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December 04, 2016
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Something old, something new; A country house lovingly restored

Afterward, the washer and dryer closet is hidden behind double doors made from recycled barn wood.
TRR photo by Isabel Braverman

The house isn’t the only structure to get a makeover on Greenberg’s property. In the expansive yard sits an old chicken coop. While no work has begun yet, it will be transformed into a guest house where Greenberg hopes her children and grandchildren can play and hang out. Greenberg is especially fond of the wrap-around porch, and once you see it you would be, too. The large porch is painted white, as is the rest of the house, and the floor is a light gray. There are two sets of stone steps each leading to a separate entrance, and white wooden chairs and an old wood and linoleum table provide places to lounge and look at the view of the creek right across the road.

Besides the dynamic duo of Jan and Greenberg, there was also a team of local workers who helped with the project. The carpenters were Teb Fink and his crew of fourth-generation carpenters. Russel Lyons did exterior painting, and Andee Kraft worked on various parts of the job, including wallpaper removal. Jan said she handles pretty much every aspect of the job. “I pitch in wherever I can; whatever my height and age allows,” she laughs.

I asked Jan how she got into the home restoration business. “I grew up in a family of builders, half Italian, and never thought I would be in the trade,” she said. “I lived in an apartment most of my life, so when I got my home, it needed work, and I dedicated myself to restoring my 1915-era house, and then pretty soon people noticed and asked me.”

Jan has worked on many houses around the area. However, she said she doesn’t take on every project. “I take projects with people who are interested in restoring their homes with a modern twist.” She and Greenberg worked very well together.

“Ramona was fabulous to work with—a great partner who shared my vision of the house—making sure that historic elements were preserved and creatively incorporating the new with the old,” said Greenberg.

“What I like to do is work closely with the client,” said Jan, “to try to, first of all, save them money; I’m very scrappy. I like to work with what they already own and not have them buy so many new things. I will try to up-cycle as much as I can. If they don’t have it, I try to find it somewhere.”

Much of the furniture in the house has been re-purposed or bought from an antique shop. Other spaces, like the kitchen, are new and modern. And the living room uses furniture from Greenberg’s Westchester home.

“It has been a wonderful process and my family and friends are thrilled to begin a new era of traditions and celebrations, but most of all looking forward to quiet times together on the porch,” said Greenberg.