Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Dutch Colonial Home Revival!!

One of the most exciting moments for a preservationist and historian living in this great neighborhood we call Irvington, is to see a wreck of a home undergoing a sensitive and beautiful restoration.  Watching this dwelling come back to life, I began to wonder...who first lived here? The 1910 Federal Census revealed that John Gysie, a retired shoe merchant from southern Indiana, along with his wife Mary, and his eighty-nine-year-old mother moved into the new house in 1910.  (It used to have the address of 5607 Burgess Avenue)  Many other families called the cottage home over the decades but recently the home fell into disrepair, caught fire, and was damaged by a nearby house explosion in 2004.  Previous owners had also covered up much of the charm of the structure with cheap vinyl siding.  The forlorn abode at the southeast corner of Burgess Avenue and Ritter Avenue seemed to be in a downward spiral.

Then, Brad Amiano, who runs his own landscape company, and DJ Smith, a music instructor, arrived in Irvington and saw tremendous potential in the troubled property.  The results have been staggering.  Neighbors gasped in sympathy as the siding came off and the problems emerged; however, Brad and DJ soldiered on, restoring the wood siding the the wood shake.  They also had to put on a new roof and they even restored the proper porch columns.  While the renovation is still ongoing, the couple have also turned their attention inward as the home contains a beautiful staircase, hardwood floors, built-in benches, and a stained-glass piano window.  The blase´ and uninteresting can come back to life when preservation-minded people with vision like Brad Amiano and DJ Smith invest in a neighborhood. They are role models for all of us.  

373 Burgess Avenue undergoing renovation in 2014 (Photo courtesy of DJ Smith and Brad Amiano)

Problems emerged with the removal of the vinyl siding at 373 Burgess Avenue, but the homeowners were not daunted by the discovery.  (Photo courtesy of DJ Smith and Brad Amiano)

The "after" shot of 373 Burgess Avenue taken in the spring of 2014.  Most of the exterior work is nearly complete. 

Stained Glass Piano Window at 373 Burgess Avenue (Photo courtesy of DJ Smith and Brad Amiano)

Stunning staircase at 373 Burgess Avenue after refinishing (Photo courtesy of Brad Amiano and DJ Smith)

A welcoming porch once again at 373 Burgess Avenue.  Note the original front door.  
Renovation photos and stories are courtesy of Brad Amiano and DJ Smith.  

No comments:

Post a Comment