Claibourne House

Local realtor restores a grand house to its former glory

When Georgetown realtor Clare Easley purchased the two-story Victorian house at 912 Forest Street in 1985, her original plan was to renovate it and use it as a rental property. Almost 30 years later, Clare is still living in the house.

The house was built in 1896 for John Foster, one of Georgetown’s first doctors, by the Griffith Lumber Company, which was headquartered just a few blocks from the house.

Like many other houses built during this time, the Foster house features high ceilings, intricately carved woodwork, wrap-around porches, several fireplaces, and two elaborate brick chimneys, one of which is marked “1896” in recognition of the year it was built.

Dr. Foster died in 1910, but the house remained in the family until the 1940s. When Clare bought the house, it had been converted into a duplex. She found changes had been made to many of the original features. Tin covered the original wood siding, and linoleum obscured the wood floors. Ceilings had been lowered, and the interior walls were hidden behind paneling. Clare believed that the house had such good bones, though, that it was worth buying. She had grown up in a Victorian farmhouse east of Georgetown built in the same period.

John Foster and family

Clare remodeled the house as a single-family residence, restoring it to its original grandeur. She removed an outside staircase that had been added, as well as the tin siding. Contractors used pieces from a side wall to patch the places where the original wood siding had rotted.

Clare worked with a decorator who suggested repainting the house a coral color, and they later discovered that the shade they chose is very close to the house’s original paint.

Inside, Clare added bathrooms upstairs and downstairs and converted what had been a porch into a master bath. She exposed the original floors, walls, and ceilings and then furnished the house with family antiques.

Clare ran a bed and breakfast out of the house for many years. She recalls the year the Foster family rented the whole house for a family reunion. “They were delighted to see how it had been restored,” she says.

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