A Renovation & Restoration in Brookline

When you are looking for a home, you know how complex it can be.  So much of the process is a business proposition—does it meet our specifications? is it  good value for the money?—but home buying is often driven by feeling.

This certainly was the case with one couple, who came to see a showcase home we had built.   Anthony showed them around and they loved what they saw, but the yard didn’t meet their needs.  So they decided to keep looking for the right home on the right lot.

Something happened, however, when they met Anthony, our site manager.  The three of them just clicked, and the couple decided that whether they renovated an existing home or built a new one, they wanted to work with us.

Anthony went with them to look at a few properties until they found their “diamond in the rough”: a home built in 1910 that met all of their requirements.

Here’s what we knew for certain: the exterior of the house had to remain true to its time period.  So we repaired the slate roof, replaced the copper gutters and downspouts, and restored some of the exterior stucco cladding so that it matched what was already there.  We installed new windows, reproduced the shutters that were on the original house and restored the sunroom on the side.

In other words, we did everything we could to preserve both the identity of the house and its place in the neighborhood.

When it came to the interior, however, we brought the home fully into the 21st Century.

We took all 4,000 square feet down to the studs.  There were framing surprises everywhere we turned: a wall that had to be reinforced, a floor that wasn’t level, a post that was missing—everything you would expect from a one hundred year-old house.

Our architect created a floor plan that took full advantage of the space while giving our clients everything they wanted: a master suite with a private office and spa-like bath, and a kitchen that featured all the modern conveniences.

We added geothermal heating and cooling, spray-foam insulation, a heat recovery ventilator to help the house breathe, and kitchen cabinets that met the requirements of the Forest Stewardship Council.

Mino installed nearly all of the millwork in the house, including doors, wainscoting and crown molding.  In the family room he created a twelve-foot high wall of built-ins that spanned an area of approximately 30 feet.

Anthony made sure that the work progressed on schedule and was right on top of the clients’ needs—including the recommendation of an interior designer who helped the clients make a number of crucial decisions.  From the original property search through the completion of the job, Anthony was with them.

Joe worked with the architect and clients on the home’s design.  When it came to permitting and historic preservation reviews, Joe handled it all.


Builder’s Challenge: The Garage

The existing garage was dilapidated, but before we could do anything it had to be reviewed by the Brookline Historic Preservation Commission to determine whether it was a historically significant structure.  After several weeks they determined that it was “insignificant,” so we were able to move forward.

But another challenge cropped up: we were not able to remove the garage’s foundation because we would then have to follow current zoning regulations, and the garage could not be reconstructed on the same spot.

The Solution: A Hybrid Structure

An engineering inspection determined that the foundation could support the new structure.  However, since we were directly on the property line, we had to maintain a buffer between the garage and the neighboring structure for fire safety.

We were able to solve the problem effectively and economically by constructing hybrid walls that were half-block and half-wood—and the customer loves it.