In more than a century the John Hardy House had experienced a series of insensitive additions inconsistent with the scale and massing of the 1896 structure. When new owners purchased the property in 2018, the interior was so manipulated that most of the original rooms did not remain.
Due to the state of the house and frontage on two streets, the homeowners had thought to tear down the old structure and build a home facing the more beautiful byway. As the history of the site was revealed, however, they realized an opportunity to become shepherds of the residence. Their vision was a contributing factor to the project’s success. The overall restoration was a herculean feat of creative architecture which required ongoing dialogue with the town’s historical commission. A respectful plan was devised to strip away augmentations that were not original or appropriate to the home. Along with two thoughtful wings which were added in 1914, the 1896 structure was surgically lifted, turned 180 degrees, and carefully lowered onto a newly poured foundation facing the neighborhood’s notable street.
A stepped-down connector wing was designed to link the structure with a new carriage house. Created in the spirit of the original carriage house on site, it was thoughtfully placed to allow for an ample motor court and sense of arrival at the front of the property.
Inside the home, the floorplan was completely reconfigured while respecting the classic vernacular. On the first floor, a central spine now runs from the front door through the rear covered porch, an original detail removed at one point which was added back during the renovation. Open concept family spaces were developed for contemporary living and features like a quietly integrated elevator will allow homeowners to age in place. Private living quarters now include a second floor laundry and all en-suite bedrooms for modern convenience.
The resulting product is a triumphant example of preservation and renovation that simultaneously achieved the homeowners’ goals and maintained an important piece of Wellesley history.