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Renovation retains home's 1929 charm
Marye Street house gets a complete makeover

 A wall was removed to open up the foyer and staircase space.
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Date published: 10/5/2012


The potential for renewal in an older home must be seen before it can be realized. Determining whether the potential is well-hidden or simply not there can make the difference between a profitable project and one whose costs outweigh its value.

When Mike Adams first saw 900 Marye St. in Fredericksburg, which sits on a corner lot at Littlepage Street, he spent some time scratching his head before deciding to take on the rehabilitation project.

"The main entrance was on the side of the house," he said, "and it just didn't make sense."

That was particularly odd since the house is Dutch gambrel style--the barn style roof so prevalent in city homes built in the 1920s and '30s. The architecture of the house has it facing Littlepage, but the main entrance on Marye was on the side.

"We took what was the 'side' door and made it the main entrance, and left the original main entrance where it was," said Adams.

But that was just the start of the changes to be made. And the result is a thoroughly modern home that also looks the part of its 1929 construction date. It also offers a two-car garage and driveway for off-street parking so rarely found with city properties.

Adams has listed the home with Heather Hagerman of Coldwell Banker Elite in Spotsylvania. The asking price is $615,000.


Given what it was before Adams' company, Jon Properties, took on the project, the transformation is truly remarkable. From the run-of-the-mill red brick house emerged a family home with three levels of finished living space. JLN Contractors of Fredericksburg did the work.

The gray-painted brick and white trim lend a striking appearance on the corner lot. Inside, there are five bedrooms, three full baths and a half bath adding up to 2,713 square feet of efficient living space.

There is all new electrical service, plumbing and HVAC. The drywall is all new and the original hardwood floors, most of which were covered in shag carpeting, are now allowed to show off their refinished beauty. Efficient new vinyl windows were installed throughout.

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Most old houses have their idiosyncrasies, some of which develop on their own over time, and others that owners contrived on purpose. One example is the closet trim that's cut at an angle parallel to a dormer.

Mike Adams, whose company, Jon Properties, bought 900 Marye St. to refurbish and resell it, said he found a particularly interesting one involving the home's garage.

The brick, two-car structure has two separate garage doors separated by a brick post. The garage probably dates to the construction of the house, in 1929, and the garage door openings were designed to handle the cars of those days, not the American-made, finned behemoths of the late 1950s and early 1960s.

A previous owner wanted to put his '59 Cadillac in the garage, but the door openings weren't wide enough. So what did he do? He cut openings in the brick posts so the car, fins and all, would fit.

Adams made it a priority to rebrick the cut-out areas. Today, one can't tell the custom cutouts ever existed.

--Richard Amrhine