The Ul­ti­mate Retro


Victorian Homes - - Contents - By Stephanie Agnes-crock­ett

A time­less Queen Anne proves the glory of the Golden Age.

Springfield, Mas­sachusetts, 1887. A bur­geon­ing de­vel­op­ment springs up along­side the re­cently ex­panded trol­ley lines.

Over 900 homes are com­ing to­gether in this lit­tle area, thanks to the in­dus­tri­ous ef­forts of builders like the Mcknight broth­ers. A mix­ture of homes is ap­pear­ing: small and large, Tu­dor and Colo­nial re­vival. Watch a cen­tury weather the homes’ struc­tures, and en­ter this Queen Anne home in the present day.


Gary Yuschalk and Larkin Mayo, the present own­ers of the home, pur­chased the spa­cious house in 2010. They were only the third home­own­ers, but the house had al­ready un­der­gone mul­ti­ple ren­o­va­tions over the years. The home’s first owner, Mrs. Adams, was the wife of Dr. Adams, who com­mis­sioned the home’s build­ing. Adams lived there a short time while com­mis­sion­ing the build­ing of a larger home nearby. While Adams never moved into this home, Mrs. Adams did, and she sold the Queen Anne to its next own­ers.

The next own­ers mod­ern­ized the home in 1917, adding elec­tric­ity and mod­ern light­ing. They also in­stalled new wall­pa­per and re­painted the in­te­rior. Fol­low­ing the deaths of th­ese own­ers, the home passed to their fam­ily, be­fore Gary and Larkin pur­chased it in 2010. In ad­di­tion to adding new light fixtures and draperies, Gary and Larkin repa­pered the rooms and im­ported their vast col­lec­tion of an­tiques. Since the 1980s, the two have been col­lect­ing Vic­to­rian ar­ti­facts, which they move into old build­ings to fur­nish. “Many of the ad­di­tions were ma­te­ri­als pur­chased for but not in­cor­po­rated into our last project, the Le­bold Man­sion,” they say.

“The chal­lenge in Springfield was to find a house that had both ceil­ing height and enough wall space to house our fur­ni­ture and ar­ti­facts.” The two con­sid­ered about 50 homes be­fore find­ing this one, “which suited [them] to per­fec­tion.”

At 4,600 square feet, the house is “gen­er­ously pro­por­tioned.” There are three floors and 13 rooms, in ad­di­tion to a full base­ment. De­spite a few in­te­rior changes over the past cen­tury, they say “the house re­mains largely in ‘as-built’ con­di­tion,” and praise the work of its orig­i­nal crafts­men. “We re­main im­pressed by the ex­cel­lent de­sign skills of the Mck­nights,” they say. “We con­stantly re­mark that this re­mains our fa­vorite of all the houses we’ve owned.”


Among the home’s ex­cel­lent ar­chi­tec­tural fea­tures are its wellplaced win­dows. “The ex­tra-wide city lot al­lows for ex­cel­lent light in ev­ery room and win­dows are po­si­tioned to al­low cross-ventilation in ev­ery room,” Gary and Larkin say.

On the flip side, it was one of the “mod­ern­ized” fea­tures from the early 20th cen­tury, which pre­sented a chal­lenge. Al­though the home’s se­cond owner equipped the kitchen with the best con­ve­niences of the time, those have changed since 1917. “We no longer work in a kitchen the same way they did 100 years ago,” they say. Gary and Larkin knew they needed a kitchen that would fill to­day’s needs, while fit­ting into the rest of the home.

“Af­ter cop­ing with it for three years, we re­mod­eled it com­pletely,” they say. Un­for­tu­nately, a kitchen re­model meant work­ing around tons of open­ings. “The prob­lem with Vic­to­rian kitchens is they are all doors and win­dows,” Gary and Larkin say. In this case, there were six doors and two win­dows. “We al­ways try to work within the ar­chi­tec­ture and

above left. Did some­one say “to­bacco king?” Gary and Larkin’s smok­ing room speaks vol­umes about the suc­cess of the to­bacco in­dus­try in Vic­to­rian Amer­ica. Stor­ing pipes and cigar boxes, cig­a­rette dis­pensers and match hold­ers, the room con­tin­ues to...

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