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Resurrecting an old country home…just in time!

Architect James Crisp resurrected a rare find in the Berkshires - a historic fixer-upper that still has its original details.


My architectural firm, Crisp Architects, designs projects throughout New York, Connecticut and Massachusetts. I love to work on old homes, especially when they have not been completely modernized or when they suffer from a series of poorly executed renovations.

In the Berkshires, it is rare to find a fixer-upper that is both historic and still contains original details worth restoring.  My clients found just that kind of a home.

We started with an historic home on a dirt road in the countryside of Massachusetts. The house had been uninhabited for several years. Our clients came along at just the right time to resurrect this beautiful bit of history, before it was too late to save.

Since the house had been empty for some time, there was water damage from a burst pipe. That damage occurred mostly in the kitchen, which we completely rebuilt, although we were able to preserve the old fireplace nearby.

We worked with the homeowners until we came up with solutions that they loved and met all of their needs. There were sections of the home that had never been touched. Some parts of the home had been updated in an adequate manner and others needed to be completely redone.

By carefully preserving the antique portions of the home while renovating and adding to the newer sections, we were able to create a home that has a foot in several centuries. Best of all it still feels comfortable on that tiny dirt road.

I have few “before” pictures available, and they are primarily of the kitchen. I hope the “after” pictures will demonstrate how we were able to combine the charm of the old with the ease and comfort of the new.

The kitchen “before”. Please note the old fireplace in the rear of the photo.


The rebuilt kitchen. Please note the same fireplace. Photo: Rob Karosis


Another view of the kitchen. Photo: Rob Karosis


The breakfast nook at the end of the kitchen. Photo: Rob Karosis


The staircase “before”. Please note the old beams that run both horizontally and vertically.


The rebuilt staircase from the first floor. Please note the same beams. Photo: Rob Karosis


The same stairwell as seen from the second floor. Photo: Rob Karosis


The guest bedroom also retains an original fireplace, but much cleaned up. Photo: Rob Karosis


The living room retains the same country house feeling, even though it is all new construction. Photo: Rob Karosis


The back of the house with porches. Photo: Rob Karosis


The screened porch at the back of the house. Photo: Rob Karosis


The mud room just inside the front door…a good, old-fashioned country entrance. Photo: Rob Karosis



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