Moving century-old Ramsay home cheaper than rebuild

A century-old Ramsay home is getting a second life after the owners wouldn’t take no for an answer.

Environmentally sound option reduces waste, saves hundreds of thousands of dollars

Ramsay home on the move

CBC News Calgary

5 years ago
105-year-old home moved to replace foundation 1:03

A century-old Ramsay home is getting a second life after the owners wouldn't take no for an answer.

Recently, the owners of a property that was built before the first Calgary Stampede, learned their foundation was leaking and potentially causing structural damage.

The co-owner of a renovation company says the house itself was still solid.

"The foundation was starting to collapse beneath the house," Lisa Johnson said.

"The house itself was stable, it was strong, it had really good bones but the foundation underneath it was literally falling apart."

Lisa Johnson says the house was stable but the foundation was falling apart. (Monty Kruger/CBC)

Johnson said the owners spoke with many contractors and the consensus seemed to be demolishing the home was the best option, but the owners didn't want to do that.

"The old homes are the heart and soul, it is what makes our city so great, it is what we were built on. To keep that part of history was so crucial," Johnson explained.

The owners spoke to a lot of contractors and the consensus was to demolish and start again. They didn't want to do that. (Monty Kruger/CBC)

So Lisa and her partner at Dependable Renovations, Barry Johnson, came up with a plan that would do just that.

"We jacked the house up, we moved it back 30 feet into the backyard. We excavated the front yard, poured a new foundation and moved the house back on top," she said.

"The character of the house from the outside is going to remain intact completely with the period. The inside of the house is going to be updated to their tastes."

The home was lifted off its foundation, moved 30 feet into the backyard and then moved back once the foundation had been restored. (Monty Kruger/CBC)

Johnson said the cost might surprise some people.

"This is about half the price of demolishing and building new," she said.

"To demolish and haul away this size of a house you are looking at dump fees and debris, possibility for asbestos."

Barry Johnson said it's about preserving a home that was built to a level of quality that isn't as common today.

Barry Johnson says it was about preserving a legacy. (Monty Kruger/CBC)

"This house has so much character. 105 years. How many generations of families would be raised in this house? How many memories have been created in this house? To keep that legacy going with this address is a pretty special thing," Barry said.

"The building materials now aren't, I don't think, as robust as they were back in the day when this was built … It will last easily for another 100 years."

With files from Monty Kruger