2616 Norfolk Road (2000)


When the present owners moved into this jewel of a Queen Anne Victorian house 102 years after it was built in 1898, they had spent six months on extensive restoration, renovation, and remodeling projects. These include the remodeled kitchen, new windows in basement and attic, new water system, new roof and gutters, and new heating and cooling forced-air system that services the third and second floors. Most of the first and second floor windows are original, while most of the lighting is new, but in keeping with the period. The exterior paint colors were inspired by a similar house they saw in Boyne City, Michigan. The landscaping, lawn and walks are new, with slate from the original walk used along the front planting.


In the living room, the gaslight era is reflected in the brass sconces, which are now wired for electricity. Note the egg-and-dart pattern in the original ceiling beams, the leaded glass doors on the cabinets, and the hand-carved fireplace and beading on the cabinets. Structural changes were made in the kitchen and pantry. An outside door has been widened, and a second door removed to provide wall space for the refrigerator. The sink, which originally stood along an inner wall -- surely an uninspiring view -- was moved to an airy outside corner beneath new windows. The cupboards and copper sink in the butler's pantry are original. Here a large bin that was probably used for potatoes now serves as a receptacle for recyclables.


On the second floor, the master bedroom and bathroom were the only rooms where the woodwork was painted. A new door has been cut to provide access between the bedroom and bathroom. The bathroom retains the original marble sink and clawfoot bathtub. In the sitting room, the curved ceiling had all rotted out and has been replastered. From the windows here, you can see the new copper roof over the bay window and also the copper-lined box gutters, which are exact replicas of the original.


The third floor is a revelation. In the era of live-in servants, this had been their quarters, chopped into three or four small rooms. It is now an entertainment center and a "favorite part of the house." The ceiling has been raised three feet, and wood from existing cabinets was used in the beams. The supporting pillars were "wrapped" in matching pine. In the craft room, a free-standing eight-drawer unit was built into the wall.

There are two small mysteries in this house that the owners would love to have solved. Along the right-hand frame of the front door, there are four call buttons whose purpose is unclear. How did they function? And in the second-floor sitting room, there is an odd, cedar-lined small cupboard with a lock and stained glass window. What purpose did it serve?