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A historical renovation, 200 years in the making

Laura and Rande Davis live in a unique Poolesville, Maryland home. Originally built in 1828, an addition was made in 1933. When they needed to build a new addition to accommodate the ease of aging in place, they needed a builder who respected the intricacy of this challenge. After considering various builders, Laura and Rande chose Kettler Forlines Homes team for a historical renovation, 200 years in the making.

The Davises wanted to remodel the older section in the back of the home to create a first-floor suite. They planned to add a bedroom and sunroom in the back and expand the existing powder room. But the blended construction and historical details made this home remodeling project much more complex. 

“You have to be very careful with historic homes,” explained Rande, co-editor of The Monocacy Monocle, the local Montgomery County newspaper. “We wanted to maintain the exterior brick wall that was originally there. They did a beautiful job. They even took the old stepping stone that went to that doorway and moved it to the new sunroom so we were able to maintain part of the history that’s about 200 years old.”

Plan for the future, preserve the past

Led by Tom Kettler and project manager Craig Smith, the Kettler Forlines Homes remodeling experts carefully examined the home’s structure before coming up with the plan. They explored the details of the home to see what could and should be salvaged, where they needed to complement the architecture, and the extra steps required to preserve the historic integrity.

“Whenever you’re adding onto a home, you need to respect and understand the existing structure,” Tom said. “When that home is as unique as the Davis home, it’s a challenge that is so rewarding. As builders, we loved seeing the historical nature of this beautiful home, and following the guidelines established 200 years ago.” 

The siding, for example, required creative problem-solving. Trying to match the existing aged horizontal siding would be difficult, and they didn’t want the exterior to look like patchwork. Instead, Tom and his design team suggested the vertical lines of board and batten, providing a complementary contrast.

“We love the look on the outside,” Rande says, while he and Laura bask in the sunroom where large windows stream daylight that fills the space.

Not surprising for a home that was constructed centuries ago, the crew uncovered artifacts that gave the project the feeling of an archaeological dig. Rande says watching the team at work was like seeing a sculpture in the making.

“They were able to work around all the angles and do a beautiful job. When things were uncovered that needed to be corrected, they had to stop right away. Even with all this heavy duty work, they were so helpful in making sure the artifacts that they found in the ground weren’t destroyed. We probably had 40 or 50 antique bottles and pots and pans that were thrown away over the past 200 years that could otherwise have been crushed, but they took care to make sure that everything was preserved.”

The Kettler Forlines Homes team discovered foundation issues, to be expected in a home that had been standing for so long. Rande and Laura were impressed with the swiftness and ease of the problem-solving skills.

“They quickly identified the problem and came up with a very strong solution and were able to make the changes without losing any time,” Rande explains.

A higher level of single-level living

Laura appreciates the creativity that enabled them to preserve details while still incorporating the additions they want, like the exterior brick wall that became an interior wall in the new bedroom. She is also impressed with the way the Kettler Forlines Homes remodeling team converted the existing powder room, built in the 1930s, to a full bath. 

“They took out a window, put the doorway in, and extended it so we have a full walk-in shower. They did an amazing job, making it all look part of the different aging of the home, not anything too new or exotic looking. It flows very easily.”

Laura loves every aspect of the finished remodeling of their historic home, but particularly enjoys one area. “My favorite feature is the sunroom with the cathedral ceilings. It accesses our previous kitchen. We originally had a window there. They removed the window and made an opening to make a space into the new sunroom from the kitchen in our original house.”

Beyond the creativity and attention to detail that Kettler Forlines Homes gave to their home, Laura and Rande made a point of praising Craig. 

“One of the most important features of Kettler Forlines was being able to work with their project manager, Craig Smith. He helped us in every way. I once teased him that he should join the fire department, because when I had a problem or question, he was so quick to get back or come over. In many different ways, he went above and beyond to make sure every detail was right.”

The advantage of being local

For more than 40 years, Kettler Forlines Homes has remained a locally-owned family builder, so they respect the value of keeping things close to home. The Design Center in their model home at their Poolesville community, The Reserve at Brightwell Crossing, features a showroom of samples for design selections, including flooring, windows, siding, and tile. Rande and Laura loved the convenience that they didn’t have to run around to home stores to seek out these items.

“The Davises did a great job of choosing every detail,” explains Dan Fraker, Kettler Forlines Homes’ Director of Purchasing and Estimating. “So many remodeling contractors send their customers to different showrooms for cabinets, plumbing fixtures, flooring, and tile. We help them by filtering through the choices and offering them quality options.”

Although the historical nature of the renovation presented challenges, the project continued smoothly. Laura and Rande Davis can now enjoy single-level living in their beautiful, historic home. “We both agree that they’ve been a tremendous team to work with, from the project managers to the contractors to the supervising management. Every step of the way they've been creative, helpful, and we’ve really enjoyed the experience.”

You can see more of the Davises’ renovation in the video here.

Kettler Forlines Homes has expanded its remodeling services to meet the demand for improving homes in the DC Metro area. Whether you want to update your kitchen, add a room, or dramatically make over your living space, reach out to Kettler Forlines Homes to get a professional, detailed, and satisfying remodeling experience!