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Home restorations a labor of love

The property at 610 Main St. looked like a nightmare to fix. The home had an earthen basement and anytime moisture went into the ground, it eventually came up in Lynn Fey’s, a home restorer and also on the Park City Historical Society and Museum’s Board of Directors, basement next door.

The home had never been restored and it was falling into her home, which was next door. She didn’t want to buy it, but felt somebody had to do something about it. Fey eventually gave in and bought that home too.

It was a major undertaking to restore the property, but now, Fey said, its exterior looks exactly the way it does in historic photos. "I adore it," she said.

Today locals can tour private homes, like Fey’s, on the annual Historic Home Tour. In its 12th year, the tour features homes on Daly Avenue and upper Main Street.

The tour celebrates Park City’s history, Sandra Morrison, of the Park City Historical Society and Museum, said. On the tour, guests will learn about the history of the homes and information about the architectural details from the owners who have restored them.

One of these homes, 146 Main St., was restored by Doug Stephens.

"There’s a certain amount of integrity that goes along with the architectural design that seems to be timeless that we all respond to, especially if it’s done well," he said. When restoring homes, he said part of the challenge is how to adapt the structure to meet today’s needs, but not to lose its timelessness.

Individuals, who decide to undertake the task, must adhere to specified guidelines. Mainly, these guidelines cover the exterior of the home. There will be another meeting on Monday to discuss updating the guidelines. Francisco Astorga of the Park City Planning Department said the public’s comments are encouraged.

Fey said it’s common that people will raise the home up, gut the interior and then not always fully restore the exterior. "It’s not a true restoration," she said.

Stephens said restoring homes presents its own challenges and problem-solving on a daily basis.

"If you take an architect and he draws up a new home in a subdivision, there isn’t much of a challenge to that. When you get through you might have a very nice home, but it may not stand the test of time," he said. Fey said having a good, local architect on hand is key when restoring because it helps to have someone who is already familiar with the guidelines.

For historic homes in Park City, their timelessness is credited to their simplicity.

"Homes that we’re looking at around Park City, they’re 100 years old and even though they were simple, stood the test of time because they met the demands and needs people had, and continue to have."

Fey and Stephens said they take away a sense of pride when a project is completed.

"I’ve taken homes that could’ve been demolished and tried my best to restore it to how they looked when they were originally built," Fey said. "It’s an accomplishment to have helped contribute to the historical district and added to the beauty of Park City."

The Historic Home Tour is this Saturday from 10 a.m. 3 p.m. Tickets are available to the general public for $20 and can be purchased in advance at Right At Home or the Museum Offices, 333 Main Street, 2nd level. Tickets will also be available the day of the tour in the Brew Pub Parking Lot at the top of Main Street. A reception and the preservation awards will follow from 3 5 p.m. at Zoom Restaurant at 660 Main St. Tickets can be purchased at the door for $35.


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