Monday, January 31, 2005
By Emily Laux
Owners Jenny and Tim Robson live at 123 Compo Road South with their four children and two dogs. The house, built in 1853, was 2,500-square feet when they purchased the property in 1999.
123 Compo Road South: “We just didnt even consider tearing down this house.” (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Emily Laux for WestportNow.com
In 2002, they added 1,000-square feet to one side of the house to create a new kitchen, larger family room, and master bedroom suite upstairs. The family lived there throughout the project, which took nine months to complete.
The 0.50-acre property includes a separate garage with a small upstairs apartment that was built in the 1920s for the ownerҒs chauffeur.
Revival Q & A
WN: Do you believe you savedӔ your house from being torn down?
JR: I suspect we saved the house from being torn down, since thats what has happened since 1999 in our neighborhood. The house behind us җ an old converted barn was torn down in 2001.
WN: Why didnt you tear down this house?
JR: We just didnҒt even consider tearing down this house. We really wanted a house that had some history. And we loved being surrounded by barnsthe Gault barn across the road is magnificent, and itגs been a real source of inspiration for us.
Jenny Robson: No financial benefits but plenty of others.(CLICK TO ENLARGE) Emily Laux for WestportNow.com
WN: Have there been financial benefits to restoring rather than tearing down?
JR: Probably not.
WN: What was the biggest surprise during your project?
JR: We discovered there was no foundation at all under the part of the house we were adding on to. It was a 1960s addition, so it should have had a foundation. That brought us over budget a bit.
WN: Have there been non-financial benefits to restoring rather than building new?
JR: Oh, yes, many. The previous owner told us this wonderful story about a man who arrived one day in the 1980s at the house in a Cadillac convertible wearing a big ole Stetson hat. He had been born in what is now the laundry room. Those kinds of stories really keep things in perspective for us.
WN: Are there other benefits?
JR: Well, we have this apple tree. The man who built this house was a hardscrabble farmer who grew apples, and the tree is a reminder of that.
WN: Do you eat the apples?
JR: Oh yes! Our apples are cookersӔ and theyre ready in July. In fact, I just ordered a special apple-picker for next summer. And last night for dessert we had apple pie that I had baked and frozen in August. ThereҒs not a snip left.
WN: Final question: do you have any ghosts?
JR: Well, Im much too practical to have ghost. And besides, I have four kidsҗif the ghosts are here, theyre probably hiding until the kids go off to college!
Posted 01/31/05 at 01:17 PM Permalink
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Ditto! You did a fabulous job on the house!
Thank you for preserving a little bit of the “Old Westport” I grew up in!
Emily did a great job on this story. Teardowns are a plague to our society. More people should remodel.
I takes certain qualities of intellect, aesthetic capability, and considerable perseverance to be a successful remodeler. These homeowners obviously have what it took.
Thank you to the Robsons for appreciating the past and preserving it for the future. Their willingness to spend more money to do this and to live in the house as it was re-modeled (rather than razing it entirely and moving into its replacement) is honorable. Also thanks to Westport Now for this “revival” series. It helps lift my spirits after seeing so many old homes flattened and carted away.
I feel honored to have stayed at the chauffeur’s lodge! What a fantastic home you have built - congratulations.
This is great. I want to see more of these cases.
Welcome aboard Jennie and Tim! Revival story #2. It looks terrific! The Compo road area in which you and I live benefits from people like us who not only respect Westport for its historical charm, but also for the families who built these homes out of craft, neccessity and most importantly taste. Not greed. It takes a certain type of owner to be an indebted slave to a not-so-straight structure. But in the end it is so worth it. From my experience, when giving a casual tour or entertaiting guests, charm and history outweigh size every time. And yes Jennie you are correct. Your ghosts are hiding. They are at my house, with our ghosts, admiring what has been revived! Damon J. Conte 140 Compo Rd South (Revival story #1)