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Renovation retains home's 1929 charm page 2
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 new main entrance always had the porch on it, but the classic design with the arched beadboard ceiling, white posts and pickets never looked so good. A new door with beveled glass and sidelights was added. The rich gray chosen for the exterior works well with the slate roof that was relatively new when Adams took on the project.

He said that the interior layout had several peculiarities, some of which could be attributed to the 1929 floor plan, and others that were just flat out odd.

"The main living area was chopped up," he said, with walls leaving the foyer, living room and dining room boxed in, making the house feel unnecessarily cramped.

Then there was the route to the half-bath, which was reached by ducking through the basement door under the main staircase and entering it at the upper landing of the basement steps.


Adams called on local architect Bobbi Baker to fix the problems. Baker's challenge was to create a floor plan that would be open, make the best use of the space available and welcome a modern family--while taking load-bearing walls into consideration.

The foyer and living room are now part of an open area that flows into the main stairs and hallway to the kitchen. A wide opening to the dining room helps it contribute to the spaciousness of the main living area. The living room has a working, wood-burning fireplace.

Through French doors and adjacent to the living room is a home office.

The kitchen was completely redone, a part of the project that began by swapping what were a kitchen window and door. That provides a practical exit to the back yard and garage.

The galley kitchen includes new white cabinetry from Reico, fine-grain black granite countertops and stainless-steel appliances. The pantry has been reconfigured with new shelving and the powder room is now accessible from the hallway alongside the kitchen rather than the basement steps.

The upstairs floor plan needed work as well, mostly because there was just one bathroom--the only full bathroom in the original house.

The bathroom's hallway entrance was walled off and given over to the master bedroom, creating a master suite. Space was carved from two secondary bedrooms to provide them with a jack-and-jill bathroom with the vanity separated by a pocket door from the shower and toilet.

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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