I start out this year’s interviews on a rainy spring evening in the Spring Hill neighborhood. Rain or shine, it’s always exciting for me to see what Somervillians have done to maintain or restore their older homes. Although Peter Galeno and Laura Pascale have
only resided together at 11 Greene Street since 2011, the Galeno family has enjoyed a very long history within the house. Peter’s family moved to Somerville from Ireland in the 1960’s when he was a teenager. His parents bought the house, a mix of Queen Anne and Victorian architecture, in 1968 from longtime owners, the Driscolls. Built in 1910, the house hasn’t changed owners very often, and retains many of its original details. Perhaps the most notable and unique are the front windows, with a sunburst pattern to the glass panes. On either side of these windows are panes which form a lattice pattern. This is the first time I’ve seen such unusual antique windows! Peter notes that their house is the only one on Greene Street with original windows. The age of the panes is evident from their wavy glass, an indication of the typical fabrication methods until the 1910’s.
Like many homes in Somerville, Peter and Laura’s started out as a single-family and was converted to a two-family. For many years, various members of the Galeno family inhabited the apartments both downstairs and upstairs. When they purchased the property from Peter’s family in 2011, their primary goal was to restore the house and retain as much as possible of the original details, including the lovely hardwood floors, long covered up by wall to wall carpeting. A beautiful fireplace in the first floor apartment is lined with decorative tile that was cleaned and re-grouted by the Low Art Tile Company in Chelsea, MA. On the exterior, Peter and Laura restored the valleys and flashing on the slate roof, railings on the front porch, and repaired the fascia boards and wood gutters. They decided to stay with a similar paint color and chose a putty color for the clapboard siding, Navajo white for the trim, and dark blue for the accent trim.
As I get ready to leave, I notice out their back window an expansive view across the City, with a terraced, garden just below with lovely fruit trees and beds for growing vegetables and herbs. It is here that Peter loves to continue his dad’s gardening tradition. Although he still hopes to finish some other restoration projects, including the removal of modern windows at the peak, it is clear that this house is treated as a family treasure with great care given by both to its historic architectural beauty.