Just as the phoenix in Greek mythology was reborn by arising from the ashes of its predecessor, this early 19th century Georgian home literally obtained new life when it was rebuilt following a fire in 2011. Built in 1918 by George H. Patten and named “Rhandirmwyn” after Mrs. Patten’s ancestral home in Wales, the home was a total loss.
The owners of this classic home, however, were determined to use the original footprint and restore the charming character and architectural features of this nearly century-old home. To do so, they hired a team of top local residential craftsmen that included Dan Trotter of River Street Architecture, Adele James Glascock of Adele James Interiors, and Matt Brown of Raines Brothers, Inc.
It took almost two years, but the home was rebuilt with its original character intact. “Our team worked very well together to meet the needs of our clients,” says Matt Brown of Raines Brothers, Inc.
A white symmetrical façade with dormer windows and black shutters matches the 20th-century look of the original home. Inside, only minor changes that complement the historic floor plan and design elements were made. Closets now replace built-ins, bathrooms are added for each bedroom, gas takes the place of the nearly century-old wood burning fireplaces, the kitchen is updated, and the attic and basement are finished.
“The house was constructed very similarly to the original with today’s technology and codes,” says project designer Dan Trotter of River Street Architecture. Hospitality, functionality, aesthetics, lifestyle, and family were major considerations for the new home. The owner’s intent was for the house to “feel like home – a new, old house.”
Bringing the home back to life was a team effort as the architect, builder and interior designer studied photos to recreate the new house as close to the original as possible. Many original elements were salvaged and incorporated into the new home. When original materials could not be used, the team of local craftsmen replicated original features. Exterior doors were created to match those of the 20th-century home, hardware and lighting have been repaired and refinished, and trim details, even the width of the white oak flooring, are the same as the originals.
One of the main design elements of the house is color, which was updated for all the rooms while still retaining a feeling similar to the old home. Each room has a different hue, but all present light value dimensions that make every room visually light in color and perception. “After losing the house that was so dear to them, I felt a great sense of responsibility to create a home that felt familiar. We wanted it to feel like it was the same home but with a fresh update. The plan was to establish a happy and colorful palette and furnishings that didn’t feel decorated, but rather collected, as if it had evolved over the years,” says interior designer Adele James Glascock.
One of the biggest transformations was in the kitchen, which now opens up to a family great room and breakfast area at each end. While the kitchen has many modern features such as stainless steel appliances and Calacatta gold marble countertops, design elements such as white oak flooring, white custom cabinetry, paneled walls, and bead board ceiling impart a traditional, rather than modern, look to the kitchen. White oak flooring serves as a backdrop for rich Persian rugs and contrasts with the white custom cabinetry and paneled walls for a look that is both traditional and fresh. Antique furnishings and accessories reinforce the traditional look. A long butler’s pantry, which was originally painted a dark color, is now painted white to match the white kitchen cabinetry.
The formal dining room has a very neoclassical look. Walls are painted in a delicate robin’s egg blue accented with white trim molding, and corner cabinets reach to a coquille shaped ceiling. Dining furniture is a mixture of English styles; the chairs are mahogany Chippendale and the table and sideboard are satinwood Hepplewhite.
A baby grand piano graces the piano room where pale yellow walls and white trim beautifully complement bold red and blue colors and patterns of the Oriental rug and furniture upholstery. In front of the fireplace is a seating area comprised of matching Georgian Chippendale arm chairs and sofa.
The master bedroom was renovated and updated adding a walk-in closet and an adjacent sunroom that doubles as an office space. The bedroom with its pale blue walls has a restrained, but muted color palette and a mixture of antique and vintage pieces. Two comfortable seating areas provide a peaceful resting place.
Each of the remaining five bedrooms has a different design style in both color and décor, and is furnished with a mixture of antique and vintage furnishings. At one end of the Jack and Jill bath is a vibrant blue bedroom trimmed in white molding with a white fireplace and built-in bookshelves. Underneath the antique four poster bed is a bold blue and white striped rug. Next to the fireplace is an antique chair covered in a colorful Raoul linen fabric.
The bedroom at the other end of the Jack and Jill bathroom has a softer color palette with ivory walls and bed linens. A more masculine bedroom has khaki walls and twin beds with antique pine headboards. Accents of red are used in folded throws at the foot of the beds and decorative pillows in two wicker chairs. A red bentwood chair sits at an antique desk.
A separate bright and cheery soft yellow bedroom was inspired by the home’s sunroom wallpapered in an English pale green print. A white iron headboard and white bed linens accented with pillows covered in green fabric make the room feel crisp and bright. The fifth bedroom has a similar color scheme with lightly printed green wallpaper and a four poster bed with a blue and green floral bedcovering, and decorative pillows.
Although this home had potentially met its end, through meticulous attention to detail and a commitment to restoring what once was, the home named “Rhandirmwyn” remains as stunning today as it did in 1918.