Smith and Chang, who run an old-fashioned general store in Jersey City, New Jersey, did a little detective work before restoring the weekend spot. “It had been practically abandoned for decades,” Smith says. “And we wanted to be true to the house’s spirit.” They scraped through layers of paint to determine the original color scheme, then replicated it.
Smith also researched the property’s history at a local museum and archives. The couple rewired the electrical system, but replaced the midcentury toggles with push-button switches. Smith even hired a mason to create a 19th-century-style open fireplace, complete with a crane for hanging cast-iron pots. “I loved the idea of cooking in the fireplace, like people did 200 years ago,” he explains. “I made our last Thanksgiving turkey in there!”