The Morrell House Restoration was a Community Effort

By Bob Hayes, RBHS President   
If you have had the chance to drive by the Morrell House in the last couple of months, you may have noticed that the fence is down and the outside is looking pretty good. Well, we are happy to report that the inside is finally completed also.

The house itself turned out great, and while the restoration took longer than everyone expected, the finished project exceeded all expectations as well. The house would never have reached completion if it had not been for some heroic efforts on behalf of the community volunteers and contributions from several local business entities.

In fact, we would like to give special thanks and recognition to the following companies whose assistance was invaluable to the restoration effort.

In almost any moderate or major restoration project, walls need to be rebuilt and the question of plaster versus drywall always comes up. Drywall, which is the current building standard, is less expensive, easier for the do it yourselfer, and easier to find qualified professionals to install, yet plaster is more authentic, more durable, and really sets a true restoration project apart from a remodel or a renovation effort. Clay Bellanger Plastering (310-325-0215) provided labor and materials at cost which enabled us to get lath and plaster walls at drywall prices. Clay and his team went beyond the call of duty to work with and around the volunteers to deliver a great product.

Supreme Paint provided all paints and clear finishes at no cost. When we picked away at the layers of paint to find the original wall colors, we used Supreme Paint’s special palette of historic colors to best match the original décor. Also, Supreme Paint has one of the best high alkalyd exterior primers on the market for use on redwood and cedar, as the high tannin count in these woods will normally bleed through most primers. Supreme’s quality products enabled us to produce a fantastic result which will last for a long time.

The wood floors were generally in fairly good shape, but we had to do a complete sanding and refinishing project to get them looking new again. The Morrell House, like many older houses in the South Bay, has Douglas Fir flooring which is a softer wood and requires a high level of skill to produce a quality product. Wilson flooring in Manhattan Beach (310-545-7750) has extensive experience with this type of flooring and volunteered to provide all labor at cost. They also took on the task of asking their suppliers to provide materials at cost as well. Specifically, Bonakemi Distributors provided all the polyurethane, Galleher Hardware donated much of the various supplies used by Wilson Flooring, and 3M donated all the sandpaper used on the Morrell House. The floors turned out beautiful, and we thank Wilson flooring and their suppliers for their efforts and contributions.
A project like this does not get completed without a huge effort from the community. Thanks again to all who helped bring this project to a successful conclusion.