May is Preservation Month in Somerville each year and an opportunity to publicize, and celebrate all of the historic features in our community. One significant part of this month is the Preservation Awards Program which is uniquely different from other communities’ award program because it involves
collaboration with the students and teachers at Somerville High School (SHS). The owners who win awards from the sponsoring organization, the Somerville Historic Preservation Commission (SHPC), are given a framed drawing of their house, custom made by either the Art or CAD (Computer Assisted Drawing) students at SHS. The owners also receive special citations from Mayor Curtatone, and Senator Jehlen, on behalf of the Massachusetts State Legislature. The Program is also generously supported by Stanhope Framers in Union Square and Century Bank, a community bank that was founded by native born, Marshall Sloane, and still family-owned and operated by he and his family.
The awards are given out each year in an evening ceremony held at the historic Somerville Museum or the Center for the Arts at the Somerville Armory. The ceremony includes a reception, with food donated by Redbones Barbeque and Peasant Stock catering, and a PowerPoint presentation of the award-winning properties and their owners. The event can be seen periodically on local cable television, and in part on the website Somerville Historic Preservation Commission After the ceremony, the winning artwork is displayed in a mobile exhibit that travels around the City for the next year, beginning with the 2nd floor of Somerville City Hall. The exhibit will be moving shortly to Davis Square, to be showcased at Dowd Properties, a real estate office at 407 Highland Avenue. All are welcome to stop by and check out the artwork..
In addition, each year some of the owners are interviewed about their property – the scope of work, why they undertook the project, and lessons learned from the experience. For the past three years, freelancer Marian Berkowitz, a Somerville homeowner, parent and educator in a local school, has volunteered her time and interest in preservation planning, to meet with owners and help tell their story.
The following interviews took place this summer and are designed to help recognize their efforts, as well as inspire new nominations for the 2014 Awards Program. The deadline for nominations has been extended to Monday, December 9th, and a brief form to complete can be found at 2014 Preservation Awards Nomination Form . You can nominate your own property, or one that has inspired your appreciation elsewhere in Somerville. For more information contact SHPC Executive Director Brandon Wilson at firstname.lastname@example.org or via 617-625-6600, x2532.
2013 Director’s Award
Interview with KyAnn Anderson, owner of 72 Alpine Street
If you’re buying an old house, there’s a good chance you’ll need to do considerable work to make it your home. It took KyAnn Anderson 10 years and last year she put on the finishing touch — painting the exterior. Now she can celebrate not only the end of endless house projects, but also enjoys a well-deserved “Director’s Award” from the Somerville Historic Preservation Commission, for restoring the exterior in a way that respects the house’s original architecture and long history. In 2003, Kyann bought this two-family Queen Anne vernacular cottage, built in 1890, with a down payment enabled by her father’s death. Her dad enjoyed woodworking as a hobby and taught his daughter from a very early age all that he knew. Kyann proudly shared a photo of her woodworking as a 7 year old, which may be why, among all of her siblings, she was the one to inherit Dad’s toolbox. Despite all the work that her newly purchased house needed she saw it as an opportunity to pay tribute to him, and she was excited to get going. Equipped with her toolbox and carpentry skills, KyAnn decided to do much of the interior work herself. Trained as an architect, she first drew up plans for gutting and reconfiguring the inside and then with a team of friends she set to work. To their surprise, in the process of removing walls, they discovered some late 19th century objects, including a toy and postcard addressed to someone in the house, possibly a man courting a young woman that lived there.
KyAnn replaced a sagging front porch and repaired the back porch, using ipe, an exterior wood that is very hard and easy to maintain. The two square windows on the front of the house were in very tough shape, so she installed custom-made sashes, and contacted Daniel Maher, a stained glass artist with a business in nearby Magoun Square. She asked him to replicate a historic stained glass design similar to one on a house down the street, and he was pleased to accommodate, using period glass from 1890 for the two squares. Kyann glazed the copper, beige, and clear glass squares into the frames and installed the windows once the exterior painting was done. She restored the dentil trim, as well as the eyebrow detail above the top window, and spent hours poring over catalogues and talking with the staff to the Commission, to find an appropriate light for the porch.
