A Home Full of Character
Old House Journal|November - December 2021
Smaller homes like this 1920s Dutch Colonial so often get overlooked as worthy of restoration. Owners don’t think they’re special . . . or they add on or remodel until the original is unrecognizable. This owner saw the potential.
By Patricia Poore

WHEN IS A HOUSE MAGAZINE-READY?” Matthew Corso asked, with hesitation. He’d shared some photos while inquiring about a salvaged mantel. His kitchen was just about done, and we couldn’t help but notice the integrity of the design. Corso has spent the past four years rehabilitating and restoring a 1925 Dutch Colonial Revival house in Westwood, New Jersey. • “It’s coming along as I’d dreamed, and it will be worth it in the end,” he said. “I’ve been working like a dog on the kitchen. The Hoosier cabinet needed painting and adjusting, new linoleum shelf liners needed to be cut from the massive roll I got on FB Marketplace, and I painted the 1946 refrigerator.” • A few months later, he was working on getting the house furnished. Through much of the project, Corso lived with his parents in a town not far away. Motivated by a power outage there, he moved in during the pandemic shutdown. We got a call from him: “Three years, four months, 24 days—and I finally slept here!” He promised the house would be shelf paper-ready by the time of our scheduled photoshoot.

“I FOUND IT CHARMING,” Matthew Corso remembers, “except for the garage and landscaping.” Built during a housing boom in the Twenties, the Dutch Colonial is in an eclectic neighborhood of working-class, Depression-era houses: Colonial Revivals, a few bungalows, and Tudors. Infills tend to be postwar traditional.

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