Historic Homes Feature: Thoughtfully Updating a Minimal Traditional

The Kroutel Home
612 Sycamore St.

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The house at 612 Sycamore Street was one of many homes being built across America after the Second World War in response to the need for affordable homes for the growing towns and cities, and the returning service men and women. This home began life in 1952 and adhered to a Minimal Traditional architectural style. Records and photographs reveal the original construction had a side-gabled roof with an additional front-facing gable, no dormers and little roof overhang. Builders utilized simple building materials, in this case, stucco and cinder block. These features are typical in Minimal Traditional homes; there was not even a chimney to break-up the simplicity of the building’s lines. The interior was likewise simple, with four rooms, one bathroom, and no basement. Probably built as a rental home, records from 1954 show Under Sheriff Chester Dodson living in this home with his wife Helen, followed by rapid turnover of occupants through the 1950s and early ‘60s. The Tavarez family resided in this small abode with their four children for the best part of a decade into the 1970s.

They carefully preserved the original front rooms of the house, maintaining their distinctive features...
Drawing by JJ Bertholf

Drawing by JJ Bertholf

The current owners, Ron and Pat Kroutel, have expanded this home, bringing it into the twenty-first century. Additional gables perfectly complement the original front-facing gable which remains on the west side of the building. The owners have added an entryway, basement space, an additional living room and bedroom, and expanded the kitchen, adding a dining room. They carefully preserved the original front rooms of the house, maintaining their distinctive features including the flooring, and the plasterwork with its unique curvature where the walls meet the ceiling. Ron and Pat are both artists and have incorporated their studios into their home. Their thoughtful enhancements beautifully complement this home’s early Minimal Traditional beginnings.

Author: Jodie Chamberlain