Bright idea

Busi­ness­man hopes oth­ers will fol­low his ex­am­ple to paint Yar­mouth bright

Tri-County Vanguard - - FRONT PAGE - CARLA ALLEN

Yar­mouth busi­ness­man bright­ens area by spruc­ing up Main Street build­ings.

Vic­tory Realty owner Richard LeBlanc says he got tired of look­ing out his win­dow for the last decade at build­ings that des­per­ately needed spruc­ing up on Main Street.

“They to­tally needed restora­tion. Ev­ery time I looked at them I en­vi­sioned what I could do with them,” he said.

So what did he do? He bought them and ren­o­vated them so dra­mat­i­cally peo­ple are now stop­ping to take pic­tures.

Two years ago, LeBlanc signed up for the town’s Main Street façade pro­gram and re­ceived $ 5,000 in match­ing funds to ren­o­vate what is now known as the Con­sulate Build­ing, at 255 Main St. The Gothic-style re­vival build­ing was built in 1845 and is the location for his real es­tate busi­ness and now also his daugh­ter’s café – The Perky Owl.

LeBlanc in­vested far beyond the town’s con­tri­bu­tion in improvements that in­cluded a strik­ing blue paint job and at­trac­tive ar­chi­tec­tural de­tails. He was so pleased with the re­sults he ap­plied to the façade pro­gram again for his newly ac­quired build­ings at 258 and 260 Main St.

He spent con­sid­er­able time re­search­ing his plan, vis­it­ing Lunen­burg and look­ing at its build­ings, spend­ing hours online search­ing Vic­to­rian struc­tures and not­ing ar­chi­tec­tural fea­tures of his­toric homes in Yar­mouth. One thing he was cer­tain of: these build­ings were go­ing to stand out.

“If you’re go­ing to liven up this town, do it with colour,” he said.

LeBlanc has al­ways ap­pre­ci­ated at­ten­tion to ar­chi­tec­tural de­tail, es­pe­cially if paint is used to ac­cen­tu­ate it.

Once it came time to ren­o­vate the build­ings, the need for ex­ten­sive re­pairs be­came ob­vi­ous.

“They were in bad shape. Once I started dig­ging into the meat … I mean the bones were good … but I had to re­place rot­ten sills in the base­ment and gut the whole in­side, take out the rot and re­place it with new,” he said.

The build­ings, which date back to the 1800s, are now newly wired and plumbed, com­pletely in­su­lated, with new floor­ing, new Gyproc and new ceil­ings (an orig­i­nal tin ceil­ing was kept).

LeBlanc delved into his col­lec­tion of an­tique de­tails, in­clud­ing cor­bels, finials and gable dec­o­ra­tions. He re­pur­posed some items, bought some from an­tique stores, had some cus­tom- built and or­dered oth­ers from sup­pli­ers. He hand-painted many pieces for the ren­o­va­tion.

Other dec­o­ra­tions were re­pur­posed. The metal juli­ettes (win­dow­boxes) on 260 are from an old gate. He cut the hinges off and had a weld­ing shop build the sides and bot­tom.

Some of the cor­bels are made from mahogany dec­o­ra­tions that were orig­i­nally on the sides of an old pump or­gan.

LeBlanc is en­joy­ing the ex­cite­ment and en­ergy the ren­o­vated build­ings are gen­er­at­ing and says he hopes they con­tinue to in­spire more improvements in the town. “This is part of cre­at­ing that en­thu­si­asm.”

CARLA ALLEN

Richard LeBlanc is bright­en­ing up Main Street. In ad­di­tion to his Con­sulate Build­ing at 255 Main St., two of his newly ac­quired build­ings are near­ing com­ple­tion with fetch­ing paint jobs and ar­chi­tec­tural de­tail.

CARLA ALLEN

Many of the dec­o­ra­tive pan­els, cor­bels and finials were hand-painted by owner Richard LeBlanc.

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