The Best of Old & New

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Text by Ann Zimmerman / Photography by Scot Zimmerman

Remodeling an 1885 brick Queen Anne-style Victorian home mixes the best of the old and the new by creating an artful and livable home.

There are those that shun older homes because of drafts, bad plumbing, too few bathrooms, dim lighting, and too frequent repairs. But what if a remodel solved these problems? Then one could enjoy a home with a design and construction made interesting because it’s tied to a place and its traditions where the hands that laid the bricks and carved the woodwork can still be sensed in the artisan finishes.

This carefully remodeled home preserved its history and 135-year-old craftsmanship, but it is essentially a new home in its comforts. It has central heating and air conditioning, three new bathrooms, new carpentry that rivals the quality of the old, and other changes that make it more suitable for modern living while retaining the flavor of the past.

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Part of the delight of an older home is its geometry—the round room inside the tower, the zigzagged upstairs ceilings formed in response to the roof gabling, nooks, and children’s hiding places. The interior design delights in these irregular spaces with window seats and built-in furniture.

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Current tastes in home design lean toward open floor plans that allow families to feel connected and make entertaining easier. But in the past, closed doors reigned because they kept in a fireplace’s heat and supported Victorian social protocols. Here, the designer retains a sense of the historically-separate rooms but opens the connection of the living room and kitchen with a broad rounded-corner archway.

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The designer also mingles old and new in selections of furniture and accessories. The update retains the original fireplaces with their delightful tile and woodcarvings and introduces whimsical vintage and antique pieces. These are mixed and blended with new furnishings for comfort and ease of care.

Beautiful inside and out, this restored home is as pleasing to look at inside on a rainy day or outside while planting flowers in the sunshine.

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