Brian Vanden Brink
c/o Chatham Historical Society
Classic Kitchens & Interiors
Aptly named “The Moorings”, this residence became the retirement home of Rear Admiral Charles Rockwell in 1901. The original1864 Italianate structure has undergone several additions and renovations over time. Eventually the property became a well recognized bed & breakfast, perhaps best known by its prominent octagonal Gazebo. This vaguely shingle style gazebo was likely added around 1901 by Admiral Rockwell. The grounds are located on historic Main Street, just a short walk from the heart of downtown Chatham.
The present owner’s goal was to restore the exterior portion of the home that is most visible from Main Street to its 1901 appearance (as documented in historical photographs). They also sought to reorganize the interior to better suit the needs of a modern household while at the same time preserving or enhancing its historic details and character. Non-historically accurate features of the house that had accumulated through-out the years after the admiral’s days were removed, both inside and out.
Antique photographs allowed precise recreation of the historical details of the unique entry hood-roof and brackets that had been removed. A front wrap-around porch, also likely added around 1901, was re-created. An arched attic window that had at some point been removed was replicated and installed. The decorative brackets that line the gables and overhangs were replicated and replaced in areas where they had been removed.
Historic photographs also allowed replication of a portion of the east side of the house, including two dormers that had been removed and replaced with a two story porch with inappropriate details. A full view and details of the east side were not available in the photos so here we allowed ourselves some artistic license. We created playful hood-roof brackets for the side and rear entries that co-exist with, but don’t replicate or compete with, the elaborate historical front brackets.
The existing interior spaces were altered subtly to allow natural light deeper into them. As it did historically, the floor plan still flows around the kitchen, which sits at its core, but it is now fully renovated and much more functional. The existing dining and living room wood floors, detailed wall paneling and ornate fireplaces were salvaged and refinished.