This is an old, now new house located in Lewes, Delaware. Lewes, the site of the earliest European settlement in Delaware, sits on the eastern side of Sussex County and faces northeast into the mouth of the Delaware Bay. It is popularly known as an eighteenth-century coastal town and is composed primarily of late nineteenth-century and early twentieth-century building stock, the dominant building type being timber, and the prevalent construction type is balloon framing.
That's what the small house at 308 Mulberry Street, in the heart of the historical district, was like until the current owner purchased the property.
The house was in poor condition, so the owners decided to renovate the original house, turning it into the main entry hall and four bedrooms, and then adding a rather sizable extension and swimming pool to the back.
In the redesign, the exterior of the original structure was meticulously restored, while a shed-roofed screened porch, storage room, and poorly proportioned living space that had been added to the back of the house in the early twentieth-century were removed.
The new design more than doubled the square footage of the old home, but the strategy of the renovation was to allow the historical, two-story house to remain prominent on the street facade, while four additional structures would be added in a minimally invasive fashion. These additions were conceived as one-story pavilions organized around a new swimming pool and large Deodor Cedar tree, located at the rear of the property.
While the exterior of the original house is restored with historically correct detailing, the new pavilions are crisply detailed. Cedar shingled walls and roofs match the historical house but without overhangs and trim. Large expanses of glass set in black steel frames punctuate the cedar walls. Tall red brick chimneys and landscape walls add vertical and horizontal elements, completing the composition.
The interiors of the old part of the home are decidedly modern with white walls void of trim, casings, moldings and baseboard that engage white ash flooring. An open, floating staircase, glass walls, aluminum and stainless steel contribute to the modern palette.
In juxtaposition to the primarily white interiors of the original house, the interior of the new living pavilion is rich with mahogany walls and ceilings, basalt flooring, white marble counters and fireplace surround, and stainless steel cabinetry.
Walls of glass and a long skylight at the ridge allow light to flood the pavilion while additional pavilions contain a bathroom, an exercise room and a screened porch, with Douglas-Fir walls and ceilings, just off the swimming pool; a fireplace allows the space to be used late into the fall.
I love these restorations, where the old house, at least on the outside, is preserved, but the interiors, and new spaces, have been fully updated and modernized. It's the best of both worlds, really.