A Walk in the Park

By Moe Godat

Photography by Kim Dillon


    “On our walks around the neighborhood, we would admire the beautiful old houses,” says homeowner Ryan Jacob Wood, “but we saw a few fixer-uppers that still needed love.”

    Wood and his husband, Bary Klevene, were living in a townhouse in Lafayette Square when they fell in love with the neighborhood’s historic charm. On their daily walks around the park, they’d admire both renovated and untouched homes alike, wondering what their home would look like if they decided to take on the task of renovating a historic home.

    “We were analyzing the crumbling facade of one particular mansard home when the neighbor struck up a conversation and asked if we were looking to buy,” Wood explains. Though the home’s previous owner took some convincing, six months after seeing the home Wood and his husband found themselves with a new project on their hands.

    And a handful it was. The window sills and stone facade were crumbling, the windows were rotting and the front steps had sunk and separated from the home. Even the brick sidewalk was a tripping hazard. The young couple’s main priority throughout the entire rehab was to restore the home to its original splendor. When asked what exterior aspect was most important to keep true to history, Wood said “absolutely everything. Historic codes required us to maintain every aspect and had to be pre-approved.”

    All windows were replaced with custom historic wooden replicas and custom brickmould, and new window sills were cast in concrete and replaced. The dormers were removed and rebuilt. After pouring a new foundation, the steps were carefully placed in their proper location, preceeded by a walkway made of salvaged bricks that were once part of the basement floor. Though not original to the home, the homeowners had a cast iron fence made in the style of the neighborhood.

    With everything up to code, it was time for them to make this historic home their own by choosing the paint and planting the landscape, which Wood says was definitely his favorite part of the exterior renovation. New house numbers and a freestanding mailbox finished the scene.

    “We are so happy that we chose to buy and fix this house,” Wood says. “It makes us smile when people admire our home and ask us to take pictures on our porch rather than cutting the house out of pictures of the neighboring homes.” 



Architect: Killeen Studios

Builder: Millennium Restoration