922 Lafayette Street
Story by Devon Westerholm
Award Recipients: Patricia Devlin, Owner; Alexandra Saikley, Saikley Architects; Lorna Kollmeyer Ornamental Plaster, Medallions; Aurora Painting, Exterior Painters.
Growing up in Alameda as one of six kids, Patty Devlin remembers a vibrant neighborhood with local kids walking everywhere. Her family purchased the Lafayette house in the early 1960s and tells of elaborate scavenger hunts in their house for Easter and one summer block party where rocker Eddie Money played—he was friends with a local jazz pianist playing at the party. When she was a child there was public access to the lagoons and she remembers going out on them in the summers. Their 1895 Victorian was built by famed local architect Joseph A. Leonard, and has many of the original details: medallions on the ceilings, Lincrusta wall covering in the entry and quirky little porches on the second floor. The house was originally built as a spec home. Patty and her siblings (most still local) decided to restore the home, and put a great deal of effort into respecting the integrity of the original home.
Care was taken to refurbish the front bay windows and replace exterior shingles to match their original design. The bottom siding was replaced horizontally on the architect’s recommendation, as they believed that most likely the siding was horizontal not vertical. The decorative stucco on the upper part of the house was damaged and needed repairing, and they replaced the brick foundation reusing the brick in landscaping and in the backyard patio. The porch had a shingled enclosure that they didn’t believe was original. Sometimes old railings will be found inside the shingled walls, but in this case, when they removed the shingles, they found that portions of the porch had been cemented over. They reconstructed the new porch, stairs and railings. The newel post caps on the porch stairs were custom made to match and complement newel post caps on the interior staircase.
They also repaired the broken stained glass in the transom over the front door.
They kept the original Lincrusta intact (after calling England to see if they could replicate it—they no longer make that pattern). The house has beautiful medallions throughout. She remembered a talk hosted by AAPS that had local artisan Lorna Kollmeyer speak who restores medallions and other ornamental work which led to hiring her. It was important to Patty to restore them, so they removed and cleaned them prior to reinstalling. For those that were damaged—they had molds made of the originals and they were recreated/recast. When working on the medallions Lorna commented that she had never seen one of the designs in Patty’s house. Upon completion, Lorna added it to her collection of designs and named it the ‘Lafayette’ after their house. They were able to save, refurbish, and reuse most of the original baseboards and moldings. Where they needed to add or replace, they had custom moldings created to match.
In the home there are fun details like the original laundry chute—while it no longer drops into the laundry—the door to the shoot is still visible in the upstairs hallway. One of the largest changes in modernizing the house was expanding the kitchen. They originally had a small kitchen with few windows and an enclosed porch blocking the inside view. The porch was an uninsulated enclosed porch off the back door kitchen. It had large pane windows that overlooked the backyard and at some point, a previous owner had installed a small water closet. Since it was an uninsulated add on, it was very hot in the summer and freezing in the winter! Devlin removed the porch and bathroom turning it into a large light-filled kitchen overlooking the back yard.
Patty is looking forward to enjoying many more years in her childhood home and we’re thrilled with the beautiful refresh of a local gem!