The Conant House, the oldest house near the historic Falmouth Village Green, has a reputation for endurance. Not only does it date back to circa 1730, it has morphed through several centuries into various entities – a minister’s home, a sea captain’s home, an inn and boarding house for tourists – reflective of the times. The house was acquired by the Falmouth Historical Society in 1966 and around 1970, it began being used for exhibits, a library and offices.
Conant House may be resilient, but after 50 years without any renovation, its condition was “in dire need of work from the roof to the foundation”, as described by the Falmouth Historical Society. Every facet of the structure, including all mechanical systems, needed to be addressed.
On September 2, 2016, Cape Associates completed a seven-month renovation of the house. The project encompassed addressing structural issues in the 18th century portions of the house, while restoring the exterior appearance appropriate to its historical era. Lead by Executive Vice President and project manager Rich Bryant, the team demolished 950 square feet of the 2,905 square-foot structure and built a 1,120 square-foot addition. The new addition stayed within the footprint of prior additions and maintains compatibility with the exterior of the front part of the house and ell.
The renovation rendered the entire first floor universally accessible, and included installation of updated electrical, lighting, plumbing and security systems through the entire building. All windows, doors and trim were restored or replaced, along with the roof and siding. A new drainage system was installed to divert run-off away from the house, promoting preservation in the future.
“The updated and improved space allows the staff to have a professional research area, improved exhibition space, enlarged storage space, better meeting area, enhanced lighting, dramatically better climate control (including central air conditioning and improved heating), and simply a more professional atmosphere when we come to work,” said Mark Schmidt, Executive Director of Falmouth Historical Society and Museums on the Green. “It has done wonders for staff morale and Board participation. Offices are better, colors are improved and the entire demeanor of our two-acre campus has been upgraded. We are very pleased with the work performed and the ability to keep it on schedule and on budget.”
Project Manager: Richard Bryant
Crew: Phillip Anderson, Marc Whitman
Architect: Spencer & Vogt Group