So for years while I was in graduate school I spent hours looking through real-estate databases at homes that I might be able to afford when I entered the real world and got a job. I knew with certainty that I wanted to  return to my beloved hometown of Rochester. As luck would have it, and I count myself very lucky, I had a full-time position, in Rochester, ready to go before I graduated. To add to this fortuitous situation, it was with a firm I had interned for in years past, and who specializes in Historic Preservation work. How perfect for a nerd like me!

This occasional past-time of looking through internet results and perusing the Saturday Real Estate section in the newspaper, turned serious on New Years. Not that I made an official resolution or anything, I just reached out to a realtor friend of mine, Rome Celli, who has an eye for historic homes on December 31st. I had identified a group of interesting houses within the weeks leading up to reaching out to Rome, and so, we started setting up showings. Rome threw in a few to boot. A 1890’s transitional Queen Anne, with a great porch and slate roof was first, a 1910’s clapboard sided Four Square…also with a great porch, and gleaming woodwork to boot came after that. There were a few others, but my memory is foggy. Then came the exquisite Arts and Crafts house (okay it really was just a large dressed up four square) with rambling gardens, stained glass, original pantry, and heinous kitchen…I almost submitted an offer, but backed out before submitting the paper work. The modest Colonial Revival with a showcase 1930’s interior, completely original, minus a few windows, and with a wooded ravine for a backyard was next. I liked it so much I wrote a column on it. Alas, I am just a bit vain, and needed some more curb appeal than what it could offer me.

So it seemed that I was not quite finding the right fit. It would be nice to live in the City and close to work, or at least a commute of less than 5 miles. However, what I was really particular about was that the house had to have good design, and had to be largely original…because I really just hate new bathrooms (they never look right…ever), I love original kitchens, but acknowledge they’re impossible to find, also, I am definitely a sucker for anything with an Arts and Crafts style vibe, or 1920s flair. In addition to that…maybe, just maybe, that house with an impossible to find kitchen, good design, and particular amount of architectural showy-ness could have an interesting, perhaps even important history, I’m pretty sure my eyes would roll back in my head and it would all be over if that happened.

So why would I ever take a look at a vinyl clad…one of the cardinal sins!…house that had been sitting on the market for months?


…that was full of dolls, and dark orange maroon carpeting?


Welllll…the triple gable is pretty cool, it does have a lot of windows, and there might be some original light fixtures. While green might not be my ideal color for cabinetry, I was pretty sure that looked like an original kitchen, with a badass sink.

Kitchen Before

…and who doesn’t love a lilac and black tiled bathroom?

Bathroom Before


Well, it certainly was worth a look.


One thought on “Beginnings

  1. Chris, your new home looks like it has great “bones”! You are the perfect owner to help it meet its potential. Even though you will be living in Irondequoit, I know your heart will remain in Brighton. Anyway, the land where your new home is situated was once part of Brighton, as you already know.
    Best of luck in your renovation/restoration.
    Arlene Wright Vanderlinde.

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