Historic Restoration

Gold Award

Monmouth Custom Builders, Deal, N.J.
Project location: Allenhurst, N.J.
Sq. ft. before: 5,100
Sq. ft. after: 5,100
Project cost: $900,000

Typically the winner of this award is a restored “old house,” not actually historic, as would be the residence of a president or a home that served as the backdrop to historic events. This year’s winner comes close. Representing a bygone era of oceanfront summers, this home was designated a historic landmark by the village of Allenhurst, N.J., several years ago. When a new owner decided to renovate, he turned to Jon Levy of Monmouth Custom Builders to get the job done.

Covered in intricate trim and filled with coffered ceilings and beautiful windows, this grand old Victorian needed its architectural plans approved by the local architectural review board before any work could proceed. According to

Levy, the home had been subjected to a number of modifications during its lifetime and, as a result, many of its original details had been lost. The new owner wanted to restore all of the original features as closely as possible. Another major challenge: The village prohibits all construction work during the summer. Construction began in the fall of 2007, and all work needed to be complete by June 21, 2008.
With its plans approved

and building underway, the home began to reveal some unwelcome secrets as, layer-by-layer, it was pulled apart and rebuilt. The main problems were structural, causing a large additional investment of time and money. Numerous ad hoc chases had been created by plumbers and electricians, severely compromising the strength of floor joists.

Walking through the house today, says Levy, it is hard to tell the new from the original. Whole sections of ceilings and floors were scrapped, designed and built to original specifications.

In the end, most people wander out to an enormous front porch that is anchored by a bench that wraps around a support pole. Also compelling is a series of original French doors that wrap the Northeast corner of the porch — a true indoor/outdoor space. “One can only speculate the original intent, but we kept those doors,” says Levy. “During construction, we had all of our meetings out on that porch. There is something very special about it. We were always drawn to it as a place to gather.”

Specified Products

Decking: Mahogany
Doors interior: Trustile
Doors exterior: Norwood
Fireplace: Existing
Flooring: Custom red oak and cherry
Hardware: Baldwin
HVAC: Rudd
Insulation: Icynene
Kitchen cabinets: Custom Wood Products
Kitchen countertops: Ice Stone
Appliances: GE Monogram, Sub-Zero, Bosch
Paints/Stains: Benjamin Moore
Roofing: Timberline Ultra
Siding: Maibec
Structural materials: TJI, PSL
Trim work: Custom poplar
Windows: Norwood

Bloomquist Construction, Savanah, Ga.

TreHus, Minneapolis, Minn.

Honorable mention
Craftsman Design and Renovation, Portland, Ore.
Akuma Fusion Group, Savanah, Ga.