05 Mar StormPave water permeable pavers used in 1785 house restoration
StormPave technology for historic restoration? For a house as old as this one, old wasn’t going to cut it.
In East Windsor, Connecticut, the East Windsor Historical Society set out to restore the Osborn House, which was built by Samuel Osborn in 1785. The house, which was in poor condition, was turned over to the Society several years ago for possible restoration.
For local historians, it was an ideal project, because the house is close to other properties that they had recently restored, making the area into a small village that shows what life was like 200 years ago. The idea was to use the house as office space for the Society, for small exhibits and for outdoor gatherings.
The idea of a large patio for picnics and as a gathering spot had been begun but not completed, so the society got in touch with Bahler Brothers, a local firm that specializes in the installation of custom designed pavers and walls in outdoor great rooms, patios, walkways and driveways.
The original idea was to use the materials the Historical Society already had collected to build the patio. They had a pile to work with, including some native brownstone that is quarried in the area and several pallets of reclaimed brick.
Jennifer Kloter, a landscape designer for Bahler Brothers, looked at what they had and said yes and no. The brownstone would make fine retaining walls and seats. The reclaimed brick clearly wouldn’t work.
“I took one look at the bricks and they were on pallets, falling apart, not wrapped up and some of them were full of mortar,” said Kloter. “And there wasn’t enough there to make an entire patio.”
Still, brick – or the colors of brick – would work well. Kloter thought that the reds and browns of a genuine clay paver would fit the bill, so she met with her dealer, New England Silicate of South Windsor, CT. The firm is a Pine Hall Brick distributor, so they showed her what they had to offer and StormPave was ideal. Not only could they get clay, but they could get permeability, too, which meant that the patio could be installed without drainage grates and be even more accessible to wheelchairs.
“It had to have a period-correct look, it had to look good, function right and be built properly,” said Kloter.
She said the project was a challenge, because of the prior construction that had been done before Bahler Brothers’ workers got there. The site had been graded and an aggregate base had been put down, but they had no way of knowing whether it had been properly compacted. When they took the base up, underground utilities were in the wrong place and had to be relocated. Then, the ground had to be raised two feet to put in handicap-accessible ramps from the driveway to the patio and from the patio up to the house.
“We really did have to get creative on all of that, but we did use the permeable pavers everywhere for ease of installation,” said Kloter.
The project came out beautifully; so much so that it won a Hardscape North America award in 2017 for best clay permeable project.
“It meshed perfectly with the old stone and the siding colors and the trim work, it was all a good match,” said Kloter. “For New England historical house colors, these pavers work great.”