The Glen Ridge Historical Society has announced its selection for the 2017 Preservation Award. The winner is 190 Ridgewood Avenue, which was meticulously restored by its owners, Andrew and Lisa Grisafi. Judging for this year’s contest was done by Megan Connelly, David Doernberg and Karin Robinson, members of the Historical Society’s Board of Trustees.
Located next to the high school at the corner of Lincoln Street, 190 Ridgewood Avenue was designed by the New York architect Warrington G. Lawrence and was built in 1898. The south end of the porch was enclosed at some point before 1914, and the porte-cochere on the north end was torn down soon after. Otherwise, the house remains in its original form.
Though largely unchanged, the house needed a tremendous amount of repair and restoration work. After studying old photographs in the Historical Society’s files, the Grisafis set out to remedy this when they bought the house several years ago. The front porch floor structure was rebuilt and new decking installed, cut carefully to match the original curve of the porch. Columns were repaired or replaced with matching columns salvaged from the demolition of the porte-cochere.
The existing paint was stripped off the entire house—the siding and the trim both—which took four months. The house has a wide variety of trim at the doors, windows, and eaves, including oval and Palladian windows, and corner pilasters which required painstaking work with special tools to prevent damage to the original woodwork. Much of the trim and siding had to be restored or replaced. The leaded glass windows were reglazed, and the wood windows reconstructed rather than replaced. The Yankee gutters were entirely rebuilt with new copper linings and a new roof was installed. The chimneys were taken down to the roof line and completely rebuilt to match the original design. The Grisafis were even able to reinstall the original carriage house door.
This year the Historical Society also awarded an Honorable Mention to 259 Ridgewood Avenue, owned by Craig and Michele Snyder. The house was designed by the Montclair architect T. Cecil Hughes and built in 1901. The porch floor had deteriorated extensively so the Snyders rebuilt it with mahogany decking. They also took special care to reuse the marble slabs that served as the front steps. The slabs were removed, repaired and reset, and the side piers and risers were returned to their original red brick design.
The Glen Ridge Historical Society created the award program in 1985 to recognize homeowners who have undertaken preservation and restoration projects involving the exterior of their houses. All types of projects are considered, from small details to entire houses.
Historical accuracy is the most important quality, and winners typically use the Historical Society’s house files when doing research on their houses. There is a file for every house in the borough, and the files typically include old photographs as well as information about earlier sales, previous residents, and other notes of interest. The Historical Society invites everyone to visit their Museum and Archive at 222 Ridgewood Avenue on the second floor of the Boiling Springs Bank building. They are open to the public on the second Saturday of every month from 9 to noon, and also by appointment. Further information can be found at their website www.glenridgehistory.org.