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The Globe and Mail

Under the pigeon poo: Restoring an old Brampton mansion

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Alderlea, an 1865 Italianate mansion in Brampton, Ontario currently under restoration. North elevation facing Gage Park.

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A view of the belvedere. ‘I never get bored of this building,’ says heritage restoration expert Alan Stacey. ‘Generally the Italianate isn’t my favourite style - I’m probably a little bit reserved being English - but this building is something.’

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East elevation showing new addition.

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Alan Stacey in the 1879 addition.

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Recreated plaster ornaments.

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One of the fireplaces.

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Inside the belvedere. Mr. Stacey says that his first look inside the room convinced him of the importance of the restoration job. ‘I borrowed a stepladder off somebody, hoisted myself up to the roof rafters, and got up to the belvedere.’ There, despite ‘treading on an inch of pigeon poo,’ the beautiful view of Gage Park spread out below was no match to the ‘virgin room’ – complete with ‘original graffiti’ by children who grew up in the home – that caused his heart to beat faster.

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Drawings inside the belvedere. Because of the harsher wind and weather, the belvedere’s sills on west side ‘looked like driftwood’ until they were restored, says Mr. Stacey.

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Sample of the original wallpaper in the foyer that will be reproduced.

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Reproduction front door hardware.

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The hands and knees work. ‘We probably have, conservatively, about 110 to 120 carving chisels, a lot of them bought secondhand in England, some bought new when I needed a particular shape,’ says Mr. Stacey.

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