Hand-painted murals and personal touches fill an accessible home with warmth and charm

Accessibility With Personality in an 1870 Home.

Laurie and Bruce Rabe were charmed by the double doors, plaster molding and gorgeous gardens of this 1870 New England home. As with most old structures, however, this onetime boarding house needed a lot of work. And it also needed to be made accessible for one of the couple’s daughters, who has multiple handicaps.

After 14 years of thoughtful updates and personalized touches, the couple melded old and new by adding an elevator, restoring the original stove and opening up the kitchen. Laurie’s colorful murals — inspired by historic wallpapers, textiles and art — elevate the atmosphere throughout, giving this Second Empire dowager home a new lease on life.

Houzz at a Glance
Who lives here: Laurie and Bruce Rabe, daughters Olivia and Elloise, and dogs Tizsa and Luna
Location: Norfolk County, Massachusetts
Size: About 5,000 square feet; 5 bedrooms; 4 bathrooms