Home has a growth spurt

Home has a growth spurt

Expanded house at 303 Caroline St. has deep roots in Fredericksburg history.


Originally published: December 4, 2009 | Fredericksburg Free Lance Star



In downtown Fredericksburg, "looks like new" is not something a contractor sets out to accomplish. The goal, says Steve Spratt, is work that "looks like old."

Steve Spratt Improvements

303 Caroline Street

Spratt, of Steve Spratt Improvements, has been doing historically complementary remodels and additions here for a long time. When he takes on a local project, particularly one in the city's Historic District, an original facade must "look [exactly] like old," and a street-facing addition must "look [almost, but not quite] like old."

Take his latest project, at 303 Caroline St., for example. The modest two-story Dutch Colonial, the rear of which overlooks the Rappahannock River, is believed to date to about 1785. Known as the Lawrence Brooke House, it has beaded wooden clapboard siding with a cedar shake gambrel or barn-style roof.

Owners Kim and Jody Crane have lived there since 2000, but they realized their growing family was outgrowing it. They called on Spratt, who learned what the family was looking for and came up with a plan to achieve it.

An addition would wrap around the back of the house and to one side, adding about 2,150 square feet to the original living space. A basement would be dug primarily as Jody Crane's exercise room. Though only a small portion of the addition would be visible from the street and therefore have to meet Architectural Review Board requirements, the entire exterior was designed to maintain the architectural integrity of the original structure.

The rear of the house was designed to provide generous river views from both levels.

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