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Seaside Victorian Cottage: This Old House

For those keen on preserving history, this blog is for you! The iconic show, This Old House, recently completed a project with Sweenor Builders in Narragansett, Rhode Island. They set out to revive an adorable - albeit dilapidated - seaside home with the intention of matching 'the existing structure without overpowering it" while incorporating today's modern innovations with the integrity of the original architecture. This project requirement led them straight to a set of Fimbel American Legends for the prominent garage door openings.

History Meets Today:

In many historic towns, such as Narragansett, the desire to preserve the image and integrity of the rich history means rigorous expectations are set to uphold the features. We find time and again that our doors meet the character, the appearance, and the sustainability demanded of these organizations. With the look of painted wood, the simulated divided lites, the ability to build in 1" height and width increments to accommodate awkward openings, and the opportunity to customize to meet design and historic desires allows our doors to make the cut. 

The follow information is from Narragansett's Historic Preservation Standards and Guidelines which will show a solid example of the requirements to meet historic expectations:

  • Respect the original historical design character of the building and its setting. Don't try to make the building appear older (or younger) in architectural style than it really is. Above all, the genuine (authentic) heritage of Narragansett should be expressed; not an imagined history.
  • Research the building to determine which elements are essential to its character. Preserve features in your work plan.
  • Retain and provide protection and maintenance of historic features that survive in generally good condition.
  • Repair historic materials and features that are deteriorated.
  • Replace historic materials and features with new materials in-kind where deterioration is so extensive that repair is not possible.

Upon seeing these expectations, it is no wonder Fimbel doors are a premier choice for historic renovation projects!

The Seaside Victorian Cottage:

In Season 42 of This Old House, The Seaside Victorian Cottage built in 1887 when Narragansett first surged in popularity as a summer resort is a "three-bedroom, one-bathroom Queen Anne Victorian in the heart of Narragansett, Rhode Island sits on a corner lot, steps from the beach. It is in poor condition with rot, deterioration, and structural damage. The design will replicate the exterior architectural details, such as the curved shingles and the "rising sun" patterned clapboards, as well as improve the foundation and footings, fix and expand the deteriorating porch, and replace the rotting roof."

More than a century later, and after having been abandoned for a few years, the home sat prominently along one of Narragansett's main thoroughfares in severely poor condition. The original structure (the left side of the final result) has been preserved and enhanced, and the new garage add-on with the master suite is on the right. The middle of the home is joined by a mudroom, bathroom, and hallway. With consideration for yesterday, this home now satisfies all the needs of today's family.

Sweenor Builders, lead by Jeff Sweenor, has completed four projects with the This Old House brand, and each one demonstrates talent, creativity, and respect for the craft. The Seaside Victorian home was now exception. They took on this renovation by holding true to their mission:

Since 1989, it has been our mission to make custom home design and construction, an experience that our clients enjoy. With a genuine enthusiasm for what do, we apply in- depth building and design experience to ensure you a rewarding and personalized process from start to finish. This is what sets us apart — shapes our values, and the way we do business.

As a team, they designed a home that "will replicate the exterior architectural details such as the curved shingles and the "rising sun" patterned clapboards, preserve all the windows, improve the foundation and footings, fix and expand the deteriorating porch, and replace the rotting roof. A new addition that includes a two-car garage and mudroom on the first floor and a master suite on the second floor will match the existing structure without overpowering it."

More in a Garage Door:

The alignment of this project, with it's respect for the history and the design, brings us right to the garage doors used to complete the facade.We set out to elevate the garage door industry from just fine to fabulous (while still affordable), and we made that happen with the American Legends series: The first classic carriage style door made with vinyl clad steel and solid overlays. In the late 90's and early 80's, we saw the market lacked a true carriage door with the classic big windows and the sturdy overlay look, and we had the innovation and the experience to make it happen. This series offers all the appeal of a painted wood door, but the longevity, cost, and low-maintenance appeal for the needs of any home and homeowner!

Other manufacturers in the industry came close, but with the lumpy, embossed wood-grain texture, the plastic window inserts, and the weak construction, the end look lacked the quality and accuracy of a historic carriage style door. We saw this, and we stepped it up knowing homeowners and historical societies alike would respond with delight!

Using a vinyl-coated steel pan and applying composite overlays to create a classic wood door look, this Series lives everywhere - even near the ocean without rotting and rusting. Adding our smooth, solid overlays made of sustainable material separates us from the competition's fake wood grain. With customizable top designs in 1" height increments, we offer you more. The American Legends Series was engineered for longevity and designed for beauty at a price point sure to please.

To read more about our American Legends Series used on the Seaside Victorian Cottage restoration by Sweenor Builders and This Old House, please enjoy this blog!

To find a dealer near you ang get started on your perfect garage door, please visit our Dealer Locator!


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