How Homeowners Transformed This Historic West End Estate

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909 Dayton St., West End (sale pending)

Photograph by Bill Draznik

The first time this circa 1880 house was mentioned in the pages of this magazine, it was completely torn apart inside, under major renovation by homeowners Joe Creighton and Robin McKerrell, who were also engaged. Fast forward years laters: the couple is married with a 1-year-old daughter, the house is almost completely redone, and the Creightons are moving to the suburbs to be closer to family.

Photograph by Bill Draznik

Photograph by Bill Draznik

When the couple bought the place, once an opulent late 19th century estate home on the city’s “Millionaire’s Row,” it had been converted into multiple apartments and the back end of the carriage house was crumbling. Today the property is a showplace with 12-foot ceilings on the first floor, inlaid wood floors, arched doorways, and a rustic-chic kitchen with a whole new wall of windows that aren’t, in fact, new (Joe found them at his favorite haunt, Wooden Nickel Antiques). The couple was also careful to incorporate historically significant upgrades throughout: original wavy-glass windows, all fully rebuilt; a reclaimed pine-beam kitchen island capped with a pot rack from the National Exemplar; and a wood dining room cabinet from Memorial Hall’s basement, to name a few. The newly rebuilt carriage house has been transformed into a cool studio with a full bath that’s also plumbed for a full kitchen.

Photograph by Bill Draznik

The home’s actually achieved a certain level of fame nationwide, say Joe and listing agent Bill Draznik, thanks to the exterior paint color, a custom shade of charcoal gray with a light-to-dark fade from bottom to top (Joe and a local artist did it themselves). “I’ve gotten calls from design companies in California asking for the colors,” says Draznik; Joe says he’s received “70 or 80” messages asking the same. Either way, they’re not giving up the secret. All the more reason to hope the Creightons will move downtown again someday to work their magic on another lucky structure.

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