation might have survived underneath.

Jim will show how the stucco was efficiently removed, and how the underlying Queen Anne ornamentation was brought back to life. He will share his experience identifying obstacles and opportunities in assessing a home’s potential for restoration. Also, highlights relating to costs and strategies, and some tricks that saved money and improved the final result will be revealed.

Jim shares his practical experience acting as his own general contractor, performing project management with the many subcontractors.  He will be available to answer questions, and will distribute a contact list of the craftspeople who worked on this extraordinary project. This is a meeting not to be missed!

Jim Smallman bio

Jim Smallman has been active in Alameda preservation and restoration for more than forty years.  He bought his first Victorian here (2242 San Antonio) in 1971.  This neglected house had been divided into five units and for the next decade he restored it as a single family house.

 Along the way, he became President of the then named, Alameda Victorian Preservation Society, and in that role was instrumental in saving a circa 1880 Stick-style house slated for demolition.  (The Society bought the house for $1 and moved it.)  As an investment, Jim also bought 2246 San Antonio, a much altered Italianate cottage, and restored it.

1833 and 1837 Clinton Avenue were acquired in 1978 but waited until Jim’s retirement for their restoration. 1837 was restored over a two-year period, 2009-2010; 1833 is being restored now.

Jim is a University of California, Berkeley graduate.  He worked fourteen years developing construction management software for Kaiser Engineers, part of the forty years he spent developing industrial computer applications.  After retiring from the industry, he taught mathematics in high school for ten years in Southern California.

Finally returning home to Alameda in 2008, he reconnected with Alameda’s preservation movement and is active today. Jim Smallman and the craftsmen involved with the restoration of 1837 Clinton Avenue received an AAPS Preservation Award in 2010.

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