Delaware Home and Garden: Ellen Passman of Washington, D.C., renovates a Victorian house in Milton, Sussex County
A D.C. transplant rescues a Victorian in Milton.
(page 2 of 6)
The Long Road Home
A recent owner had stabilized the property and invested in a few important upgrades, including a new roof and a serviceable kitchen.
But it was up to Passman to make the house a home again. It didn’t take long for the old Victorian to take on a personality—and soon she and the house became intimate friends.
She was impressed by the home’s gracious porches—a veranda facing the street and a side porch off the kitchen—and saw the potential for a garden where she could grow herbs, shrubs and flowers. She was uplifted by its 10-foot ceilings. She waxed rhapsodic about its oak floors, laid in an unusual rectangular pattern, much like a log cabin quilt.
Still, the house had only one smallish bathroom, located in the upstairs hall. Passman took on the considerable tasks of converting three cramped bedrooms into a master suite with a luxurious bath and walk-in closet. On the ground floor, a summer kitchen would be converted to a laundry room, combined with a large bath with a stall shower and vintage claw-foot tub.
Whenever Passman was discouraged by the expanse and expense of renovations, she would give her home a pep talk.
“I would stand across the street, look at the house and say, ‘Some day, you’re going to be beautiful,’” she recalls.
continued on page 3