Anthony Mathews and Debra Bakowska standing by their brick home on Pandora Avenue. The home was originally built by George Mason in 1864.

HOMEFINDER: Rebuilding one brick at a time

Anthony Mathews and Debra Bakowska take on a task of bringing a brick home back to its former glory

Brick homes are not too common in Canada, but one of the oldest in Western Canada is located here in Victoria between Pandora Avenue and Mason Street.

Originally built by George Mason in 1864, the 150-year-old building is now home to Anthony Mathews and Debra Bakowska. The home is heritage-registered by the Victoria Heritage Foundation, meaning it is not fully protected, but may warrant future preservation. Covering the bottom half of the two-storey house on the Mason Street side is a now closed-down cafe, built in 1920.

Mathews and Bakowska bought the home six years ago, after moving to Victoria from England. It took 18 months to fix up the entire property.

“The whole place was rundown,” said Mathews. “We gutted the whole place right down to the bricks and started again.”

Having previously moonlighted as a builder for seven to eight years, Mathews said he knew exactly what he was getting into.

“From a structural point of view, what’s so special about this building is it’s actually double brick,” said Mathews, adding there is an inner and outer layer of brick.

“You never get [that],” said Mathews. “Even in England, you’ll have a brick wall on the outside, but inside is what you call breeze blocks.”

This home was the only brick house Mathews and Bakowska could find for sale in Victoria when they came.

“I’m English and it’s brick. Everyone’s got a mindset what you’re brought up with. And for us in England, you’re talking brick,” said Mathews.

One side of the house had a crack in the brick as wide as a fist going all the way up, said Mathews. He had British builders in Victoria come to do the job, because they were familiar with the brickwork.

Mathews said the most trouble he had was getting permits from the city for the six phases of renovation.

On the Mason Street side of the property, Mathews runs an osteopathic and rehabilitation clinic called Bodylogic Clinic.

The former coffee shop on the Pandora Avenue side, Cranberry’s Coffee Cup, has been closed for over a year, said Mathews. Although he also said there has been recent interest from someone looking to reopen the coffee shop.

 

 

Just Posted

Victoria’s Wild ARC facility welcomes new roof thanks to a rush of donations

The animal rehabilitation centre was in desperate need of repairs after 21 years

Victoria’s vacancy rate predicted to rise above one per cent

Rental rates will continue to rise, despite more availability

Victoria brewery re-brands again after cryptic new logo failed

Vancouver Island Brewing said goodbye to its confusing hexagon logo

Johnson Street Bridge reopened after water main break

VicPD ask drivers to use alternate route on Nov. 12

VIDEO: Marvel Comics’ Stan Lee dies

Marvel co-creator was well-known for making cameo appearances in superhero movies

Nunavut urges new plan to deal with too many polar bears

Territory recommends a proposal that contradicts much of conventional scientific thinking

Shelter struggles: Landlord takes over rental unit whenever visiting B.C. town

Renter’s story highlights how hard it is to find accommodation in Revelstoke

Lack of public response threatens B.C. referendum credibility

Of the few who have voted, poll finds most rejected proportional representation

Tentative deal reached in NHL concussion lawsuit

More than 100 former players accused the league of failing to better prevent head trauma

Grim search for more fire victims; 31 dead across California

More than 8,000 firefighters battled wildfires that scorched at least 1,040 square kilometres

Politicians need to do better on social media, Trudeau says

Prime minister suggests at conference in Paris some are trying to use technology to polarize voters

Wally Buono exits CFL, stinging from painful playoff loss

B.C. Lions lost the Eastern semifinal to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats on Sunday, 48-8

Pot company hopes to replace jobs lost in mill closure in B.C. town

About 200 workers lost their jobs when the Tolko sawmill in Merritt shuttered in 2016

Most Read