New Castle News

Local News

October 15, 2012

Experts share joys and frustrations of historic home renovations



Dustin Moran and Mariah Kakis were so smitten by the Victorian house at Wallace Avenue and Mercer Street that they relocated from Arizona with dreams of converting it to a bed and breakfast.

They are still on track to do so.

Built in 1882 by John Wallace as a two-story house, the building’s first major renovation occurred in 1895 when a third floor and mansard roof were added, Moran said.

The couple has worked on the building for two and one-half years undoing results of neglect, vandalism and invasion by nature before they could begin renovations. They expect to have the interior in shape in another year and then to concentrate on the exterior and landscaping.

“We’ve overcome many challenges,” Moran said.

The theft of copper pipes and wire resulted in no plumbing, heat or electricity and severe water damage throughout the building. They have replaced most of the broken windows and commissioned custom-made units to replace the cut glass windows that had been stolen from the entrance way.

They removed a 120-year-old, 150-foot tall oak tree which had damaged the portico and extended roots into the basement.

“We fell in love with the big window’s, pocket doors and 12-foot ceilings,” Moran said. The house also includes seven fireplaces and a non-working, 1927-era chair lift on the stairs.

They have restored utilities, replaced more than 150 pieces of slate on the roof, removed the back porch and spent considerable time shoring up a three-car garage at the back of the property. When restoring French doors to the dining room they discovered charred wood from a fire of many years ago.

They also replaced weight-bearing walls which had been cut or removed by former owners.

“We saw sagging on the second and third floors because the first floor supporting wall was gone,” Kakis said.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
  • money.jpg New recreation fees adopted

    New Castle City Council has adopted a new fee schedule for Cascade and Darlington parks. The new schedule runs from 2014 through 2016.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • HolidayInn.jpg Union Township getting another hotel

    Union Township is getting a Holiday Inn Express. John McClure, owner of McClure Realty, said he had closed a transaction Thursday on 3.8 acres on West State Street for the venture, a couple hundred yards west of the Hampton Inn.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • audit.jpg Shenango pension fund audit due ‘this summer’

    The audit report of the Shenango Township pension funds are expected to be released this summer.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • HIShands.jpg Local youths team up with His Hands Ministries to do home repair for those who can’t afford it

    Area youth from various Lawrence County churches started lending a helping hand Wednesday to residents in need. The annual Lawrence County Youth Ministries service event brings together students and adults for three days of volunteering. It is part of His Hands Ministries, an initiative involving local churches and volunteers who split into work groups to perform  home improvement tasks for elderly and low-income homeowners in the community.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Blight.jpg Funds would target Lower East Side demolition

    The Lawrence County planning department and New Castle officials are partnering to wipe out neighborhood blight. They plan to start with the city’s Lower East Side.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • movietheater.jpg Overcoming addiction theme of movie

    The movie, “Anonymous People” will be shown at 7:30 p.m. July 30 at Westgate Cinemas.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • BalloonQuest.jpg Balloon Quest ready to soar again this weekend

    The Western Pennsylvania Balloon Quest will mark its 25th anniversary this weekend at Union Township’s Scotland Meadows Park.


    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Boatlaunch.jpg County pursuing funds for more boat launches

    Lawrence County planners are pursuing funds to complete more boat launches. At their meeting last week, the county commissioners agreed to apply for $74,000 from the Commonwealth Finance Authority, through the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development, for the matching funds.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Road.jpg FirstEnergy announces transmission line project

    FirstEnergy Corp. has announced plans to replace 9.6 miles of overhead electrical transmission line in Lawrence and Mahoning counties.


    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • gavel.jpg County seeks safety money for courthouse

    The Lawrence County commissioners are applying for a grant to help enhance safety at the government center.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo