1624 Compton Road (2002)


This beautifully proportioned center hall colonial was built in 1915 with Sarah Compton listed on the permit as the original owner. However, Dr. Leo Wolfenstein was the first person to occupy the house, where he lived for many years with his wife, their four children and his father Samuel, the retired director of the innovative and very successful Jewish Orphan Asylum, precursor to Bellefaire.

The home has been extensively renovated and remodeled by the present owners, who have done much of the work themselves. They replaced approximately 90% of the walls and ceilings, added insulation to the outer walls, removed many windows and doors (and moved others) and replaced the roof. They spent six months cleaning the dark woodwork, using gallons upon gallons of refinishing solution that loosened the multiple layers of finish and dirt that then had to be scraped off. They re-routed plumbing that was situated in the walls between the two rooms that ultimately became the family room and replaced and upgraded electrical systems throughout the home. Two forced air furnaces and air conditioning units replaced the old steam heat radiator system (one set for the second and third floors; one set for the first floor). All radiators were removed, including one that was so heavy it had to be cut in half before anyone could move it. Ducts had to be installed for the new heating and air conditioning units. Servicing the first floor was easy by placing ducts in the basement for floor vents; however the second and third floors posed a more challenging problem. The creative solution was to place ductwork around the perimeter of the house on the third floor and place vents in the ceilings on the second floor. The furnace for the second and third floors is cleverly concealed on the third floor in what appears to be a long closet. Window seats were built in front of the ducts to hide them from view. One can get a sense of the amount of work involved in the renovation from the fact that the owners filled the tree lawn (80 feet wide) ten times over with debris such as plaster, lathe, doors and plumbing fixtures.

The result is a spacious family home that reflects not only the dedication and hard work of the owners, but also the artistic talent of one of the owners. The owner and her sister did much of the artwork displayed throughout the house.

On the first floor, the favorite family space is the rebuilt back porch and the new deck that opens from the kitchen and the family room. Removing a wall between two rooms created the new kitchen. Oddly enough, there was still a door in that wall, but it was disguised on the kitchen side by a built-in oven and on the other side by a shelf unit. The owner designed the kitchen layout using a symmetrical "step" design on each side of the sink and designed the cabinets to "wrap around" the second room to create a unified space. Eliminating two small rooms created the family room.

On the second floor, two bathrooms have been remodeled and the master bedroom closet reconfigured. There are five bedrooms and a sitting room, each given names by the previous owners. The sitting room (appropriately known as the Juliet room has an arched casement window that opens high above the stairway landing and is now used as a library and computer room.

The third floor has been completely remodeled, with every inch of space transformed into a comfortable and attractive living space.

One of the outstanding features of the house is the planting and brickwork in the front, which earned the home a Community Improvement Award in 2001. The owner himself did all the work. This year, the addition of a new lawn was accompanied by the installation of an underground irrigation system.



        Many original artworks by owner, her sister and other artists throughout the home.

        Sidelights and glass panels on vestibule door; fan light over front of door.

        Ceramic collection on kitchen cabinets and dining room sideboard.

        Collection of patches and badges from states, colleges, etc. in office on second floor.

        Mask and fan collection in master bedroom.

        Butterfly garden at back of house.

        "Before" pictures in many rooms.