The H.H. Hewitt House
The H.H. Hewitt House
619 Lafayette Avenue, Buffalo, NY
- Date Built: 1898
- Total QREs: $580,000
- Total HTCs: $290,000, Federal; $290,000 State.
Preservation Studios’ Role:
Preservation Studios completed the Part One, Two, and Three Historic Preservation Certification Applications, along with the National Register Nomination.
The Herbert H. Hewitt House was built in 1898 for prominent industrialist, Herbert H. Hewitt and was designed by local architects, Lansing & Beierl. Its overall design does not fit within a defined style, but rather draws from several including Queen Anne, Stick, and Shingle. Although the home was converted to a rooming house and lost some of its original grandeur, much of the original integrity remained intact at the time of Joe and Ellen’s purchase.
The first floor of the home features impressive woodwork throughout the four public rooms with a minimal kitchen/service space to the rear of the floor. Each of the four rooms features a specific design theme as well as a fireplace and a large main hall provides circulation to all the rooms. Opposite the hall fireplace is the grand staircase leading to the second floor bedrooms. The walls of the grand stair are lined in lincrusta with a floral motif and three large stained glass windows are the focal point of the stair hall and flood the second floor landing with natural light.
A fireplace is the centerpiece of the second floor landing and provides access to two large bedrooms with a corridor continuing to the south for the remaining four smaller bedrooms. Bedrooms in the front of the home on the second floor are highly finished and larger compared to those of the rear, which have more restrained detailing. The third floor is only accessible from the secondary staircase and was historically utilized for a ballroom and servant’s quarters. In the front portion of the basement there is a highly detailed rathskeller with walls and floors clad in ceramic tile and a mural of a European village is depicted on the upper portion.
The Hewitt House was converted to a rooming house in the mid-century, which resulted in several rooms being divided to create additional apartments or bedrooms. Although unsympathetic changes were made and some details removed, enough remained to replicate missing features and understand how the spaces were originally configured. The rehabilitation involved removing unsympathetic changes that had obscured and/or changed the original integrity of the home’s interior. During the course of rehabilitation grand rooms that had been divided for a rooming house were returned to their original size and use as formal gathering spaces within the home. It now serves as a boutique bed and breakfast, Inn Buffalo, and the operators of the establishment maintain their residence in the home in addition to serving their guests.