The rehabilitation of the Schafer Mansion began with the cataloguing of the exact detailing and proportions of the elements that defined its interior and exterior character including coordinated strategies for the reuse or restoration of the buildings unique finishes. These included the restoration of the original wood casework, tiling, fireplaces and the grand stair while matching repairs and additions to adjacent finishes. In a similar way, the adjacent carriage house was reconstructed to match the profiles of its original metal pan roof while tuck-pointing at the exterior façade was matched to the original mortar color. The design strategy implemented a layout that minimized the removal of room partitions significantly maintaining the mansion’s original layout.
Of primary concern was the restoration of the building’s damaged zinc-lined glass windows. Every window was documented on the property and carefully transported off site for repair, regrouting and cleaning. Custom double-pane insulated windows matching the original size, architectural character and operation of the original single-pane windows improved the building’s envelope energy performance. The exterior wooden shutters where all replaced with matching shutters and period appropriate shutter-dogs.
For the exterior of the building was developed to maintain its experience ‘in the round’ while providing light and access to the lower level of the building. Minimal sunken terraces were added and a two-story addition at the rear of the property was designed in the character of a sunroom with muted expressions of the porch elements.
Salvaged for reuse where a variety of the building’s materials including period plumbing fixtures, light fixtures, ornaments, furniture, original wood doors and cast iron radiators. They where donated to a local non-for-profit organization for use in restoring other similar historic properties.
For these efforts, The Schafer is an exceptional example of restoration and adaptive reuse and a worthy mantle for the Builder’s Choice Award.