Restoring the Vanvert and Sadie Tyrell House in Metuchen, New Jersey

Isaac Kremer/ October 6, 2020/ preservation, Uncategorized/ 0 comments

Raymond M. Laing (1880-1956) and Anna M. (Tyrell) Laing (1879-1958), his wife, purchased the property at 63 McCoy Ave on August 22, 1924. The deed was recorded September 12, 1924, in Book 784 of Deeds for Middlesex County, page 414. Laing worked for the Barber Asphalt Company, before retiring in 1946. His wife Anna May Tyrell (1879-1958) was sister of Vanvert H. Tyrell, Sr., (1873-1911). Apparently following the death of her brother she took an active interest in her nephew Vanvert H. Tyrell, Jr., and his family.

Vanvert Tyrell World War I Registration Card, 1918

At the time Vanvert enlisted in World War I on September 12, 1918, he worked as a “Machinist Apprentice” for the Barber Asphalt Company of Perth Amboy. The 1926 city directory lists Vanvert Harned and Sadie Tyrrell as the first people to live at 63 McCoy Ave and among the first people living on McCoy Ave. The family were active members of the First Baptist Church in Metuchen. The 1947 Perth Amboy City Directory lists Vanvert Tyrell as an assistant cashier at PSE&G Co. and still residing in Metuchen.

Vanvert Tyrell Registration Card for World War II

The second family that had an association with the house was Eugene and Rose Mancuso. A deed for the house was recorded February 3, 1960 in the Middlesex County Book 2115, Page 13. A native of Newark, Gene served in the U.S. Army during World War II.

Gene Mancuso from his High School yearbook, before enlisting in the Army and serving in World War II.

Upon returning from service he married his wife in 1951. They moved to Metuchen in 1956 and lived here the rest of their life. Gene passed away September 12, 2012. His wife rose passed away February 24, 2019. Both were active members of St. Francis Cathedral in Metuchen.

Our first visit to the house was the summer of 2019. We began comparison shopping with other houses. When none of these worked out for us, we returned on September 9, 2019 and gave 63 McCoy Ave a second look.

Still uncertain, we came back just over a month later on October 8, 2019 and gave it a third look before placing our offer.

-What followed were several months of back and forth with the realtor, bank, and owner. We finally were able to close on January 9, 2020.

Isaac and Chrissy Kremer on closing day, January 9, 2020.

Following closing, almost immediately we commenced on a full renovation. Literally not a single square inch went untouched. All walls were painted, new kitchen, two new bathrooms, and the floors refinished.

Jan 19 – Whole family gets involved in painting the basement.
Jan 22 – Chimney stack from furnace in basement gets removed to make room for the HVAC ductwork.

Jan 21 – Workers begin installing new roof.
Feb 8 – Chrissy patching plaster in Tom’s bedroom.
February 28, 2020 – Isaac stripping paint from base of newel post.
March 5, 2020 – The Kremer family moves in (and celebrates with ice cream from What’s the Scoop).
March 17, 2020 – Getting ready for St. Patrick’s Day (notice no kitchen counter).
March 20, 2020 – Kitchen counter arrives (2 weeks after we moved in).
April 10, 2020 – Isaac begins removing layers of adhesive from floor using a soaking and scraping method.
May 10, 2020 – Chrissy beginning to stain the floor.
May 11, 2020 – Kitchen floor refinishing complete.
May 24, 2020 – Windows from front porch awaiting reglazing.
May 25, 2020 – Chrissy patching the plaster where it had bulged and pulled away from the lathe. She anchored the remaining plaster using screws with washers. Then patched the hole.

September 11, 2020 – Handrail having paint and finish stripped prior to reinstallation.
October 5, 2020 – After weeks of reglazing the windows are rehung. Awaiting paint as a final touch one week later (so the glazing compound may dry).
November 7, 2020 – Beginning to take the outer layers of paint off the floor boards to reveal a flatter grayish finish below.
Nov 28 – Boys setting up the Christmas tree, the Friday after Thanksgiving.
December 9, 2020 – Outside with holiday decorations up. One of the last photos of the tree to the left that would be taken down a few months later.
December 12, 2020 – A chemical stripper helped to get the layers of paint off of the wood close to the glass. This limited the risk of breaking the glass by using a heat method.
December 19, 2020 – Before photo prior to finish stripping of door and door surround.
December 25, 2020
December 31, 2020 – New Year’s Eve celebration – streamers from the cannons we fired from the porch are falling in the foreground.
January 18, 2021 – Paint detail under latchplate after being removed. Shows a darker stain on the door, later a golden color, and finally the tan color. On the molding side a green is visible before gold and tan.
February 13, 2021 – Stain goes on the stair stringers.
February 12, 2021 – Excess stain is removed with a cloth to leave the finish color.
February 14, 2021 – Finally stain is applied to the stair stringer.
March 12, 2021 – Tree is removed from side yard opening up the house and garden for more daylight. Also reveals a view of the front and side that maybe hasn’t been seen for over 50 years.

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About Isaac Kremer

Isaac Kremer is a transformational leader with a track record of success revitalizing downtowns in the United States. He has written and spoken extensively. He's always on the lookout for new and innovative ideas to unlock the potential of downtown areas.

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