Early last fall Marcus Lane, a West End homeowner, applied to the city for building permits to remodel their house which had been oddly modified over many years and renovate it to an original design. The character of the house was hidden under odd exterior additions, inexpensive siding, an industrial handicap ramp and none-to-pretty windows. Standing at the corner of Whitney and Fern Streets, drivers stopped at the traffic light got a good lesson in what ought not to be done to a property in an historic district. The city Planning Department staff referred the owner to the Preservation Alliance for our guidance in getting the Historic Preservation Commission’s approval.
Valerio Giadone, the unsung hero of our technical assistance program, responded in typical fashion, quietly assessing the scope of the project. His skill and talent lies in a deep knowledge of historic architecture, an architect’s eye toward design and his experience in offering suggestions which work well on a property but will not break the bank.
The petition going before the Hartford Historic Preservation Commission on this renovation project was nothing short of epic. No element of the house exterior was being ignored – new siding, new windows, a new front door, modifications to exterior entrances and the elimination of the ramp. With slow and steady patience, good drawings of the proposed work and great coaching Valerio sharpened the request to a manageable discussion of what was to be a terrific improvement for the neighborhood. In his note of thank, the homeowner spoke of Valerio’s patient technical assistance that has made the project much easier and resulted in a favorable approval from the commission. Now under construction, a lovely center hall colonial is reemerging, ready to once again contribute to a neighborhood of homes which owners take great pride in preserving.
During 2015 the Preservation Alliance created a team which dedicates itself to making historic preservation less painful both in process and pocketbook. We welcome all inquiries and are happy to help. We join the National Trust in its program “This Place Matters” and want to extend that to mean we can guide property owners on achieving that goal. Give us a call, we can help!