The Best Born-Again, Historical Features Seen on 'Restored'

Brett Waterman keeps his eyes peeled for opportunities to unmask his restoration projects’ original charm—and to update them in ways that are true to their characters. 

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Magnificent Main Room

This already-spacious living room looks even more magnificent after Brett’s team restores the natural finish to the ceiling, including a dramatic beam that runs the entire length of the wall above the Hearst-Castle-worthy fireplace. 

Beamed Ceiling

The honey-hued original woodwork in this Spanish Colonial Revival home was covered with layer upon layer of paint. Revealing it once more is a Herculean feat for the restoration team, but their effort is appreciated: The home’s owners fell in love all over again. 

Spanish Colonial Ranch House

Brett was thrilled when his clients purchased this Spanish Colonial ranch house in a former grapefruit grove in Yucaipa, Calif.: “This may be my favorite architecture style,” he says. He and his team walk back eight decades’ worth of “interpretation and stylistic changes” over the course of six weeks. This newly-classic look would have fit right into the neighborhood in 1937.

Walk-in Fireplace

Extensive water damage and dry rot in the wall and timbers near the fireplace had compromised its regal air. After restoration, it rules the room once more. 

Mediterranean Kitchen Tiles

Adobe brick and original, Italian-made tiles from the 1930s contribute to this kitchen’s 1930s Mediterranean-Revival character. Brett was thrilled to have the opportunity to preserve them, as many homeowners prefer to swap out features like tiled countertops.

Arts and Crafts Home

“Arts and Crafts homes typically embrace natural paint tones that blend well with nature,” Brett says. “The Arts and Crafts style embraced the notion that the house was one with nature and showcased the art of the craftsman and the materials used to build the home.” The forest tones on this 1915 home harmonize beautifully with its surroundings.

Re-sanded Banister

This once-gouged banister has clearly gotten a lot of use in the last century—and will get much more from the large family now climbing up and down the stairs. Brett sands out much of the damage to the wood and is able to fill and block-sand the rest, which restores the original look of the handrail. 

Clawfoot Tub

The couple sharing this master bathroom have eight children. Brett intuits, correctly, that they need a retreat. He reconfigures the master suite by incorporating an enclosed porch, adding separate vanities and a double shower and spotlighting a beautiful clawfoot tub.

Marble Tiles

Hexagonal marble tiles in this 1915 Arts and Crafts home’s newly-enlarged master bathroom give the space a subtly luxurious feel. 

New-again Tilework

Brett and his restoration team note that people pay a lot of money to re-create the look of original fireplace tile that, in this case, had suffered through two tragic makeovers. Once that work is undone and the tilework is revealed, it gives important cues for the rest of the master suite’s color story.  

Light-filled Dining Room

Brett convinces his homeowners to retain the wall between their kitchen and dining room and allow him to open up the back of a hutch to admit more light, which gives them the breathing room they need without compromising the original design. Happily, a victory for comfort doesn’t result in a loss of history.

Victorian Farmhouse Porch

Brett and his team deconstruct the enclosed porch on this Victorian farmhouse. With a delicate new railing and white-on-white trim, a once-neglected beauty is now putting her freshest face forward.

Granite Stairs

Awkward cinderblock stairs don’t reflect this 1890 home’s Victorian approach, so Brett surrounds them with granite tooled to resemble stonework that’s typical of the area. The stone itself is local as well—it’s from an arroyo between Redlands and San Bernardino.

Free-spanned Porch

With the help of a local historian’s photographs and cues he’s able to uncover in the structure itself, Brett is able to recreate the posts along what was once a free-spanned space. His team’s most important work on this part of the home isn’t visible to the casual viewer: It’s the foundation support they add to the porch’s decades-old partial retrofit.

Victorian Bungalow

Thanks to thoughtful landscaping, a turn-of-the-century Victorian bungalow that was all but hidden behind a tumult of trees and shrubs can breathe again. The greenery now flanking the front steps is an accent rather than a mask. 

Porch Sitting Area

Prior to restoration, this cottage’s back porch was an awkward mechanical room (and essentially useless space). After TLC from Brett and his team, it’s once again a suitable spot to enjoy a cup of coffee.

Re-lit Dining Room

Victorian cottages, as Brett explains, are like jewel boxes—and this one had the chandelier equivalent of '70s costume jewelry in the dining room. After his restoration, the space is considerably more sophisticated. 

Reimagined Kitchen Fixtures

The understated backsplash and sleek chrome fixtures in this cottage’s newly-restored kitchen are a vast improvement on the unhelpful accessories Brett demolishes.

Crowned Shower Entryway

There wasn’t much Brett wanted to save in this home’s single bathroom, so he reimagines it to suit his homeowner: The master shower entryway is embellished with granite slabs and a custom-made crown shelf. (In another area of the reconfigured space, Brett adds a tub suitable for the homeowner’s young daughter.)

Repainted Hardwood Floors

While finished hardwood floors are typical in Victorian homes, restoring this room’s original surface would cost a fortune. To save money and avoid swapping out the floors altogether, Brett decides to sand down and repaint them. 

Original Boxed-beam Ceiling

This living room’s boxed-beam ceiling is made of "clear" Douglas fir—that is, wood that’s free of knots. Brett and his team scraped off layers of paint and sanded the beams until they were once again raw wood, then applied stain and varnish to draw attention to its show-stopping grain. 

Period-appropriate Pendant

“Boxed-beam ceilings are always a major feature in an Arts & Crafts home and are a quintessential example of the craftsmanship of the period,” Brett says. Period-appropriate lighting and fixtures, in turn, are often considered a home’s "jewelry," and this pendant is a fitting accent for a bungalow built in 1913.

Craftsman Bungalow

Brett rescued this beautiful 1913 Craftsman bungalow from a high-contrast paint job that obscured its original (and much more natural) elegance.

Original Trim

Brett coaxes the dark wood trim in this living room—a classic feature of Arts and Crafts homes—from beneath a century of questionable colors.

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