By Barbara McManus of Clifton
When I first stepped into the vacant English Tudor that is now our beloved home, I knew it was a diamond in the rough, just waiting for someone with vision and a great “old house” contractor to bring it back to life. The house almost had it all: quiet no-outlet street, a first-floor master and bath, original parquet and marble floors, a screened-in porch and a carved stone fireplace. What it didn’t have was a workable kitchen, family room area, access to the wooded back yard or workable staircase to the second floor. All of the walls in the house were painted beige, there was ancient linoleum on the floors, but oh, the charm!
It had been in the same family for a couple of generations and had clearly been cherished. We decided to do our best to restore it while maintaining the original character and making it work for our lifestyle. This home has now turned 100 and has never been more livable.
With help from architect Tim Jeckering and Gus Thierry and his crew at ICS Building Restoration, we were able to reconfigure the tiny kitchen and web of pantries into a beautiful, usable space and move the existing back stairs to create a stunning staircase off the front hall. We were also able to create a first-floor laundry room, which allows us the luxury of complete “first-floor living” in a two-story home. The addition of a modest deck and bluestone patio now allows us to enjoy the “rural” life right here in the middle of the city.