Meet my Latest Historic Preservation Hero!

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My latest recipient of the Leisa Collins Historic Preservation Award is . . .

Mary Beth Grey of Grand Rapids MI

for her historic renovation of 268 Paris Ave SE, Heritage Hill, Grand Rapids, MI

Awarded on a beautiful spring day on this now open and welcoming porch, friends, neighbors and preservation supporters gathered  to honor Mary Beth and her latest restoration project.

Since starting her home renovation business 2 1/2 years ago, Mary Beth has brought eight historic homes back to life in the greater Grand Rapids area. The majority have been in the City of East Grand Rapids, however this is her first Heritage Hill home and her most recent labor of love. It’s also her most extensive project to date. Mary has a very hands on approach with all her projects and it took her several months to bring this beautiful Victorian to a state that is now close to how it was originally.

The way it was. over 100 years ago. . .
A historic photo of the Paris Ave Victorian
A historic photo of 268 Paris Ave SE Heritage Hill, Grand Rapids
The home in 2018, before renovations began. .  .
268 Paris Ave SE, Heritage Hill, before renovations started.
268 Paris Ave SE, Heritage Hill, before renovations started.
The home today: the original award painting!
The original Heritage Hill House Portrait painting - in the spring!
The original Heritage Hill House Portrait painting – in the spring!

 

Following the presentation, Mary Beth graciously opened up the home for tours.  Here’s some photos that I took so you can have a peak inside as well.

The living room
The living room
The front room
The front room
The dining room
The dining room
Stairwell
Stairwell
One of the bedrooms
One of the bedrooms
One of the bathrooms
One of the bathrooms
One of the Victorian door hinges
One of the Victorian door hinges

Here’s a little bit more about Mary Beth from her website

Mary Beth is the owner/designer/contractor of Blackbird Homes. She started the company after retiring from practicing medicine (OB/Gyn) for 21 years.  She was born on the west side of Grand Rapids and other than lots of world travel and college/grad school, has lived here for 50 + years.  Growing up here, she has witnessed first hand, how the city has changed.  The west side went from stable family neighborhoods, to low cost housing, and now is experiencing urban renewal.  Her Mother was always interested in the history of the city and it’s homes, and many weekends were spent touring Heritage Hill, the Meyer May house and just wandering through East Grand Rapids to see “the old beauties.”

With each house that she remodels, her goal is to keep the design period specific, but also, to update the homes so that they are functional for the modern family.  She restores original details whenever possible, retaining the unique character of each home. She also adds unexpected elements that make the homes uniquely eclectic.  If you like homes with character, you will love what she does.

For further info, check out Mary Beth’s renovation projects on her website. 

See information about my other Preservation Heros:

Check out my E. Grand Rapids series of House Portraits.

Until next time, Leisa