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Owner doubles down on heritage home project - A Port Moody acupuncturist and massage therapist who already got his hands dirty restoring a mid-century home in New Westminster now wants to bring renewed life and purpose to a pair of residences built by the owners of the Flavelle sawmill for its workers.

Andrew Taylor has applied to the city to subdivide the lot at 2214 Clarke St., where the Williams residence is located; he then wants to move another heritage home he’s acquired, the Niemela residence, to the back of the property, where it would face Vintner Street.

Dr. Andrew Taylor, a Port Moody accupuncturist and massage therapist, checks out the view from the porch of the Williams residence on Clarke Street. He's in the process of restoring the registered heritage home and has applied to move another he acquired in December to the back of the same property. Photograph By MARIO BARTEL/THE TRI-CITY NEWS

Taylor is also proposing to enter into a heritage revitalization agreement with the city to protect the two homes, which he hopes to convert to professional office and studio spaces. Otter Creek, which runs through the property, would also be protected.

Taylor said he got the bug for restoring heritage homes when he worked on a house in New West, where he was living at the time. He also brought back to life the dilapidated 1970s-era commercial building in downtown Port Moody where his clinic is located.

The Williams residence was built in 1925 for William Henry Williams, a mill worker and truck driver for the Thurston-Flavelle Lumber Company, and it fit the bill when Taylor was casting about for his next restoration project: It was near his clinic, it needed a little care and attention, and it was for sale.

“It was really run down,” Taylor said. “I could see the bones were really beautiful.”

So in September, he bought it and started working with an interior designer on its restoration plan, which will include jacking the old house up and placing it on a new, taller foundation. (Much of the interior work, such as restoring the original hardwood floors and ceiling slats, has already been completed.)

In December, Taylor acquired the Niemela residence at 2620 St. George St. The house with a side-gabled roof was built in 1918 by Henry and Sylvia Niemela, immigrants from Finland who also earned their keep from the Flavelle sawmill. It, too, had seen better days but Taylor was enraptured.

“Given the changes going on it the city, it’s important to maintain some of the character,” Taylor said.

But the only way to achieve that in a way that makes financial sense, he said, is to bring the two homes together on the same property.

“It’s so expensive to do, the numbers don’t make sense,” Taylor said of the cost to restore two heritage homes.

Putting both on the same property also creates a bit of a heritage precinct that could more easily withstand redevelopment pressure in the future, he said.

Original Article - Mario Bartel / Tri-City News

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