Sweet Surprise Hiding in Historic Remodel

Unforeseen conditions are a fact of life in the building industry. Over the years, we’ve found a wide assortment of unexpected things once walls and roofs start coming down—including a still-furnished sealed-off basement room not in the plans!—but this week we uncovered something special for our builder’s bucket list of odd finds.


We recently kicked off a remodel for new owners of a Historic Queen Anne house in Portland’s King’s Hill neighborhood. They noticed some strange staining near the dining room’s ceiling and down on the baseboards and wondered if the roof was leaking (see lower left bay window in the above photo for the area in question). She pointed the mystery mark out to Project Supervisor Becky White, who thought it looked more like sap than water damage.

honeyhouse-2 Honey in Portland Remodel | Hammer & Hand

Becky investigated the stain and, finding it waxy to the touch, gave it a sniff. The smell indicated a much sweeter surprise: honey.

Reroofing that area was part of the planned remodel, so we climbed up, pulled back the boards, and peered inside. We found some dry rot and, as Becky suspected, rows and rows of honeycomb packed inside the roof framing, forming a compact trapezoidal hive.

Bee Hive in Deck | Hammer & Hand Honey Bee Hive in Deck at Portland Remodel | Hammer & Hand

The bees were gone, so our carpenters cleared out the comb, patched the roof, and now it’s good as new with no honey drips. We never know what we’re going to find when we peel away walls, but today we can claim that we actually uncovered buried gold!

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