Since Teresa and Alex Fabozzi moved into their Amsterdam home in 1980, there’s hardly a nook or cranny that hasn’t been redone, redesigned, reconfigured and repainted.
“There’s not a thing in this house we haven’t changed,” Alex said.
However, they have kept the S-features on the outside of the home. When the house was first built in 1920, it was the carriage house to the Shuttleworth family, who some may remember for the carpet manufacturing company or for the park in Amsterdam.
“They owned the place across the street and before the street was put in, this was their backyard,” Alex said. “So they would drop their people off there and they would drive their horses up there and drop off the carriage and would take the horses up.”
The Shuttleworth company eventually merged into Mohawk Carpet Mills, made up of other carpet manufacturers in the area, but reminders of its namesake are peppered throughout the city. Including on the Fabozzis’ home.
Inside the home, Teresa and Alex have blended the past with the present. There’s a completely modern-looking kitchen. Crisp white cabinets with a large, shining marble island in the center, yet the door to their pantry is an antique Jamison cold storage door.
The two living room spaces have been updated, with a new gas stove in one, but they still have the original beams running across the ceilings.
It’s a far cry from what it originally looked like.
“I came in the house and the first thing I did was a flip and I said ‘I love this house,’” Alex said.
Teresa wasn’t so sure.
“We had a few challenges,” she said.
It was originally all green, with dark brown shag carpets everywhere and a dark ceiling, with popcorn underneath. The original beams were boxed in and painted brown. Teresa likened it to a cave.
The kitchen was also in the back of the house and there was only one living room space. It was not ideal.
About eight years after moving into the home, they started their first major renovation project, which included creating an addition and bringing the kitchen up more toward the center of the home.
Around that time, their contractor discovered that the home still had the original beams.
Photo by Erica Miller/Gazette Photographer: Exposed beam in addition to house.
“So at that time we ripped down the boxes over the beams and at that time we tried to get away from the popcorn ceiling,” Alex said, “which is a lot of fun. You get on scaffolds and you scrape, spray with water and then you scrape with wire brushes.”
Once it was off, it opened the home up and got rid of the cave-like feeling.
They also used the yellow heart pine that had been covering the beams to create the mantel for a gas wood stove in the living room.
Their latest project was the kitchen, which they renovated a few years ago, working with Curtis Lumber. They created custom cabinets, which stretch to just about a foot or two away from the ceiling. There’s also a vent above the stove that seems a bit odd because it doesn’t appear to go into the ceiling. It simply stops.
It’s a mark of pride and hard work for Alex, who broke through the concrete wall behind the stove to snake a vent up to the top of the house.
Another mark of pride is the Jamison door, installed on the edge of the kitchen. Originally, they had a custom door made to go with the cabinets, but as the kitchen really started to come together, Alex realized that it wasn’t quite going to fit what he had in mind.
Photo by Erica Miller/Gazette Photographer: Jamison door at a restored cottage house on Stewart Street, in Amsterdam.
He started looking around for something with a bit more character, something with a story.
He found it just outside of Troy, in a business that was closing up shop. There he found the Jamison cold door from the mid-1900s.
“It’s a unique part of the home,” Alex said. The lighting in their living room is also a unique part of the home. An antique lantern hangs from the ceiling with string lights draped over and across it, giving the room an even glow.
Outside, the neighborhood hasn’t changed much in the 38 years they’ve lived there, though a few people have moved away and young families have moved in.
“This street is very, very quiet,” Alex said, “We have a lot of people walking their dogs and walking [with] their kids.”
While it seems like the inside of their house is constantly changing, both Alex and Teresa almost agree that they’re done renovating for now.
“We’re kinda done for now,” Teresa said.
“What? Did you just wink? I hope you had something in your eye,” Alex said, only half jokingly.