By Courtney Neff, Brunswick, Maine
Hello to OHJ! Your regular “Remuddling” page (and the occasional “unmuddling”) gave us both the inspiration and the courage to uncouple a 1970s caboose from our house. A shoebox on a boxcar, it was incompatible in every way with this lovely if modest 1881 Victorian Italianate home.
Although we do have old photographs of the front and side of the house, we were unable to find documentation of the original rear elevation. We decided to duplicate the typical bay window that remains on the front of the house. That gave us a casual dining space near the kitchen, overlooking our new garden.
The newly renovated kitchen looks like it was always part of the house, unlike its 1970s predecessor. It’s got a restored 1925 stove, a beautiful old slate sink, and quarter-sawn oak cabinets from The Kennebec Company. Their designer Jeff Peavey worked with my wife, Donna, who is a retired art teacher, to design the room.
Other rooms in the house needed a lot of work, but we didn’t make any dramatic changes. The living room has beautiful light from its original bay and another tall window. We relied on salvaged materials to lend authenticity in our repairs and additions.
This spring, our house was chosen to be the subject for our historic neighborhood association’s Arts and Architecture program.