Project Story

Located in the Historic district of Haddonfield, New Jersey, the Victorian homes are landmarks of a time when life was simpler.  Thankfully, today these homes are protected by the borough, but it is the owners of these properties that really deserve the credit.  When it comes to this project, the owners deserve a medal! 

This home was originally constructed in the late 1800’s, a beautiful home that graced the street until shortly after the Second World War.  Shortly after the war, the home went through a tough transformation, going from a single family Victorian with a wrap-around porch to a metal-clad duplex with a portion of the porch removed.  This was not an uncommon practice at the time as men returning from the war were starting families and needed an affordable place to live.  The home remained under the ownership of the original family until July 2014. 



The home went up for sale and was purchased by a couple with more vision, determination, and guts than most home buyers ready to take on a fixer upper.  It didn’t take long for them to realize that restoring the home to preserve the past, while updating it to support a more modern lifestyle, was going to require considerable time, money, and planning; not to mention Planning Board and Haddonfield Preservation Commission approvals.  What took less time was for them to fall in love with Haddonfield, the surrounding neighborhood, and the home.

For Jay Reinert Architect, llc, this is where the project begins, and we were contracted to create a design and master plan to guide the project.  Working with the client, we began by researching the history of the home.  We scoured the neighborhood looking at similar homes for clues about what the home was like in its previous life.  We measured and photographed the house to start documenting the existing conditions.  While surveying the condition of the home, it became clear that we needed to prioritize and phase the project.  The first priority was to prevent further deterioration of the building by repairing the foundation and replacing the roof.  With the building stabilized, we could focus on completing the interior phase so that the client’s family had a place to live and recover.  According to the master plan, the final phase will replace the wrap-around porch and return the outside of the house to its original splendor.

In order to decode prior alterations, we analyzed flooring directions, trim and baseboard patches, and wall plaster condition to determine the original layout of the home.  Understanding the home's layout was important for several reasons, but most importantly, we wanted to undo the alterations that were made when the home was taken from a single family home to a duplex. 

It was not our intention, however, to put the home back exactly as it was originally constructed, but rather to make sensitive modifications to the building and layout that were respectful of the past and appropriate for raising a family in the early twenty-first century.  The biggest modification in layout on the first floor would be the relocation of the kitchen from the rear of the home to the original dining room.  At the turn of the twentieth century, the dining table was the center of all gatherings, today it’s the kitchen.  This seemed like a natural move and allowed the original kitchen space to be redesigned as a back entry and laundry space.  On the second and third floor the house had six bedrooms, therefore it made a lot of sense to incorporate one of the second floor bedrooms into the master bedroom suite.

We look forward to commencing the last phase of this Victorian revival, as the exterior work will be one of the more prominent and outwardly transformative accomplishments of the project.

Please check back frequently for more photos as this project progresses through its phases.