Rebecca and John Lane were avid fans of “This Old House” and looking for a new project when they first laid eyes on this 1905 Neoclassical Victorian. The San Jose house with its Roman-style round columns and dentil moldings was in nearly original condition, but needed a lot of work. With the help of architectural designer Lynn Miller in 2007, they took the house down to the studs and began a four-year project that included every weekend of do-it-yourself projects, from refinishing floors to stripping and replacing moldings throughout the house. They tore out a carport and built a detached garage, with John custom-making seven types of molding to match the house. They graciously opened the home for the Rose Garden Homes Tour this fall.
Along the way, John, a mentor in the Big Brothers Big Sisters program, taught teenager Devon Hunter the art of carpentry (and the fun of demolition.)
“He’s practically a member of the family at this point,” said John, who began mentoring 19-year-old Devon when he was just seven.
The Lanes left the front rooms in their original configuration, but opened up the back of the house, extending a breakfast nook onto an old porch area, and converting two bedrooms into a family room and stairwell. By excavating nearly two feet of dirt from under the basement, they turned the low-ceilinged space with exposed pipes into a complete living area with three bedrooms and two bathrooms, a wine cellar and a “secret door.” The couple was surprised to find that a trap door that led them to the attic revealed 10-foot ceilings above. Adding extra dormers, this became their master suite. Rebecca found vintage-style corbels to use as shelf supports for the luxurious closet. They shopped at antique shops for vintage light fixtures and recovered stained glass windows from John’s parents’ attic in Portland to use as transom windows in the kitchen.
They named the house “Villa Roseto,” Italian for “Rose Garden Estate.”
Here’s the complete slideshow: