Saving a West End Home: Preserving the Past

Note: This post continues the Saving a West End Home series, please also see Part 1 and Part 2.

Architectural details make West End homes unique and interesting, but also add to the complexity of renovation projects. Christian Winkley, of Oxford Builders, recognized that challenge from the start. Throughout the demolition process he and his team carefully salvaged original fixtures and materials that would eventually be part of the revitalized home.

Do Not Disturb
Many of the home’s unique features were in good condition. They did not need to be restored, and were not in the way of other work. Mr. Winkley left them in place and carefully worked around them. The stairs and two fireplaces fell into this category. So did most of the elements (plaster walls, hardwood floors, ceilings, and trim) of the rooms at the front of the house.


Put it in a Safe Place
The woodwork throughout the rest of the house was also in good condition. However, it was in rooms that needed a considerable amount of TLC. Rather than try to work around it, Mr. Winkley carefully removed trim, doors, door frames, hardwood floors, spindles, and just about anything else imaginable to get it out of harm’s way. The two rooms in the turret at the front of the house served as a warehouse for each floor’s spare parts.


Mix and Match
With their unique design and antique glass, the windows were important to save. Like everything else at the property, some were in good condition while others were in rough shape. The final design called for three fewer windows than the original home, meaning that the team could utilize those parts to repair the remaining windows. Mr. Winkley removed and restored each window, ensuring that the wavy-glass look was consistent throughout the property.


Check the Truck
The final strategy Mr. Winkley employed is an extension of what he did with the windows, mixing and matching parts. Only in this case the parts came from a different historic home. The kitchen floor is perhaps the best example of this type of creative reuse. Because the kitchen both grew in size and changed shape, the old maple flooring was no longer sufficient. Not to worry though, Mr. Winkley had salvaged maple flooring from a different project. Adding that material to the original flooring of the West End home was enough to ensure that the finished home has a beautiful hardwood maple floor.

Mr. Winkley has worked overtime to ensure that the historical character of the West End Home is preserved. His various strategies allowed him to reuse original materials from the property when possible, and from other homes of the same vintage as needed. Not only was this ideal from a historical preservation perspective, but it also ensured the final result would be sensitive to the environment by minimizing the amount of new materials required. Recycling - the original green building method.

Saving a West End Home is a collaborative effort of the Klein and Winkley families, who are both West End residents. Look for additional updates in the coming weeks and months.

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