History is a funny thing. Sometimes, it gets erased. In construction, we call that a “gut job”, meaning that the existing finishes have been demolished, from the framing studs out. Times change, tastes change, but the spirit of a building remains the same, and calls out for restoration of its original purpose and intention.
In this Brattle Street, Cambridge Victorian, the interior details were new, but maintained a scale that the original trim had, such as the door and window casings. The ceiling crown was somewhat more ornate. The owner participated in the design of interior details as the project progressed. The original architects handled much of the exterior details, with a mill shop providing a designer for the interior details, who worked with the owner almost daily on designs and revisions.
Such a process, a compatible designer and owner, working together, can give a space its full expression. In this and other examples we have seen, patiently “listening” to the building can produce impressive and lasting results. It is truly a privilege to participate in a process that produces such a happy outcome.