The Messinger Home was built near 1894 on South Street in Ridgway, PA as a residence that was used for nearly 100 Years; at which time it was converted into a bed and breakfast until the present time. In early 1999, it was purchased by a local lumbering family with hopes of restoring the complete property; at which time it would become a fresh flower and gift shop.
Luckily enough, in a town as small as Ridgway, we found a local contractor raised in the area to head the project, Mr. Thomas Fitch of F & A Contracting. The first thing to do was to tear down a separate two-stall garage that was built in the fifties, not coordinating with the home’s architecture.
This was later replaced with a carriage porch roof, adding a much-needed dimension to the immense home’s proportions. A wrap around porch tied both the side carriage entrance and the front porch together providing greater accessibility. The columns and balustrade work and trim was duplicated from the front porch. The front porch, in bad need of revamping was stripped of years of paint and rotten boards.
The column bases, spindles, and railing were in a state of decay; needed areas were replaced to exactly duplicate the original look.
After getting a grip on these areas, F & A contracting proceeded to begin on the roof. Years of neglect to the in-roof gutters had caused much damage to the roof edge, plaster, and trim of the interior. After deciding to remove the Yankee gutters, they repaired the entire roof rafters, soffit, and fascia. They repaired all defective sheathing and installed a slate composite roof with copper valleys and flashing should give years of peace of mind. They installed firestone-roofing products (rubber) in the remaining difficult areas of flat design.
Now that they had everything dryed in; weather approached masonry, shake shingles, and trim were the remainder of the exterior problems. After duplicating trim, replacing shake shingles, and staining the masonry; the finish paint was applied. Leaded beveled glass windows were repaired and installed in the sashes where they were removed for sale in the previous years.
After getting the exterior in hand, we moved inside for the winter. A new H.V.A.C. system was a must and all plumbing was updated and retrofitted to accommodate the new business plan without compromising the overall project.
The interior trim and raised panels of white had been painted which now required stripping; a difficult project as it required meticulous stripping and special tooling to complete the project. It was definitely worth it to see the finished project. We had quite a bit of millwork to do to replace the moldings and doors that disappeared through the years. We stripped and refinished all the hardwood floors at the same time to bring them back to original quality.
The lighting and chandeliers took a little more time and attention along with retrofitting the electric to meet the requirements of our business plan. With a little diligence, however, it paid off.
The finishing touches, after the plaster repair of papering and painting to give the house a touch of the past, was done with the help of an interior decorator. She also proved invaluable in window treatments and other small details. Accompanied by the assistance of qualified landscape professional, our project was nearing completion. It was a monumental project with gratifying results: to see a great house that was left to the ravishes of time be brought back to its day of original grandeur.