Our first, wholly new construction: we designed and built this house to fit the architectural and historic character of the neighborhood. Winner, 2012 Hartford Preservation Alliance Award for outstanding in-fill construction.
The "Sunburst Home" -- NINA's first new house, and a turning point for the organization. NINA worked with its partners at ServCorps and in the City of Hartford to build a new home on what had been a vacant lot, after a condemned and blighted house had been torn down. The lot was donated to us by Bank of America, and we received substantial support for this project from The Hartford.
This house was a significant opportunity for NINA: we designed this home to fit the architectural and historic character of the neighborhood, such that few realize this house hasn't been there since the 19th Century. We think this house is a model for future new home development in Asylum Hill.
A Look at the Sunburst Home
Three stories. Three bedrooms. Two-and-a-half baths. Energy Star certified. Off-street parking. All inside a house that looks like it was built in the 1890s.
The Original 33 Sargeant
Probably built in the 1890s, the house that used to sit at 33 Sargeant resembled the house next door at 37 Sargeant Street. From the street, and even inside, the house didn't look all that bad, but it hadn't actually been a house for a long time. It was a business -- the last one was an ambulance service (and one of former mayor Pedro Segarra's first employers in Hartford), and while we think there was an office in the house most of the action was around back, in the garage. Not surprisingly, as the house lost its original use, it became neglected and fell into distress.
So why was the house demolished? First and foremost, because the City condemned it as unsafe and ordered it torn down, but NINA has a story about this, which may or may not be true:
NINA gained access to the house, and we sent our crack team of home inspectors in to have a look. These would be our guys from ServCorps and our construction manager, Mike Stockman. They had a look around, thought the place looked a little dated and neglected, but really, not so bad overall.
Then they went into the basement.
As the story goes, they were there for all of a minute when they ran for their lives.
As said above, this story may or may not be true, but we enjoy telling it, so it's the story will stick with!
Demolishing That Old House
NINA prides itself in saving and restoring historic homes, but sometimes a house just has to go. This one went in just over 2 hours.
But this demolition presented NINA with a historic opportunity, which was to build a new home that looked like it had been in the neighborhood since the 1800s. No one builds homes like this in Hartford, and we're proud to have set a new standard for new homes in Hartford.
Building the New 33 Sargeant Street
This was a team effort. Led by ServCorps, close to 300 volunteers put in almost 1,000 hours on this house. 125 of those volunteers came from The Hartford, and in honor of that contribution we made this house "The Hartford House." We also had financial support from the Bank of America, The Hartford, and the City of Hartford through the federal Neighborhood Stabilization Program.
This house is what can be done in Hartford.
From the 1890s and Back Again
A look at the old house and the new: they are different, but which one looks more historic?