Rehabilitation of the Sadie and Vanvert Tyrell House in Metuchen, New Jersey

Isaac Kremer/ October 6, 2020/ Physical, preservation/ 1 comments

After the land was sold by the original owner, only three families have owned the house at 63 McCoy Ave in Metuchen, New Jersey.

Chain of Title

  • John Hanson (widower) to Raymond M. Laing and Anna M. Laing, his wife. April 29, 1922, Book 715, Page 499.
  • Raymond M. Laing and Anna M. Laing, his wife, to Vanvert Tyrell and Sadie Tyrell. August 22, 1924, Book 784, Page 414.
  • Vanvert Tyrell and Sadie Tyrell, his wife, to Gene Mancuso and Rosa Mancuso, his wife. February 3, 1960, Book 2115, Page 13
  • Estate of Rosa Mancuso to Isaac and Chrissy Kremer, his wife. January 9, 2020.

John Hanson

John Hanson was the owner of Fairmount Park, Section 2, which he had surveyed and laid out with lots for people to purchase from him in 1916. Advertisements in the New York Sun for the original Fairmount Park (section 1) subdivision to the west offered “Newly Built Houses with 7 rooms and all improvements for $3,750 and lots for $200. These were being offered by Hanson’s Realty Corp. of Perth Amboy.”

Apparently leasing was going slow, for a comparison of the Fairmount Park, Section 2 map with the 1929 Sanborn Fire Insurance very few of the lots had been built on.

Raymond M. Laing and Anna M. (Tyrell) Laing

Raymond M. Laing and Anna M. (Tyrell) Laing, his wife, purchased the property at 63 McCoy from Hanson on April 29, 1922. Two years later they sold the property to Vanvert Tyrell and Sadie Tyrell, his wife. The date of construction for the house at 63 McCoy Ave was most likely between 1922 and 1924 before Vanvert and Sadie Tyrell bought the property and house from his mother and father-in law Anna M. (Tyrell) Laing. The reasoning for this build date is the 1924 lease refers to “the houses, buildings, trees, ways, waters, profits, privileges, and advantages.” This likely means that a house had been constructed and was resting on the lot prior to the Tyrell family buying it.

Raymond M. Laing (1880-1956) 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. That interest appears to have included purchasing property and building a house on it between 1922 and 1924.

Vanvert Tyrell and Sadie Tyrell

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 World War I Registration Card, 1918

Vanvert Tyrell Registration Card for World War II

Eugene and Rose Mancuso

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.

Isaac and Chrissy Kremer

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 29, 2021 – Slideshow of the long dreaded spindle reinstallation, over a year after we first moved in.

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.

April 3, 2021 – finishing floor on porch before door installation can happen.

May 9, 2021 – built in medicine cabinet in upstairs bathroom gets some finishing touches.

May 9, 2021 – upstairs hall trim gets some stripping done.

August 10, 2021 – All the way but not quite there. Damaged boards were carefully removed and temporarily replaced with boards that did not quite fit.

August 18, 2021 – Removed temporary boards, consolidated older boards in heavily trafficked area between exterior and interior door, and cleared side for new boards. Got a peek at hardware from earlier steam radiators and structure underneath the floor.

August 28, 2021 – We finally got the right boards in the right places on the front porch. Consolidated original boards that were carefully removed in the most visible and heavily trafficked area between the exterior door and the interior door. New boards went to the side under what will be a future built-in. Chrissy did a great job making the new boards and older original boards look indistinguishable from one another. The whitewash technique lets the semi-distressed look come out.

December 4, 2021 – Outside gets some lights and inside the chair rail looks festive.

January 1, 2022 – We start off the year by uninstalling, boiling, cleaning, polishing, and reinstalling door hardware to give it that just like new/old look.

January 12, 2022 – Edward’s closet floor gets a painting.

January 13, 2022 – Our bench seat finally gets installed on the front porch. Happy to have a place for storage and a nice use of an otherwise unused space.

January 17, 2022 – Chrissy designs a new hook rail that is larger and imaginatively uses available space on our side stairway leading to the side yard.

February 12, 2022 – on one of the first days it is warm enough to be outside, Isaac sets up his temporary table to strip the wood that will be used for upstairs door surrounds and trim.

April 2, 2022 – Upstairs bedroom baseboard and molding slideshow with first round of paint removal, second round with more detailed paint removal, and after denatured alcohol removes any residual material prior to staining and poly being applied.

April 12, 2022 – repainting gives the original front door (before the porch was built) a nice pop.

July 12, 2022 – trim in bedroom is stripped, stained, and awaiting reinstallation by Chrissy the following day. Then a coat of poly is put on to protect the wood.

July 15, 2022 – similarly, painted hardware is carefully removed, boiled at low heat to loosen paint, cleaned, polished, and then reinstalled.

September 8, 2022 – the side stairs get a little attention and a coat of paint to make them look good as new.

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About Isaac Kremer

A nationally recognized downtown revitalization leader, downtowns Isaac managed achieved $350 million of investment, 1,300 jobs created, and were 2X Great American Main Street Award Semifinalist and a 1X GAMSA winner in 2023. His work has been featured in Newsday, NJBIZ, ROI-NJ, TapInto, and USA Today. Isaac is a Main Street America Revitalization Professional (MSARP) with additional certifications from the National Parks Service, Project for Public Spaces, and the National Development Council.

1 Comment

  1. Very interesting and great to see what you’ve accomplished. The Laing and Tyrell families go back to the 17th century in this area. Raymond and Anna Laing were my Great Grandparents and although I never met them, I heard how wonderful they were all the time as a child. Good luck.

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