Glenwood Springs renovation Taylor-made for engineer
March 25, 2008
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado ” About 104 years after U.S. Rep. Edward Taylor first walked its halls, Israel Shapira is nearly done restoring the historic house.
He said it’s the challenge that drew him to purchase the Taylor House at 903 Bennett Ave. and work with crews full time for about a year to completely renovate it. As a structural engineer, he saw structural problems all over the house as an obstacle to overcome. This project was a labor of love.
“I go in and take the jobs I want to do,” Shapira said. “I sleep with this and wake up with this. I just do the best job that I can do.”
Shapira worked during that year to restore and retain many of the original architectural features while redoing or putting a new finish on pretty much everything. The house was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1986.
“What Israel has done to this building is just magic,” said Paula Derevensky, a broker with Mason Morse Real Estate who managed the property and bought one of the 11 redone units in the home. “He’s really done a beautiful job.”
Smiling like a proud father during a tour Monday, Shapira points to an original 1904 doorknob and keyhole plate. They’re restored to an almost shiny condition and still grace many of the doors.
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“We found out that 409 was the best thing for these,” he said.
Dark red tiles surround one of three original cast iron fireplaces, and lime green tiles accent another. Ornate mahogany trim outlines the tiling. Things like old chandeliers and banisters, a curve-top-door glass cabinet and columns on the porch suggest the earlier era when Taylor pondered politics in the home.
“It’s a fabulous job on the rehabilitation,” said Gretchen Ricehill, senior planner for Glenwood Springs. “It’s quality workmanship. I was impressed.”
But those details didn’t come until after some of the harder structural work. Shapira and his team excavated down and repointed all the bricks and stones, gouging out mortar and replacing it with a newer, more structurally sound version. The facade was repainted completely along with the interior, but only after the asbestos covering it was removed.
“In a way the asbestos helped us because it protected the original wood all these years,” Shapira said.
The property was first developed in 1887 and occupied by the Christian Church. The church was demolished around 1900, and the three-story Taylor House was built in 1904 for about $17,000. In 1957, it was converted to an 11-unit configuration and rented until Shapira bought it in October 2006 for almost $800,000. He wouldn’t say how much cash he’s put into improvements, only that it cost three or four times what he expected it would, because as the renovation progressed he became inspired to do more and more work.
Shapira said the 11 separate units in the house have been on the market for about 10 days and there are already about six under contract for sale. Most units are small, but they range from $127,000 to $260,000. No two units have the same configuration. The character, size, price and location make the units unique in Shapira’s eyes.
“The idea is you don’t have anything like it,” Shapira said.
Contact Pete Fowler: 384-9121
Post Independent, Glenwood Springs Colorado CO