Renovating a Historic Home in Boston

The following is an excerpt from our Fall 2015 South End Stakeholders' Report, a report on the state of the South End real estate market and a glimpse into life in our neighborhood. You can download the full report here.

The Knabe Family Townhouse

Fritz and Louise Knabe weren't looking for a renovation project when they decided they'd outgrown their South End home of 14 years. They wanted more space but didn't want to compromise on location.

They'd raised family in the South End and couldn't imagine living anywhere else. So when the Knabes found the perfect West Rutland Square townhouse, they wasted no time in making it their own.

With the help of architect James Cullion and Abichaker Building Technologies, the Knabes designed their dream home. "Historically, South End townhouses had a double parlor, while the kitchen and dining room were on the floor below," Fritz said. "That may have worked in Victorian times, but we just think that's for the birds."

The Knabes saved what they could, such as the oak wood floors and the original parlor doors, which were repurposed. Many of the original details were replaced. The ceilings and some of the walls came down to repair water damage, faulty heating, and outdated wiring, and the windows were completely rebuilt.

Fritz, the family chef, weighed in heavily on the kitchen design. The family likes to have breakfast together so a custom-made four-person kitchen island was a must. Louise wanted a generous-sized laundry room next to the bedrooms. It took two-and-a-half years until the family could move into their new home, but it was worth the wait.

Everyone loves the new space. Fritz enjoys looking out the front window at the park where his children have practically grown up. And although their new home came with two parking spaces, all the family really needed was a spot for their bicycle built for four.

Find this story and more in our Fall 2015 South End Stakeholders' Report. Read all about the latest real estate trends, forecasts, and an in-depth look at the South End community.