Two longtime Allentown residents have been dedicated stewards to their home for nearly 20 years. That love was tested on December 27, 2015 when fire struck destroying the first-floor bathroom and causing smoke and fire damage throughout the house. Attributed to an electrical short, the fire began and the fire department immediately responded. “They were there within minutes and saved the house putting the fire out with extinguishers eliminating water damage.”
As the smoke and water remediation was completed, the couple started the rehab plans. Because the property is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and located in an eligible census tract, the project was eligible for the NYS Historic Homeowner Tax Credit. They had considered using tax credits in the past but it wasn’t until they realized the magnitude the post-fire rehab plans that they decided to pursue them. “The tax credit is so liberating. You know that everything you are doing is appropriate to the home and you get the benefit of the tax credit which ensures you will go the extra mile.”
After years of living with inherited dark finishes, heavy antique wallpaper, and non-original built-in units, the rehab of the house allowed the owners and their interior designer/project manager Mark Taylor, to put the historic character of the house on display. “You never saw the incredible artwork in the moldings and woodwork. The radiator in the kitchen- it’s a piece of art! And in redesigning the kitchen, the plans were done around this incredible radiator.”
After receiving their building permits and Certificate of Appropriateness from City of Buffalo’s Preservation Board and tax credit project approval from the New York State Historic Preservation Office, rehab work began in January 2016 and finished in April 2017. In addition to completely remodeling the fire damaged bathroom, they also removed and updated wallpaper throughout the house, underwent a major kitchen remodel, and refinished and/or replaced damaged flooring.
While the project evolved into more than just repairing fire damage, it was all worth it for the owners. “There’s a sense of stewardship when owning an historic house. It’s so meaningful to have contributed to the well-being of this house and the neighborhood and now we have contributed to its longevity.”