Seger Architects was commissioned to adapt a former alternative school and original home for aged men on Derby Street on Salem’s historic waterfront. Purchased from the House of Seven Gables as a surplus property the Developer’s endeavored to insert 6 luxury condominiums in a tight, historic context.
The existing original 1806 structure was originally a large, handsome Federal period home which had been adapted over the years to facilitate different programs. A large two story porch fronting Derby Street was demolished and currently a single story sensitively designed porch completed by Seger Architects in 2005 now exists in its place. The building also took on more Italianate characteristics with all the changes implemented over the years all of which endangered its historic status. In 1985 a contemporary, wood frame, clapboard clad addition was constructed to the side and rear of the original masonry building. Considerably more modern in aesthetic, the addition and original historic main building formed a unique design challenge for Seger Architects and the Developer’s eager to create a product sensitive to the unique attributes imparted by the impact of the design from both era’s.
The finished program contained a mix of townhomes and flats which addressed a wide range of demographic for both older, empty nesters looking to downsize within their community and younger couples starting out with their first home. The wood addition given its unique configuration lent itself to a single townhome in the portion along Turner Street and flats fronting Derby Street with accompanying decks with direct views of the House of Seven Gables, landscaped courtyard and seasonal water views. The townhome and flats were treated differently with color to differentiate their layout style and to break down the innate massing in this small scale, historic neighborhood. The original building contains flats of varying sizes to address demand for both large and small homes.
All new fenestration, systems, energy conserving measures, masonry restoration and cladding at the addition were completed as part of the adaptive use.
The completely occupied, completed project is a fresh intervention in this conservative, homogeneous neighborhood of tightly knit, low scale, wood framed, gabled homes.