Preservation isn’t just about big, grand places and seven-figure budgets. Sometimes the best opportunities are the smaller, humbler, covered-in-moss plywood gems tucked into the community fabric.
Melody and Brian Emerick were visiting Seaside when they passed an abandoned beach cottage that was up for sale as a tear-down. Being snoopy people (as most preservationists are) they peeked into the windows and saw original bead board on every surface and knew this place needed to be saved.
They bought the 1910 house, christened it “Old Salty,” and set about restoring it to its original glory. This meant leveling the foundation, which rested on firewood logs that had rotted out and settled dramatically. Brian and Melody went on to correct an unsightly addition, remove inappropriate “upgrades,” restore the façade, and replace vinyl windows with custom wooden ones.They added needed living space by lifting the attic ceiling to create an upstairs bedroom, and enclosed the porch to create a “captain’s quarters-inspired” dining room. Floors were refinished, and ugly tiles pried from the fireplace to reveal the original brick.
Kitchen cabinets, lighting, and appliances such as the 1940s fridge were found at garage sales and on Craig’s List. Built-in bunk beds were crafted from salvaged lumber.
Old Salty represents all the little houses in Oregon’s small towns that can be rescued and transformed with heart, energy, and creativity. These places have important stories to tell of generations past, and call out for someone to make them an authentic and livable part of the neighborhood again.
For saving this orphaned cottage, when so very many have been lost; for recognizing a diamond in the rough and transforming it with high style on a low budget; and for setting an example of DIY preservation for regular people, we were honored to present the 2015 DeMuro Award to Old Salty.
The makeover was also featured in Sunset Magazine: http://www.sunset.com/home/before-after/beach-shack
On November 13, 2015 Restore Oregon presented the DeMuro Awards to seven extraordinary historic rehabilitation projects. The award is named in honor of Art DeMuro whose redevelopment of historic properties such as the White Stag Block set the standard for quality, creativity, persistence, and business acumen. This is the fifth in our series of posts about these projects.