Long Time Coming: Inside TOH’s West Roxbury Victorian Project


This text appeared within the Fall 2022 situation of This Outdated Home Journal. Click on right here to discover ways to subscribe.

From the second we stepped into this home, I used to be redesigning all the things,” says architect Derek Rubinoff, who, alongside along with his spouse, Robyn Marder, liked their residence’s Victorian character however knew the home wanted an overhaul. Its historical past as a two-family residence had left behind some important format dysfunctions, together with a bare-bones kitchen with its sink within the pantry and unattached decrease and higher cupboards sitting on the ground.

Family outside of their Victorian home

Owners Derek Rubinoff and Robyn Marder, with teenagers Zach and Aria, on the entrance porch, the place cable rail makes an up to date balustrade.
Erin Little

On the second ground was one other kitchen and a eating space the place bedrooms ought to have been, and a glass-paneled wooden door related the couple’s bed room with their daughter’s. However between elevating two youngsters, then 8 and 5, working full-time jobs—Robyn teaches highschool English—and no out there capital after shopping for the home, the couple might solely dream and make do with the place because it was.

That each one modified final fall, when the outside’s peeling paint couldn’t be ignored any longer. On shut inspection, rotting fascia, soffits, and siding got here to gentle, which put new clapboards, trim, and home wrap on the agenda, which in flip highlighted the necessity for brand spanking new home windows. Derek and Robyn realized that the time to present the home what it—and so they—wanted had arrived.

Kitchen and entryway of Victorian house

LEFT: Matte-black cupboards body an inset row of natural-wood items alongside the cooktop wall, the place a door hid to the visitor room. Black-quartz counter- tops and backsplashes add to the dramatic look; the island’s white-quartz waterfall-edge countertop provides distinction. RIGHT: The entry’s unique options embody the paneled entrance door, unpainted staircase and trim, and stained glass window, all now refurbished for a lot of extra many years of service.
Erin Little

“I can’t imagine we truly did it,” Robyn says eight months later, the household now settled again into their modernized eternally residence. “I’ve a tremendous kitchen and so many enhancements all over the place,” she says, marveling on the renovation work performed by builder Deliandro Dias and his crew.

“Better of all, we did it whereas maintaining the home’s unique Victorian parts,” she provides. Lending a hand each step of the way in which was the workforce from This Outdated Home, which documented the mission as a part of its forty third tv season.

Dining room and living room of Victorian house

The opening from the eating room to the lounge was widened, offering sight traces by means of the primary ground, from the kitchen island to the lounge’s entrance home windows. The ceiling and the edges of the soffits concealing ductwork had been painted to present the eating room definition. The diamond-pane home windows are unique; all different home windows had been changed.
Erin Little

As with many elderly homes, there have been obstacles each identified and unknown. “These previous homes current many challenges as a result of flooring are uneven otherwise you discover surprises when you get into the partitions,” says Dias. Addressing the water-damaged exterior meant eradicating rotting clapboards, renailing the sheathing, and changing deteriorated rosin paper with fashionable home wrap. Fiber-cement clapboards, PVC trim, and high-performance home windows put a recent face on the home and assist make it weathertight.

Returning the home to a single-family residence meant resolving format points on each the primary and second flooring, which had been separate dwellings. On the principle ground, the kitchen design drove the adjustments. Robyn and Derek had been united in wanting a contemporary, European-style kitchen with glossy frameless cupboards and built-in home equipment.

Living room of Victorian house

The lounge’s unique options embody window casings, 9-inch baseboards, crimson oak flooring, and a French door to the entry lobby. The impartial coloration scheme contains two shades of grey.
Erin Little

An open-plan format was one of the best path to reaching the bigger kitchen and higher site visitors stream they had been after. Eradicating load-bearing partitions opened up the kitchen to the eating room, and putting in perpendicular laminated veneer lumber (LVL) beams offered the wanted help. Closing up a doorway from the kitchen to a again visitor bed room created area for an L-shaped run of floor-to-ceiling kitchen cupboards. Demolishing the previous pantry allowed for including a full bathtub to serve the primary ground, in addition to friends.

Working with kitchen designer Marissa Perez, Derek and Robyn selected matte-black cupboards, with an inset row of shallower natural-wood items that wrap the cooktop and sink partitions. “The higher black cupboards create an architectural body across the inset cupboards,” says Derek. The sunshine-dark distinction is magnified by black-quartz counter tops and backsplashes that spotlight the angular, fashionable vent hood. One other wall of cupboards throughout from the sink holds an enormous built-in refrigerator-freezer and double wall ovens. A 7-by-3-foot island holds extra home equipment and gives stool seating.

Breakfast nook in Victorian house

A sunny breakfast nook off the kitchen went in after the again staircase got here out and the brand new rear entry was added.
Erin Little

The primary-floor areas, whereas open to 1 one other, are nonetheless clearly outlined, every with its personal persona. The eating room nonetheless showcases the soul of the unique Victorian home, with its stained-wood moldings—the remainder of the rooms have white-painted casings and moldings—and diamond-pane home windows with aged-gumwood casings. For a cohesive look, Derek and Robyn needed the trim on the brand new eating room home windows to be stained to match the prevailing gumwood trim.

