One of Blaine’s historic homes is entering a new chapter in its legacy thanks to a local family’s patience and dedication to renovation.
The home on the corner of Clark and 3rd streets, also known as the 1913 Wolten family home, was purchased earlier this year by Rachel and Wayne Vezzetti, who hope to restore the building back to its original use as a family home for themselves and their four kids.
Rachel grew up in an 1800s farmhouse in Ridgefield, Washington and is no stranger to the work it takes to upkeep a historic home. The couple comes into the project with construction experience after building their last two homes in Blaine and Semiahmoo.
When she and Wayne moved back to his hometown of Blaine in 2006, the Wolten home almost immediately caught Rachel’s eye.
“I fell in love,” she said. “We would drive by and I would glue myself to the window. When our last house sold, we thought, ‘why not?’”
After tracking down and contacting the former owner, who turned out to be a longtime friend of Wayne’s uncle, the Vezzettis found themselves being handed over the skeleton key and the role of caretakers for their dream home.
It was like being passed the baton, Rachel said.
The family are working with a contractor who specializes in historic homes and they hope to use as many remaining original details as possible – from the stained glass windows and original hardwood flooring to the ornate door knobs and vintage light switches. Some of the Wolten family’s cabinetry from the original Wolten and Montfort Grocery Store lies waiting for reuse in the basement, which Rachel said will be converted into a family space.
“It’s got good bones, so that helps,” Wayne said.
The biggest surprise so far, Rachel said, was how intact the four-bedroom, one-bathroom home was when they first walked through in April, with no idea what to expect.
Before the rebuilding can begin this spring, the Vezzettis plan to spend the winter continuing to clear out any excess materials and artifacts that have accumulated over the last century. At the end of last summer, they hosted a 15-hour estate sale to speed up the process and give the community a chance to see the inside of the building so deeply rooted in Blaine’s history.
“I think that the really neat part is how many people in this community are excited and willing to help out,” Wayne said.
By the end of this summer, the Vezzettis hope to have a period-appropriate garage with an upstairs apartment built on the property so they can stay close to the project while in progress.
There is no set end date for the completion, but the Vezzettis hope to invite the community back for an open house to celebrate the restoration.
“It’s probably not the best financial decision, and that’s OK because it’s really not just for us,” Rachel said. “Blaine is super special, and so it feels like we’re doing something for the community.”
In the future, Rachel said she would like to see an official Blaine historic district dedicated to the continued preservation of the town’s oldest structures.
With plenty of work ahead of them, Rachel and Wayne are looking forward to turning the house into their home. Plans for the garden, watching fireworks from their new balcony and stringing the place with lights for every holiday season are already underway.
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