Home Restoration Meets Sustainability

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By looking at it, you wouldn't know that this home was built in 1709.  Or that it was on the "most endangered" list of the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation.  But this newly restored home is a model and showcase of what can be done when sustainability intersects with preservation (or, to be more precise, restoration).  Located on nearly an acre lot in Connecticut, the Stone/Shelley House was completed recently by Gulick and Spradlin. 

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According to a press release, Gulick and Spradlin "re-used old floor boards and salvaged timbers, purchased clapboards made from locally grown White Easter pine, and utilized a recycled product made from old tires and soda bottles for roofing shingles.

Gulick and Spradlin also added more insulation and installed efficient HVAC equipment, while still keeping Colonial-era look and feel. 

The Stone/Shelley House is currently listed for sale at $927,000 and includes four bedrooms and two-and-a-half bathrooms in about 3,000 square feet of space.  It's located at 248 Boston Post Road in Madison, Connecticut, if you're in the market. 

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Shelley-house-1709-stone-exterior

Photo credits: Gulick & Spradlin.


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  • Anonymous

    Hello.

    Sadly, the “Restoration” of this historic house appears to be A COMPLETE DISASTER! The fine photographs record an entirely new house. Because of an inaccurate and complete replacement of the entire exterior and interior, this home is now just a suburban copy of itself. Nothing inside or out indicates any age whatever. Most of the antique elements that made it notable in the Connecticut Trust’s Endangered Listing are gone forever.

    I have worked in Historic Preservation for more than 40 years, and I have NEVER seen a very significantly deteriorated house where the complete replacement of exterior and interior woodwork and finishes was necessary. In this case, perhaps several hundred square feet of old plaster might have been saved. This is the “Make it look better than it has for 200 years” syndrome, where the architect or builder decided that if you have to replace some woodwork, you replace everything so it looks “NICE AND TIDY.”

    Early siding, for example, was cut in short lengths because that was what they could cut using hand tools of the era. This gives old homes a slightly rippled exterior surface. Modern siding, on the other hand, is perfectly cut using modern computer controlled saws, and is available in virtually endless pieces. The result? This home’s exterior has been FOREVER ALTERED from the appearance of historic materials to the smooth, nearly jointless blocks of modern suburban siding.

    In addition, although only a close-up photograph would answer the question, it is entirely possible that the interior frame was NOT exposed when the home was built, or these elements were plastered and wood sheathed soon after construction. Again, a suburban view of Historic Preservation, not anything that might be accurately called a “restoration.”

    The rebuilding of historic homes to satisfy an inexperienced “upscale” market has become common. Just drive around New England to see the destruction. The homes are always advertised as “FULLY UPDATED,” with new “eat-in kitchens,” etc., etc. Essentially redesigned to compete with new suburban housing.

    Just look at the difference with accurately RESTORED homes like the 1804 Wallingford House in Kennebunk, Maine. This very historic home was unpainted for perhaps 50 years, and unoccupied except for a few summers for more than 30 years. Yet virtually all the exterior siding, and EVERY ONE OF THE ANTIQUE WINDOWS have been preserved, and for significantly less money than replacements.

    The full replacement of all historic woodwork is an extremely expensive mistake to make. Before wholesale replacement, this home would have qualified for the historic tax act credit. This is probably the best tax credit still going. This is available to any building owner if their structure is ever adapted for commercial use, and that means anything from updating for resale, a structure rented as an investment, use as an Inn or a shop, or the home of a mail-order business, where the neighbors would not even be aware of a business unless they checked the zoning. With the destruction of the entire original exterior, this home will no longer qualify for this amazing tax write credit. They have shot themselves and any future owner in the wallet.

    How sad and entirely unnecessary.

    Gregory Hubbard
    Sanford, Maine

    • http://www.gvasileff.com/ Greg Vasileff

      I ABSOLUTELY agree with Mr Hubbard on his post. I had just posted somewhat of the same on another website I had come across. So disturbing….really, just ruined my day to see this!Irresponsible!!
      I have even taken the time to email this firm to let them know they need to stay away from these old homes. This is the second one that I have seen on the Internet that they have mucked up!

  • Anonymous

    This makes me feel sick to my stomach. Honestly,it would be nice to have had this article at least include a “before” photo of this historic property. I vow that I never would have been able to determine that this house was anything but a nice upscale tract home had the word “restoration” not caught my eye. This is not a restoration, it is an abomination.

  • Txdawnie

    Every member of the CTHP should be replaced with someone who understands what preservation means. This home is no longer on the most endangered list….it’s now just gone, destroyed by someone who just didn’t care about removing a piece of American history from the earth. It both saddens and angers me. How tragic.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jeremy.harkin Jeremy Harkin

    You took a historic home and turned it into a generic McMansion. How very sad :(

  • Kjay677

    this house was my grandfathers house, WOW they really turned it upside down

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