TOH painter Mauro Henrique assisted Alexsandro Cruz and his workforce in making a patinated look by wiping on a 3-to-1 resolution of stain and paint thinner. Then they went over it with a chip brush; as soon as dry, they gave the surfaces a light-weight sanding and a coat of wax. The eating room’s new LVL carrying beams assist to set off the area, as do the dark-gray partitions. Dias prompt going even bolder by portray the ceiling darkish as nicely.

Including one other Victorian contact, he and This Outdated House normal contractor Tom Silva put in new crown molding matching the unique profile and utilizing a mix of mitering and coping strategies to make the trim match correctly. “The corners aren’t at all times 90 levels in an previous home,” says Tom.

Office in Victorian house

The primary-floor visitor bed room doubles as a house workplace; its ample home windows present a view of bushes on this city neighborhood. The householders selected a palette of cool, impartial grays and whites for all the home.
Erin Little

Eradicating a little-used, space-hogging again staircase freed up the wanted space to enhance the second ground. An unique function of the 1894 home, it continued to be helpful when the construction was transformed to a two-family residence. However excising it was key to giving Robyn and Derek a real major suite with room for a personal bathtub, full with a spacious bathe, a soaking tub, and a double self-importance, in addition to a walk-in closet.

The renovation additionally improved the youngsters’ upstairs bedrooms. To offer son Zach a bed room closet, Dias’s crew took area from the corridor bathtub, and to present daughter Aria’s bed room privateness, they closed up a door to Robyn and Derek’s room.

The renovation additionally elevated the householders’ indoor consolation with HVAC upgrades that mixed current and new methods. “We saved what we might right here as a result of funds was necessary,” says TOH plumbing and heating professional Richard Trethewey.

Whereas the gasoline furnace that serves the primary and second flooring was nonetheless useful and environment friendly, including a warmth pump coil tied to a cold-weather inverter condenser outdoors will present extra heating and all of the air-conditioning. A separate pump will provide heating and cooling to the beforehand unconditioned third-floor area, which can perform as a teen hangout.

All through, new paint in shades of cool grey and white, with darker-gray accent partitions, offers the refurbished inside a clear, recent look. Sanded and completed with a transparent coat, the unique crimson oak flooring took on a paler hue that blends with new flooring in an identical shade feathered in as wanted.

Close up of bed in primary bedroom of Victorian house

Within the major bed room, a soffit concealing ductwork creates a distinct segment impact; the accent wall behind the headboard beforehand had a door to a different bed room.
Erin Little

Outside upgrades present ending touches that give the household extra use of their city lot. TOH panorama contractor Jenn Nawada and TOH mason Mark McCullough laid a herringbone brick patio in again. In entrance, a brand new brick walkway and granite steps changed crumbling masonry.

With no funds for brand spanking new landscaping, Jenn cleared overgrown beds and transplanted mature vegetation. “We actually opened up the entrance of the home by transferring the big rhododendrons to the yard, the place they add numerous privateness,” says Jenn, who saved a coloration accent in entrance by replanting a crimson Japanese maple from the yard.

Exterior of Victorian home

When the 1894 three-story home, situated in Boston’s West Roxbury neighborhood, was constructed, the world round it was largely farmland. The renovation saved the home’s easy Victorian structure intact however up to date it with fashionable supplies, together with fiber-cement siding, PVC trim, aluminum gutters with a wood-gutter profile, an ipe porch ground and ceiling, stainless-steel cable rails, and dual-pane fiberglass home windows.
Erin Little

Dias rebuilt the water-damaged entrance porch, including a brand new ipe ground and ceiling and changing the previous wooden balustrades with a extra open cable-rail system in line with Derek and Robyn’s up to date aesthetic. “It offers a contemporary look to a conventional porch,” says TOH host Kevin O’Connor. “It’s one other good lesson that you should use new parts and preserve the Victorian really feel.”

For the household, the years of ready had been price it. “We purchased the home aspiring to renovate and convert it again to a single-family, and after the lengthy wait, we’ve our dream home,” Derek says now. “I think about this stuff for a residing, and, wow, that is even higher than I imagined it.”

Primary bathroom and closet in Victorian house

LEFT: The first bathtub was created by stealing area from the corridor. The open, curbless bathe will get its fashionable look from wave-textured wall tile and glossy black plumbing fixtures. RIGHT: Derek and Tom put in a DIY-friendly closet system within the major suite, in area as soon as occupied by a again stairway.
Erin Little

Flooring Plans

Floorplans for West Roxbury Victorian Project

Ian Worpole

The present footprint of the two,400-square-foot home remained just about the identical, however the, renovation eliminated awkward remnants of a two-family conversion. The four-bedroom, three-bath residence now boasts a sight line from the entrance, lobby to the again door. This was, made doable by remodeling the prevailing pantry—now a full bathtub—eradicating a wall between the eating room and kitchen, and including 26 sq. ft for a brand new again entry, a breakfast nook, and relocated entry to the visitor bed room. Upstairs, eradicating the again stairs allowed for a major suite. The entrance bed room gained a closet with area taken from the shared bathtub.


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