Early on KyAnn decided to paint the exterior with the same color as a farmhouse on Cherry Street near the Kennedy School. She loved its cheery orange-red pigment so much that she stopped by several times, and finally knocked on the door to find out the name of the color, which the owner gladly gave her. It turns out that the owner had also won a Director’s Award from the SHPC for her own exterior restoration work several years ago! Although KyAnn tried other paint samples, she always came back to the Cherry Street color, commercially called historic “Mayflower Red.” Perhaps subconsciously she chose this color due to its similarity to cayenne, a homophone of her first name? She selected ivory as a contrasting color for all of the trim details.
In her restoration efforts, it seems that KyAnn did not overlook a single detail. She was driven by a desire to improve the property and her street (which she certainly did!), but she also used her architect’s eye and the skills and passion passed onto her by her beloved dad.
2013 Director’s Award
Interview with Joe & Jane Carpineto, owners of 67 Church Street
The warmer season is here and I am happy to meet just outside Union Square with Joe and Jane Carpineto, residents of Somerville since 2003. They previously lived in downtown Boston and London, and now they feel blessed to live near their two daughters and grandchildren, all of whom reside in Somerville. Their new community allows them to walk to local cafes and eateries, grocery shop at Market Basket, and just enjoy the youthful energy and vitality of Union Square. As you turn onto their street, Church off of Summer Street, their house is immediately eye-catching for its carefully redone outdoor metal sculptures. I must be in the right place as the owner has already told me that he has been a metal sculptor for over 25 years. I am buzzed into their upper level apartment, and on my way catch a glimpses of beautifully restored and enlarged old family photos.
Joe and Jane Carpineto greet me, excited to talk about the work they’ve done on the exterior of this turn of the century structure. In 2003, they bought this Mansard style house from someone who appeared to have little interest in staying for very long and who had made changes not to the Carpinetos’ liking. Although asphalt siding had been removed from the front and left side, the Carpinetos were eager to complete the job even if the other sides of the house are not visible from the front of the street. They removed the old siding from the right and back sides, installed new clapboard, and obtained permission from their three neighbors who were only inches away, to put up ladders on their properties, so that the painters could do their work properly. The Carpinetos decided to paint the house a red brick color, with gray and beige for the trim. They added custom-made black storms to the windows, and replaced the iron balustrades on the front and back porches with wood balustrades, in keeping with the original material. They took down the chain link fence in the front yard and Joe Carpineto planted a lovely perennial garden that he hopes will enhance the streetscape for years to come.
They now plan to continue with other interior projects, further solidifying this house as their own home!
SOMERVILLE HISTORIC PRESERVATION COMMISSION 2014 DIRECTOR’S & PRESERVATION AWARDS
JOSEPH A. CURTATONE MAYOR
Your Name: _________________________ Owner’s Name (if known): ________________ Telephone #: (day) (eve):_________________E-mail: _______________________________ Address of property being nominated and judged: ___________________________________ _________________ _________________________________________________________
1. Describe the property briefly (e.g. single-family house, commercial property, date and style to the best of your knowledge).
2. Do you own this property? If so, for how long? If not, relationship to property (e.g. neighbor, passerby, contractor…)
3. Has the building had recent work done on it? When?
4. Describe the work that was done (if known) to restore the architectural quality or maintain the historic fabric of this building. What is most wonderful about this work? Include photographs if available – “before” and “after” shots are especially effective.
Note: We are not likely to return application materials, including photographs, so please include copies, not originals. Digital photos are ideal and may be included on disk.
5. If new work was not done, but repair and replacement work was recently undertaken to maintain the property’s distinctive architectural character, please describe the historic elements, materials and/or workmanship that were preserved or restored (e.g. porch features, stained glass work, clapboard or shingle re-cladding).
6. Describe what you believe are the best features of the building. Does it reflect an important quality or character prevalent in its neighborhood (e.g. workingman’s housing, large lot preservation, garage or carriage house)? What is special or distinctive about it (e.g. adaptive reuse of structure, owner sweat equity, turnaround of long-term neglect)? Is it an especially good example of a particular architectural style (e.g. Greek Revival, Mansard, Queen Anne)?
7. Please share any information on the history of the house or its owners that would be of general interest.
Additional comments are welcome and may be attached on a separate piece of paper.