Mary Palmieri Gai

Antique Homes .. A National Treasure.

Antique homes are one of the charms of Connecticut. In every part of the state you can find examples of most of the architectural styles from our nation’s history influenced by the immigrants who came here. There are examples from the 1600s to mid-century modern. Those homes that appeal to the purist, which are homes that are true to their period are rare indeed. Well meaning homeowners looking for more space or a more modern look have modified these wonderful homes to the horror of antique lovers. The worst offense is the intentional removal of central fireplaces of houses built before 1870.

Below is a closeup of a tomahawk proof door. This is from 1680 when there was true wilderness and the fear that went with it.  This is only one of two that I know of in Fairfield County but I am sure there are more. Notice the nails and the cross hatching that the settlers thought would stop a tomahawk. This one worked.. no tomahawks in 330 years.

Vernacular, Federal, Saltbox, Farmhouse, Victorian, stone cottages, gracious colonials, Georgian, bungalow, arts and crafts, and Italianate are a few of the major styles that are currently available for sale in Fairfield County. Now, thankfully there are protections for architecturally significant homes in Fairfield County.

One of my joys is listing vintage homes. I find the characteristics of any home and I build a marketing plan around them. Most agents pretend to know antique homes. I have actually owned and renovated one with my own hands.

Antique Home Renovation 1994

There was one a home that was so dilapidated that the toilet was falling through to the basement and carpenter ants had destroyed a third of the house.  This is the house I chose to buy and bring back from the dead in Westport. It was a house the town said was built in 1920, a date I have found to be a default date by a past building inspector who didn’t know the age of a house.  With a little research, that I have come to love, I found out the house was built by one of the wealthiest men in the country at the time, for one of his workers.  Owned by Morris Ketchum, and on part of his vast acreage, the house was built in 1856 to house one of his workers. Ketchum was so wealthy that Abe Lincoln, while president, came to Westport to borrow money from Ketchum to help fund the Civil War.  Distant cousins of mine owned the house from the 20s to the 50s and their son had a drawing done of the house back in the 20s that served as the template for me to renovate the house.  I would never have been able to duplicate the gorgeous gingerbread that decorated the porch that graced three sides of the Victorian Farmhouse. The central fireplace was turned into one fireplace, with the other hearths covered up by walls and closets and removed from the second level to make a more livable floor plan for the bedrooms.  I got the education of a lifetime renovating that house, and even though I don’t own it any longer, I consider its preservation one of the top accomplishments of my life, and I feel as though I did a little part of preserve American History.

    I research each vintage home I list so I can market it properly. This area was a hotbed of activity during our nation’s founding and early history. Many of the stories are locked up in the houses themselves in the stories of past owners. I make it my business to use my love of history to benefit my homeowners and buyers.!! I can be reached at 203-984-2169.

    Antique Renovation in Fairfield.

    I am so proud of my newest project completed in and sold 2019. Purchased as a weather ravaged Hud owned reverse mortgage foreclosure, I made the poor sad house into a perky and green dollhouse. It was a covered up craftsman that had been neglected for decades. I renovated every inch an reclaimed the front porch which was a useless closed-in space. I shudder to think how many home have hidden front porches which means fabulous curb appeal. It has two bedrooms and 1.1 bath on a small lot. It’s in a cute neighborhood in the Stratfield area of Fairfield. Talk about an education!! I talk about it on my page called. “How to Renovate an old house”

    Demolition Watch

    Log onto to and you can find homes that are being demolished to make room for new ones. The vast majority of the teardowns have no architectural value so a well-built newer home is the highest and best use of the land.  Those homes that are vintage have a waiting period before they’re given permission to be demolished. The houses below have NOT been demolished.

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