By DAVID GREEN
For Greg and Stephanie Moore, it was a case of love at first sight.
Lots of brick, lots of space, lots of possibilities.
“When my husband and I first looked at the house, we fell in love with it,” Stephanie said. “We loved the brick, and it’s all brick—not just a façade. It had lots of potential and lots of room.”
And then the work began, and maybe someday it will end. So it goes for the owners of an older home, but it’s all worth the effort for the Moores.
Changes began right on the front porch which was enclosed when they bought the house.
The wood supporting the screens was rotting in places so they decided to tear out rather than repair. They’re content with the open-air porch and intend to leave it that way.
Inside the porch is a foyer with a slate floor—slate that Stephanie believes could be original. A glance into the living room shows there’s plenty of original woodwork.
The living room features a fireplace with a cast iron covering, surrounded by brickwork that continues onto the floor. A built-in bookcase is on the opposite wall, just to the right of a large glass pocket door leading into the dining room.
The house is heated with hot-water baseboard heaters, a feature that Stephanie appreciates. The Moores lived in a house with forced-air heat before and the heating feels a lot more even now, she said. It’s also arranged in three zones and the upstairs, for example, can be turned down during the day.
There’s a reason many of the walls are painted instead of papered. The Moores have counted five or six layers of wallpaper underneath the paint of the 1909 home, and they’ve found that removing those layers sometimes takes the old plaster off, too.
“You can either strip it off and replace with drywall or you can do what others have done—paint over it.”
The dining room has plate rails on the walls and a built-in buffet at one end.
“I think we’ve replaced every light fixture in this house,” Stephanie said glancing up at the chandelier.
They’ve chosen new fixtures that blend in with the old style of the home.
When the Moores bought the home in 2002, the dining room came with beige carpet around the outer border and a multi-colored rectangular inset in the middle under the table.
It disguises spills, Stephanie said. With nine-year-old daughter Courtney and six-year-old son Gregory—plus all of their friends—there are some spills.
Changes in the kitchen were minimal, Stephanie said, with the exception of removing one section of countertop and cabinets for installation of a dishwasher. The cabinets are now on the other side of the room.
There’s also a new sink—the site of the geyser of water that reached the ceiling during the installation process.
“My husband is really very handy,” Stephanie said, “but plumbing is always a challenge.”
At the back of the kitchen is a breakfast nook, an area of the house that once served as the rear entrance. What was at one time the exterior brick of the house makes up one wall of the airy room.
There’s a barn visible out the rear windows, a structure that former owners converted into a one-car space with an adjacent work area.
There’s not a lot of yard, and that took some getting used to.
“The yard was a shock to us coming from the country,” Stephanie said, but they kept in mind that the city has parks for the kids.
When they want to stay closer to home, there’s the club house that Greg built in the back yard, plus a large basement toy room.
“The house is always full of kids,” Stephanie said.
An odd half-size door opens to a small pantry adjacent to the kitchen, and farther down the hallway is a set of built-in drawers.
The former toy room—before the basement was fixed up—is now Stephanie’s office.
Up the stairs is a wide, open hallway leading to three bedrooms with enormous closets. Young Greg’s closet could be shrinking soon since plans call for an expansion of the upstairs bathroom to include a tub.
Courtney has the room that leads to a balcony on the front of the house.
A lot of work has gone into refurbishing the nearly 100-year-old structure and the Moores know there will be lot more to do in the future, but this is the house they fell in love with and all the labor they put into it is well worth the time.