Take a Sneak Peek at Brett Waterman's 'Restored' Homes
These transformations are all about restoring historic homes back to their original glory.
Preservationist Brett Waterman is a master of the makeunder. When he renovates a historic home, he peels back decades of questionable design decisions and restores living spaces to their original glory. Meet the fresh faces of two homes he has transformed and a few of our favorite details, as seen on the upcoming season of his new show, Restored.
Soft, white paint and an elegant deconstruction of the enclosed porch give this Victorian farmhouse a feeling of lightness and grace.
Landscaping makes all the difference at this home. Though its finished exterior is a darker color after Brett’s restoration, sun can finally pour in through the front windows.
Brett designed this kitchen for a family of 10, so it had to be a workhorse (that is, large appliances were mandatory). To incorporate them while retaining the home’s Arts and Crafts feel and reflecting the period style of the rest of the house, he used a board and batten design on the refrigerator and freezer doors.
This "harkens back to the old iceboxes which would have been in the original house back in 1915," Brett says. "I worked closely with my cabinetmaker, Jeff Bonnema, who specializes in handmade custom cabinets using high-quality traditional maple. Together we made a functional and modern kitchen easily accessible to kids of all ages, while making it look like it could have always been there.”
Brett focused on opening up the enclosed front porch to re-establish its original feel. "The combination of the colors, the use of materials and scale and the overall design that incorporated a bench seat into the front railing pulled the whole story together," he says. As the team was experimenting with color to see what worked best on the house, people kept asking him the name of the paint color. "It was a custom blend, and I started calling it National Park Service Green, as it reminded me of many of the beautiful buildings that are found in our national parks throughout the west." (This is excellent timing, since the National Park Service just celebrated its centennial this August.)
Brett designed this piece to create a cohesive flow of materials and shapes around his client's property. "The gate features a custom iron gate latch and strappings forged with hammers and anvils by craftsmen at Roberts Iron Works. The ironwork took approximately two days to make, including cutting, forging and hammering. The gate is a defining feature of the front walk and helps establish the Arts and Crafts architecture of the home," he says.
This gorgeous box-beam ceiling is made of clear Douglas fir. "This type of wood is quite beautiful when stained, and 'clear' Douglas fir [that is, wood that’s free of knots] is just as expensive today as oak, walnut and other hardwoods," Brett says. "We had to scrape off all the old paint and sand down to the raw wood. We stained the beams a number of times until we got the color and the finish I wanted, then [we] varnished the wood to bring out all the beautiful grain."
TLC on a Rough Surface
It can be tricky to remove paint from rough brick, as attempts to restore the original surface can end up damaging it. Brett and his team decided to faux-finish the brick in this fireplace to recreate the original color while maintaining the original details. "Luckily, I had original bricks on the exterior fireplace stack that were unpainted, so I could more easily understand the final finish that I was working to achieve," Brett says.
Bespoke Butcher Block
For this Victorian farmhouse kitchen, the homeowner asked Brett and his team to build a butcher block that reminded her of her childhood. "I wanted it to be solid in design like the traditional butcher block built early last century," Brett says. "So I designed the top using six-inch rock maple with a food-grade finish.” His carpenter married old- and new-world techniques by hand-carving edges to create soft lines then using modern joinery and fasteners. “I wanted to make a butcher block [that] I know would last another hundred years,” he says.