Friday, March 4, 2011

Northeast Mansions Volume 5-Lykins

In 1883 architect E.P. Graves, pictured above, designed a home for the Buchanan family. Mr. Buchanan was the Principal of Central High School in Kansas City. In 1887 the home was finshed and the family moved in. A twin to this home stood right next door to the east. Located in the Lykins Neighborhood of Northeast Kansas City it is now a one-man restoration project. My friend Anthony who is undertaking the 10-year project gave me a before tour today. He's going to allow me to photograph his progress as it takes place. He is restoring the home for his own use.
Above, the home faces south on Ninth Street at a high point along that roadway. Below is the East side with a vacant lot where the twin house was until 1910 and then a store occupied the spot. Our house was subdivided sometime in the past into apartments and many important features were walled off. Note the stone foundation below... normally all basement that section was divided into bedrooms as a part of the original design.

West side of the property.... pictures taken in driving rain so we got water spots.
Front door leading to the entry hall above and first to second floor stairs. Railing will need to be replaced. There is also a back stair to the second floor and to the "basement."
All pictures taken with the Nikon D3 and 14-24mm F2.8 lens at ASA 800. Aperture priority at F5.6. Bounced flash when ceiling available.

Above and below the living room. Most of the original woodwork is still there with its original varnish. Pocket doors have vanished though.

When the home was vacant prior to Anthony's purchase many things from the interior vanished including the door above.
The dining room. The far wall was turned into a closet and the fireplace completely covered over with drywall. Below, same room looking northwest... nice nook with big windows.

Above, looking into what I'm going to call the Music Room.... and below, in the room itself.

Above, the kitchen looking back into the dining room and music room... door on the right leads out onto a porch which was added sometime early on... roughly 1900. Below, the back stair to the second floor up and the basement down.

Above, Anthony has the parts to this bannister stored in the attic.
Bedroom on second floor.... what was a kitchen in one of the apartments.
Master suite, north portion, Anthony lives on site in the south section of the master suite. All totaled a wonderful sweep of windows. Many of the windows are original..some with the original hardware.
Above, looking down the front stairs to the entry hall.
Above and below the stairs to the "basement" ground floor residential area.

Sometime in the past (not the original builders) someone thought it would be wise to lay planks and beams right on the dirt floor. Predictably this led to rot and termites. Room above was probably a bedroom... the green paint on the windows and wainscoting likely original.
Above and below views of what is left of the dirt-touching wood.

Above, this wall is a major support for the center of the whole house. It too was resting on a beam in contact with the ground. As the beam was eaten away the central portion of the house began to sink... it is partially visible above in the top of the left door... about a 5-inch drop.

Concrete was poured covering the dirt... but still not a good plan... Anthony has to remove all the concrete and much of the dirt before he can jack up the house and install new support beams. He says he always starts in the basement and works up....

Looking south into another bedroom above and below.... the walls were plastered back in the day.

Another bedroom and closet space.
Anthony kneels near what may have been an opening into a cistern. In 1887 the home would have been outside the city limits. Any water would have come from a well or a cistern.
Above, original door belonging somewhere.... there was a carriage house in back of the home and this might be from it.
Above the steps back up to the first floor.
Above, included this shot from the first floor to show how the door has "sunk" because of the dirt-beam in the basement rotting away. Below, the steps to the third floor. We had to be careful because some are missing.....

Originally this space had a pine floor. It was ripped out to install insulation. Although a large open space that could have been used for a ballroom, there were no provisions for heat so it was probably just storage for the Buchanons. The light colored board on the far wall covers a space where a stained glass window lived..... it was stolen.

Above... roof area directly below a "Widows Walk" on the tower portion of the house.... Anthony has been up there and says the view is spectacular. He can see the spire of the Community of Christ Church in Independence from up there.


  1. Nice work, guys. I'm looking forward to future installments.


  2. Yes, more please!


  3. Spectacular Home! If you've got the money, know how & patience. I love seeing old homes like this rebuilt. All the best to you-you've got a hell of a job ahead of you.

    Git er done!!

  4. wow, good luck. Hard not to get overwhelmed looking at those pictures.

  5. I drive by that house every day on my way to work and have long wondered what the scoop was! Thanks for the peek inside and I look forward to the future installments!

  6. LOVE seeing these houses get extreme make overs! Thanks for sharing

  7. I wish Anthony good luck on this one. My girlfriend and I were recruited to buy this house a few years back but passed on it. It has been seriously neglected for a very long time, so it's a big project.

  8. i remember checking out this house a few years back. do you have any recent pictures since the last time you visited?