Mathews Architecture

Norwood Park Cottage Renovation

This house in Norwood Park dates back to 1912. Over time it has suffered some detracting “remuddlings” and the owners wished to make modifications and improvements that would bring the house up to current building codes, enhance the original character of its simple bungalow design and make it more livable. The interior of the house had been “modernized” through the years, particularly the kitchen and bathrooms, with the loss of some of the original interior details. On the exterior the open rafters had been covered with aluminum soffits; an inappropriate shed structure had been constructed at the front of the house to enclose the basement entrance; an aluminum screen door was the rear entrance to the house; and there was a standard stockade type fence around the property. The owners are avid and knowledgeable collectors and connoisseurs of the furniture and decorative arts of the Arts & Crafts period, and they wanted it to incorporate many of the pieces from their collection, as well as salvaged architectural components, in the renovation. On the exterior the soffits were restored, the rear entry redesigned to incorporate a salvaged entry door from the period, and a fence constructed based on a Radford’s design of 1907. The new oak front door and surround was designed and constructed by Jerry Brown. The box surround at the entry to the basement was removed and a new bracketed entry roof was constructed in its place. Once inside, you notice that the white painted baseboards, trim and paneled doors have been masterfully repainted to mimic the appearance of quarter-sawn oak, something that was done quite often at the time this house was built. Derick Tickle, the founder of the Decorative Paint Program at A. B. Tech, did this exemplary work. This was also done in lieu of stripping and staining the downstairs woodwork. The kitchen was completely updated and it provides a contemporary accent to the historic Arts & Crafts character found in the rest of the house. In the dining room a buffet in the owners’ collection was incorporated as a built-in in the wall between the dining room and the rear sunroom. This also helps to provide additional daylight into the center of the house. A new Arts & Crafts style window seat was built under the salvaged stained glass windows along the wall that faces the driveway shared with the next-door neighbors. The original windows were moved and re-installed on the other side of the house to provide light into the interior stairwell. The second floor was reconfigured to create a master bedroom suite. The ceiling was raised to capture space from unused attic area, with large post and beam trusses installed to help connect the interior spaces and to provide height to the room for the husband, who stands well over 6 feet tall. A master bathroom with wainscoting and pedestal sinks and a built-in shower was created from several small closets in one corner of the 2nd floor. The original bathroom at the rear of the house was restored to a more period feel. A newer bathroom that had been added by previous owners in a contemporary style was renovated. The space became a walk-in closet and laundry area and the hallway wall was restored. The upstairs fireplace mantels had been removed by previous occupants, so the new owners installed salvaged mantels and tile from the original period of construction.
The Norwood Park cottage after renovation.
The Living Room after renovation.
The new Dining Room, with all window and door casing faux grained to mimic the quarter-sawn oak of the owners' furniture.
Decorative fence and gate separating the front and rear halves of the side yard.
The new, Arts & Crafts-style front door.
Photos from Style 1900, Spring/Summer 2006
Every part of the stairs is decoratively painted to resemble quarter-sawn oak.