Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Remodel: Stripped of Character

Let me say first I'm a fan of remodeling, upgrading and renovating older homes.  But there is good and there is bad.  (I never lived in this house by the way, so no investment in childhood memories.  Just sadness at a poor renovation of a solid 1940 house with character.)
This was map shows Mom's house and garden.  Notice all the trees?Before:
And after:
Not many old pictures, mostly holidays.  I think my kids and grandkids have many memories of summers and holidays spent in this house with Grammy.  I sure you'll see things that now live at my house, like my great-grandmother's sofa.  The living room.
Inside lots of places to read. The sunroom.
The kitchen was small and desperately needed updating.  Also needed:  new roof, heating/air systems and windows, re-configured floor plan and bathrooms.
The dining room.

The floor plan was roughly this.
I would have opened the dining room to the kitchen, re-sized the bath, expanded a second bath into the bedroom, and the bedroom into the garage.  Upstairs: added dormers, a second bath backed up to the original, more dormers and walk in closet in the sewing room area.  4 BR, 4 baths, open kitchen.  Finish the huge basement with family room and laundry (has 10' ceilings and half bath, outside entrance).
Here's the outside of the renovation.  Back steps and entrance removed?  No trees, no gardens.  Mom had a garden developed over thirty years.  No raspberries by the walk.  Nothing left back by the patio.
The back patio in early summer.
On the left, no azaleas or roddies or iris remain from the corner of the house to the corner of the street.  No weeping cherry.
A stuck on entry.  How about a better porch and entry? The house is "down the shore" two blocks from the beach, an area made for screened porch/outdoor living.  No trees left for shade.  Stark.  Bare.  Stripped.
Every tree in the back and side, from the holly grown from seed to the forsythia hedge ... gone.
 Every iris ... gone.
 Every bit of garden beside the garage leading back to the patio ... gone
Boy am I glad I dug up the hydrangeas, peonies, daffs and lily bulbs.  The interior was gutted.  I hope the inside is better, but I'm not holding my breath.  (Not that I'll ever see it.)
Remodeling pictures by Marian and Stuart Warshauer.


  1. It is sad when a house and garden get the basement treatment. It was a beautiful garden, I am glad you got some treasured plants before it was all bull dozed. Here are laws that one can not remove trees. The house could have been renovated in a sympathetic style to it and make a bijoux with the existing garden. One wonders how those humans with a hole where a brain should be, function. (The place looks awful now.)

  2. How sad what today's progress does to the decades of a once beautiful lifetime of memories. I am so glad you were able to rescue some of your Grammy's plants. At least you can now save them for your Grands and GreatGrands someday, if they Know what you have is a part of Grammy's Heart.
    God Bless Your Heart Pat

  3. Ouch. I'm sure that was so painful for you to see. Best not to go back.

  4. Pat, You asked if I mixed apples when baking my Mile High Apple Pie...Dear, I use what ever apples I happen to have on hand including at least one of the firmer winter apples or the pie becomes an applesauce pie...still good but no chunky pieces that I love. My fav is the Granny Smith and the Jonathans
    So, did you bake one?

  5. 嘿,你的部落格不錯耶~~只是想跟您問聲好!!........................................

  6. Oh, Pat - I agee with you. My heart sank when you mentioned no rasberries. Our WWII veteran neighbor sold his house 2 yrs ago and the new family is crushing the house. W/their permission we dug out all 10 mature boxwoods that Benny tended to for 30+years. I also have all the daffodils and hostas from my late 90 year old neighbor. I am constantly amazed at what people choose not to value.


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