May is National Preservation Month

May 7, 2024

Historic preservation is a common subject when speaking to clients who have purchased an older building.  Not all buildings I work on are restored or preserved, there are some that are razed with new buildings taking their place.  I often think of the new buildings as creating a new chapter for one day they too will be deemed historic.  Then there are the buildings that are partially restored and altered in a way that is in character with the older structure.  18 Ocean Avenue is one of these buildings.  Built in 1930 in the village of Onset, this structure measures 8 feet wide and is immediately adjacent to a line of several similar sized homes.

The homeowners utilize the cottage as a vacation home with its close proximity to Onset Beach.  While they wanted to maintain the historic characteristics of the cottage, they also wanted to modernize the kitchen and create additional living space for family and friends to enjoy.  The narrow lot size presented a challenge for construction operations and the existing cottage did not have a full foundation.  The design solution involved lifting the existing cottage to install a new concrete pier foundation together with adding a full foundation to the rear for the additional living space.

While the entire structure was not restored, I believe the architectural character of the neighborhood has been maintained with a variety of dormers and matching the existing roof pitch.  The homeowners will have an enlarged kitchen and a family room with a new first floor bathroom.  Two additional bedrooms have been added and several flex spaces--a sitting area that can double as an office, a basement for storage that can double as a rec room.  Individual values determine how much we maintain and how much we alter.  Hopefully we all recognize that all of the decisions are part of someone's history.