2020 Historic Preservation Award Winners

David and Mary Waaso
1203 State Street
St. Joseph, Michigan 49085

The Victorian home was purchased in October of 2016 by David and Mary Waaso. The house was originally a single family home built in 1895 for Orville and Emily Jordan and their daughter. Mr. Jordan was a bank teller. Around 1920 they sold it to the Vandevere family. Mr. Vandevere was an investor. The Vandevere family turned the house into a hotel known as the Myrtle Lodge or Ormsby Hotel. We have the original register and bell from the hotel. The home was later turned into four apartments. As of now, the house has two apartments on the north side and a single apartment on the south side of the home.

Postcard of the Ormsby Hotel

As purchased the house was in need of some renovation.  The roof leaked in a number of places.  There were gaps in the soffit where birds were nesting and fascia trim had been removed.  The paint on the house was old and peeling as well as some of the siding had broken or rotted away.

There were some issues with the foundation that needed repairs.  The porch was falling apart and there were no footings for support of the porch or roof.  Stairs leading up to the porch or apartments were unsafe.  There was a screened in porch on the lot next to the house that was causing water damage to the original structure that needed to be removed.

Renovation started in the summer of 2017 with removal of the screened in porch and repairs to the damaged siding around the house.  The house was then painted white with blue trim.  At this time the stairway to the upstairs apartment on the south side was removed and the attached foyer was removed so that the home could be restored to its original design.

A new roof was installed that same summer.  Repairs to the soffit and fascia took place at that time.  Soffit venting was added to prolong the life of the new roof.  While roof jacks were in place, cedar shake painting of the gable ends took place using climbing gear and tying off inside the attic for safety!

The porch decking, stairs and railings were removed.  The porch roof was propped up and the pillars were sanded and refinished.  There were footings added under each post and stairway support.  New decking and support beams were added to the 70-foot wrap around porch.  The railings were built and installed after the pillars were set in place.

During the spring and summer of 2018, renovations of the two apartments on the north side took place.  The upstairs apartment added new flooring of carpet and linoleum.  The furnace was replaced as well as the air conditioning unit.  The kitchen was remodeled with the removal of old cabinets and installation of new oak cabinets with a butcher block counter.  The rooms were painted and new ceiling fans, in line with the type of home, were installed.  The apartment also received new kitchen appliances.

The downstairs apartment needed new appliances in the kitchen as well as a new washer and dryer.  The furnace and A/C were also replaced at this time.  The oak floors were sanded and refinished.  Interior doors were removed and replace with solid oak 6-panel doors.  Door trim was replaced, from painted pine to stained oak, in the style of existing trim.  Kitchen cabinets were repainted and tile backsplash added. 

The bathroom was redone with new sink, toilet, lighting and tile on the floor.  Some additional work on waterlines and drainage was needed in this area.

The upstairs on the south side was redone in the winter of 2018/19.  The kitchen was removed as well as the furnace since the space was changed from an apartment to bedrooms and living space for our home.  The entire area had trim wood and baseboards removed and was gutted and new wiring for outlets and lighting installed.  During this time knob and tube wiring that had been abandoned was removed as well as gas piping for heating/lighting. 

The upstairs had one bathroom and a laundry area at opposite ends of the room.  The laundry area was removed and a full bathroom was installed.  The bathroom has a dresser sink and tiled shower.  Floor tile was added to make the bathroom complete.

The floors in the upstairs were sanded.  One of the floors had been painted but was restored to its natural look. 

The existing bathroom was expanded and a closet, dresser sink and laundry area were installed.  The tile floor was installed to compliment the flooring in the other bathroom.  The upstairs trim wood was painted pine and poplar and was replaced with stained poplar and oak.  New oak 6-panel doors were stained and installed and the entry transoms were repaired and re-installed.

The upstairs had a non-loadbearing wall that was removed so that the hallway to the bedrooms were open and the existing staircase railing was now open to view.  New ceiling fans were installed and one of the original lights was rewired and installed in the sitting area of the main bedroom.  The upstairs also received new energy efficient windows with an oak interior look.

The downstairs on the south side was restored during the winter of 2019/20.  The area had all the trim removed and old lathe and plaster was taken out.  New wiring and windows were installed.  There was a wall that blocked off these rooms from the rest of the house.  That wall was removed, opening up a view of the staircase. 

The kitchen was taken out of its current location and moved to where the kitchen originally was located.  This was determined by waterlines and shutoff valves in the walls.  With the removal of the old kitchen cabinets it opened up an area under the stairway that had a built-in storage area with drawers.  This was made into a closet with an oak door and trim.

The downstairs had a bedroom and two living areas as well as a full bath, kitchen, pantry and foyer.  The entry to the new kitchen was restored, based on existing wall structure, and the kitchen was now moved to the original location.

The oak floors were all sanded and finished and an oak window seat, which had been removed before renovation, was re-installed.  Original light fixtures in the dining area and entry foyer were rewired and re-installed.  New 6-panel oak doors were installed as well as oak trim around doors and windows.  Some of the trim was existing but much of it was new.  The new trim was made from 1-inch thick boards that were cut, planed, sanded and stained to match the existing trim prior to installation.

Two views of the house.  First, as it was purchased by our family.  The second picture is as it looks today!