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Before & After ~ The c. 1868 Gile-Harvey House in Readfield, Maine.

The Gile-Harvey House, built around 1868, is a historic property located in Readfield, Maine. The “Before & After” of such a house typically refers to its condition and appearance before and after restoration or renovation. Restoring historic houses like the Gile-Harvey House often involves extensive work to preserve the original architectural features while updating the structure to meet modern living standards.

Before Restoration

Exterior: The house may have shown signs of wear and tear, such as peeling paint, damaged siding, and outdated roofing. Windows might have been drafty or broken, and the landscaping could have been overgrown.

Interior: Inside, there might have been outdated electrical and plumbing systems, worn-out flooring, and possibly damage from water or pests. Original features like moldings, fireplaces, and staircases could have been in need of repair.

After Restoration

Exterior: Restored to its former glory with fresh paint, repaired or replaced siding, and a new or restored roof. Windows would be fixed or replaced with period-appropriate replicas. landscaping would be refreshed, enhancing the curb appeal.

Interior: Modernized electrical and plumbing systems, new or restored flooring, and repairs to any damage. Original architectural features would be carefully restored, maintaining the historic character of the house. Modern amenities might be added to the kitchen and bathrooms to improve livability while respecting the house’s historic integrity.

Detailed Restoration Steps

Assessment and Planning: Evaluate the condition of the house, create a restoration plan, and ensure compliance with local historic preservation guidelines.

Structural Repairs: Address any foundational or structural issues, ensuring the house is safe and sound.

Exterior Work: Repair or replace the roof, siding, and windows. Repaint and restore any decorative elements.

Interior Upgrades: Modernize electrical and plumbing systems. Restore or replace flooring, repair walls and ceilings, and update kitchens and bathrooms with period-appropriate materials and fixtures.

Finishing Touches: Restore original features like moldings, fireplaces, and staircases. Decorate in a style that complements the historic character of the house.

Historical Significance

The Gile-Harvey House, like many historic homes, is a valuable piece of architectural and cultural heritage. Restoring such houses preserves the craftsmanship and design of the period while allowing them to be functional homes for modern occupants.

If you have specific details or images of the Gile-Harvey House’s restoration, I could provide a more tailored overview. However, this general outline should give you a good idea of what a “Before & After” for a historic house like this might entail.

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Historical Context and Architectural Significance

Historical Context

Era: Built around 1868, the Gile-Harvey House represents a period in American history marked by post-Civil War reconstruction and the expansion of the railroads, which influenced architectural styles and the availability of materials.

Original Owners: Understanding the original owners and their influence on the house’s design and construction adds a layer of historical richness. The Gile and Harvey families would have been prominent in the community, and their tastes and economic status likely influenced the home’s design.

Architectural Style

Design Elements: The house may feature elements typical of the mid-19th century, such as Greek Revival or Italianate styles, which were popular during that period. These might include symmetrical facades, decorative brackets, cornices, and gabled roofs.

Materials: The materials used in construction, such as locally sourced timber, brick, or stone, also contribute to the house’s historical value.

Restoration Process

Initial Assessment

Historical Research: Documenting the house’s original state through photographs, records, and previous renovations to guide accurate restoration.

Condition Survey: A thorough inspection to assess structural integrity, identify areas of damage, and determine the extent of restoration needed.

Structural Restoration

Foundation and Framework: Reinforcing or rebuilding foundations and structural frameworks to ensure stability.

Roofing: Restoring the roof to prevent leaks and preserve the structure, often using period-appropriate materials like slate or wooden shingles.

Exterior Restoration

Siding and Paint: Repairing or replacing damaged siding with materials that match the original. Historical paint colors are often researched and matched.

Windows and Doors: Restoring original windows and doors, or replacing them with historically accurate replicas to maintain the aesthetic integrity.

Interior Restoration

Flooring: Refinishing original hardwood floors or replacing damaged sections with matching wood.

Walls and Ceilings: Repairing plaster walls and ceilings, often using traditional methods and materials to maintain historical accuracy.

Staircases and Moldings: Restoring intricate woodwork, including staircases, moldings, and trim, which are significant features of historic homes.

Modernization with Care

Electrical and Plumbing: Upgrading to meet modern safety standards while concealing new wiring and pipes to maintain historical aesthetics.

Heating and Cooling: Installing modern HVAC systems discreetly to ensure comfort without disrupting the historic fabric of the home.

Kitchens and Bathrooms: Updating these spaces for modern use while incorporating period-appropriate fixtures and finishes to blend seamlessly with the rest of the house.

Finishing Touches

Historical Accuracy

Period-Appropriate Decor: Furnishing and decorating the house with items that reflect the era of its construction, often including antique or reproduction pieces.

Landscaping: Restoring gardens and grounds to their historical layout, using plants and designs typical of the period.

Community and Cultural Impact

Preservation Efforts: Engaging with local historical societies and preservation organizations to ensure the restoration meets community standards and contributes to local heritage.

Educational Opportunities: Using the restored house as a teaching tool to educate the public about historical architecture, restoration techniques, and local history.

Challenges and Considerations

Balancing Modern Needs: Finding the right balance between modern living standards and historical preservation can be challenging, requiring creative solutions.

Funding and Resources: Securing sufficient funding and resources for restoration projects, often involving grants, donations, and community support.


The restoration of the Gile-Harvey House is a testament to the dedication required to preserve historical landmarks. It involves meticulous planning, expert craftsmanship, and a deep respect for the past. By carefully restoring both the exterior and interior, while modernizing essential systems, such projects ensure that historic homes remain vibrant and functional parts of the community for future generations.


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