When your client writes both a mission statement and vision for the desired remodel on their 1908 home, you need to be an expert in historical renovations. PSG Construction didn’t let Lonnie Cook down when they tackled his remodeling goal “to preserve and restore the character and details of the original house and to seamlessly blend the new and the old.” His vision for the project could have been even more daunting for a remodeler inexperienced in historical renovations (see inset).
No newcomer to historical renovations, PSG owner Paul Gidus knew you needed to use talented artisans to match or replicate original details in order to preserve the architectural integrity of a home. PSG Construction had already completed two renovation projects to the home across the street, and a bungalow in Lake Eola Heights. PSG was also selected by The NAHB to renovation the first ever Renewed American Home, a 1908 bungalow across from Lake Eola.
A retired attorney, Lonnie approached PSG when Hurricane Charley caused extensive damage to the back half of the downstairs of his Lake Highland bungalow. Lonnie asked PSG to focus on restoring the kitchen and a bathroom, as well as a den that were destroyed. Newspaper articles Lonnie has in his possession show that his home was the first house built on the block as the winter residence of an Ohio lawyer. It originally consisted of 23 acres. The 1 ½ story bungalow has four bedrooms, three bathrooms, heart pine floors and the original cypress shingles.
Lonnie and his wife Jo Ann had high expectations for their project. Having lived in the home for 20 years prior to the renovation, Lonnie and Jo Ann had traveled and researched historic communities and architecture in order to return their home back to its turn of the century beauty and charm. Lonnie and Jo Ann had compiled a “Master Examples Book” of architectural details unique to the house, which was included in the contract they entered with PSG. The book was kept on-site for reference.
Receiving the most damage was the den, which was built as an exterior porch (also used as a sleeping porch), then expanded and remodeled by previous owners. Due to the extensive damage, the den had to be rebuilt. PSG cut exterior cedar shingles to match the original cypress shingles. Taking the den back to its original use, PSG retained the sloping floor, added a bead board ceiling and finished off the wall with shingles. Windows were replaced to match the original 1908 windows with custom exterior casing, drip cap and sill; custom window muntins, and custom milled window aprons and stools. Windows were also added on each side of the fireplace. 7 ½ high baseboard and custom milled baseboard caps were added to match the original house.
The adjacent bathroom was completely torn out and rebuilt as well. A 1926-era toilet was rescued and used from a neighborhood remodel. Walls were finished with subway tile; hexagonal tile was used on the floor; an arched shower entrance was designed with exposed shower plumbing; and polished nickel hardware, lighting and plumbing fixtures were installed. The medicine cabinets were built by Lonnie.
The kitchen received the greatest transformation, in which PSG Construction enlisted the expertise of Sandra Linn of Sandra Linn Designs. Cabinets with flat panel inset doors and drawers were built on-site. Custom fronts were also made for the refrigerator and dishwasher to match the cabinets. River- recovered heart pine was used for the floor, with the logs possibly being cut about the same time as those for the original floor in the home. The kitchen renovation also includes soapstone counter tops and backsplash, 7 ½ high baseboard and custom milled baseboard caps to match the original house, and a window that matches those in the original house. Giving attention to details, PSG added diamond shaped accents at the dishwasher and corner cabinet to mirror the diamond vents in the eaves; a convection/microwave is hidden behind retracing doors, with non-operative hinges added to preserve the look of the inset doors. Pull-out cutting boards common in turn-of-the-century homes were added. The kitchen table top was constructed by Lonnie using rafters salvaged during the renovation. Small details were not overlooked. A Heartland Legacy stove and hood were installed. Polished nickel, popular between the 1880’s and 1920’s, was the selected finish for the hardware, lighting, and plumbing fixtures.
The finished project was recognized by receiving the First Place award in the category of Historic Renovation Remodel in the 2009 Parade of Homes.
The renovation met the high expectations of Lonnie and Jo Ann for their coveted home. “Thank you to the PSG craftsmen who brought our 1908 ‘back to the past’ after Hurricane Charley’, says Lonnie. “We appreciate the extra efforts that they expended to seamlessly integrate the newly remodeled areas with the original house.”
“This type of historical renovation is a passion of mine, just as it’s a passion for Lonnie,” Paul says. “I’m honored that Lonnie entrusted PSG to make his dream a reality—and to consider us as friends."
Owner’s Vision Statement
Our vision of a successful repair and remodel includes the following:
1. Integrate seamlessly with original house
2. Complement our lifestyle
3. Avoid trendy design elements
4. Preserve and enhance marketability
5. Maintain open dialogue between architect, designer, and contractor
6. Complete work within an agreed-upon period of time
7. Complete work within an agreed-upon budget
8. After the work is completed the homeowners and the design and construction principals consider the work to be successful and their relationship to be friendly.