By Pam Teel
Dave and Lisa Griffiths of Millstone Township recently received the Monmouth County Preservation Award for the restoration of their old historic home on Stagecoach Road. The presentation ceremony took place this summer at the Hall of Records in Freehold. The award was presented by Monmouth County Freeholder Lillian Burry. The home on Stagecoach Road was built in 1887 showcasing the style and craftsmanship of the times. When the Griffiths purchased the home in 2002, the home was not in good shape at all. It was either going in the direction of getting worse or being torn down, or of someone coming to the rescue of restoring it to its original splendor. The Griffiths took the challenge. It took twelve years of hard work and a labor of love to restore the home that they have today. The outside of the home was covered in aluminum siding when it was purchased. The inside was covered in paneling from the 1970’s. The Griffiths started by restoring anything that was left from when the home was originally built and used clues that the house gave them to rebuild the rest. With clues found under the carpets and in the walls, they were able to establish a blueprint for each room. They also had to fix and add many things that will keep the house going for the next hundred years, such as updated electrical wires, new plumbing, new insulation, new utilities, and corrected structure issues. When they started the kitchen and laundry area, they discovered that this area was added on in 1923 from the date of an old newspaper that the builder must have left in the wall. They put in appropriate materials for the time, like hand built wood cabinets and a brick floor, but also added current needed amenities such as the refrigerator, dishwasher, etc. They were able to restore the original window and trim. They went on taking down all the paneling in the front room and in the process destroyed much of the original plaster. They added period appropriate crown molding, window and floor trim, wood floors and wallpaper. They also restored the dining room and parlor using the blueprints left from the outline of the plaster. They added custom woodworking throughout, wainscoting, a corner cabinet, ¾ columns, wood floors, and detailed crown and trim. Leaving the exterior for last, they worked on one side at a time. In the front of the house, after removing the aluminum, they found cedar shakes on the upper part and clapboard on the bottom. They had to rebuild the whole front porch area and replace leaking windows. Following old clues, they were able to retrace the outline of the original window trim and retrim the windows to match. They repeated this process on all sides of the home. The Griffiths feel that they have restored their home close to its original state. They met the challenge and took on the responsibility of restoring their home and feel that the changes they made, and are still making, will only ensure that this home will be around to enjoy for another hundred years. Another piece of history saved for another generation to enjoy!