Scott and Susan Jones loved everything about living in Lafayette Square: the architecture, the proximity to shops and restaurants, and especially the neighbors and fun events for kids. But they wanted a bigger yard – and a swimming pool.
In 2008, when they started looking for a new home, they saw faded “for sale” signs in the yard of a house on Kennett Street. It was on a double lot, which piqued their interest. It was in a state of disrepair, and they hoped they could make it their own. But the owner didn’t seem interested in selling, so they gave up. A few months later, they purchased the house next door to that one, also on a huge lot. They started making renovations. That house shared its double lot with the other house, and the Joneses couldn’t help but dream of turning those two yards into one outdoor playland.
So now they had two houses with a giant yard between them. They decided to sell the first house they bought and renovate the dilapidated one. That renovation would take two years and include a pool, a pool house, a large addition and a restoration of the historic 1888 structure.
During that time, they lived in their old home, and then when it sold, Scott and their oldest son bunked in his office while Susan and their three younger kids moved into the new pool house.
The original shutters – the cool kind that store inside walls when open – have been refinished, the molding was taken down, repaired and often put back together on widened doorways, “like a jigsaw puzzle,” Scott says.
“We definitely made a decision to preserve as much as possible,” says Susan. But was there anything they didn’t have to restore or replace? “I really liked the fence,” Susan says with a laugh. “The fence stayed.”
Their new house is a harmonious mix of old and new. When you enter and walk through the main hall, you pass by a double parlor with two fireplaces, period furnishings (including a late- 1800s piano), a hallway leading to the old carriage porch entrance and a formal dining room, all with 14-foot ceilings and period light fixtures.
The back room opens onto the new addition: a drool-worthy mudroom with room for a future elevator and a nearly 1,000-square-foot kitchen-family room combo. They repeated the 14-foot ceilings that lead the eye right to the breathtaking windows overlooking that yard they dreamed of.
Three towering trees remain in the grassy area, with a play set for the kids. A fenced-in pool includes lounge chairs, an outdoor seating area and the pool house. It’s not just a bathroom and storage. This one has a living area, kitchen and bath on the main floor with table tennis and air hockey. Upstairs is a bedroom for guests, a bar, shuffleboard and a poker table.
“We don’t really have parties anymore,” says Susan. “People just show up.” Susan loves how the kids (and their friends) like hanging out at home.
City Lights Design + Build oversaw the whole project. “They really specialize in restoration,” says Scott. They made doors in some parts of the house out of other doors. They preserved a few light fixtures; Susan found others at estate sales and antique stores.
Trendy barn doors separate the 12-foot-by-12-foot mudroom from the living area. Pottery Barn furniture and neutrals decorate the family room. In the older part of the home, bright red walls show off antique furniture.
“We had a lot of confidence in our contractor,” Scott says,” or else we would have been a lot more nervous.”
When they bought the house, carpet covered the floors. Susan had hopes of uncovering it and finding preserved wood floors, but that was not to be.
Their contractor found a Masonic temple that was under demo and was able to procure the reclaimed yellow wood flooring from it. “Basically we met them at the dumpsters,” says Scott. The new floor looks like it was part of the home from the start. And that’s how the Joneses intended it.