Hampton Park renovation blends old with the new

The front of 2 Allen Park is seen before its restoration. The missing front porch pickets were among the least of the house’s structural issues.

The recently renovated house at 2 Allen Park shows some principles behind fixing up and expanding a home are timeliness.

This American Foursquare home with exposed rafter tails and a distinctive craftsman gable out front isn’t quite 100 years old, but its recent work followed a similar approach that has worked well on more historic homes farther downtown.

For owners Clare and Richard Pogue and contractor Marc Engelke, the home’s rough starting condition was both a blessing and a curse.

The blessing was that the house had been little altered over time, so its historic integrity was intact.

The curse was that the house had been little altered over time, so it had significant cosmetic and structural issues, as well as assorted code violations.

Clare Pogue says the first time she walked through the home, she thought, “Absolutely not!” and ruled out buying it. Engelke also advised the couple against it — at first.

At the time, the Pogues were living directly across from the house and a small park, so they noticed this property every time they walked out their front door.

“I said, ‘If we don’t do it, somebody else was going to do it, and I’d have to watch it across the street and it’s going to drive me crazy,’ ” she says.

Importantly, they agreed to go to the extra expense and trouble of saving what original material they could, including hardwood floors, trim and other materials.

“The cheapest way to do it is to just gut the house to nothing,” Engelke says. “But I’ve said no to jobs where they wanted to strip the house down too much and start over. You lose the character of the house.”

While the Hampton Park Terrace Neighborhood is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the city’s Board of Architectural Review has no purview here, so owners have a free hand, for better or worse.

But an equally important decision was how to expand the house. The Pogues have a growing family and needed more space.

They turned to architect Eric Harrod of Harrod Design Build Studio for guidance, partly because he had designed a small expansion on their current home.

Harrod’s rear addition enabled a larger kitchen and a screened porch, with a new master bedroom suite on the second floor.

“I just wanted to make it look like it was always here,” Harrod says. “That was the toughest part.”

The addition’s siding and details match up with the home’s original, but it’s set back just a few feet on the west side.

Harrod says that setback was driven by zoning, but it also makes sense from a design standpoint, clearly marking off the new from the old.

The renovation at 2 Allen Park recently won a Carolopolis award from the Preservation Society.

Across Charleston’s historic district, one finds single houses that look largely unchanged from the street, but a short stroll down their side garden often reveals connected outbuildings and other additions made over time.

These kind of changes often were made in back out of necessity, since the houses’ facades sat right on the sidewalk, leaving no room there. And the changes are most laudable, a way of keeping older properties livable and desirable for the present.

But the approach also is great because it makes the experience of an older home an intriguing timeline in which the past and present blend.

First, you note the oldest, most historic architecture, but as time passes and you explore further, a newer home emerges.

Reach Robert Behre at 843-937-5771 or at twitter.com/RobertFBehre.