ADDITION ASSOCIATES HELPS RESTORE OBICI HOUSE TO ITS FORMER GRANDEUR
For 38 years Barry Hobbs, manager of Addition Associates, has been honing his craft and delivering beautiful remodeling jobs and additions to the homeowners of Hampton Roads. In late 2011, he completed a job that will touch the lives of more people than any single job he has ever done - the renovation of the Obici House.
"At the time, Ronnie Rountree had leased the golf course for the next 25 years," Barry explains. "Part of that lease was to renovate the house. I've known Ronnie just about all my life; our families go way back. So, I called and offered to help in any way I could."
The renovation of the Obici House included bringing the interior and exterior up to par and building an addition that serves as a restaurant on the first floor with a golfers' lounge and pro shop below. "At first, my role was to help with the design and to manage the subcontractors for the renovation, but we also helped James Rountree, who is Ronnie's son and the site superintendent, with the addition as well."
"We started working on it in September 2010 and the roof was in really bad shape," Barry says of the condition of the house. "It leaked and caused a lot of water damage. There was also termite damage to about 10 percent of the framing. One corner of the house was completely demolished by the termites, and the back porch was structurally unsafe so it had to be torn off. There had been some minor renovations in the 1970s but the painting and such that was done actually covered up some of the damage."
A newly married couple shares a kiss in front of the beautiful Obici House and its front flower bed
Photo by Rising Lotus Photography
"What surprised us most was the condition of the foundation," Barry says excitedly. "We think that when the house was originally built it was actually several different houses put together on one foundation. When they built that foundation they did a very good job and it is still in good shape. When we added on, we took precautions not to put any additional load on the existing foundation."
When it came to the design of the renovation, Barry relied on his many years of experience, his degree in architecture and on CAD.Addition Associates craftsmen invested over 2,200 hours in renovating the Obici House. While the work they completed was not technically a restoration, the company worked very hard to ensure that the new materials they used in the house were as close to authentic as possible.
"The inside trim that we needed to replace had to be custom made to match the original," Barry notes. "Saunders Supply Company did a great job in helping us match all of the woodwork."
"We also refinished some of the original oak floors, so we made sure that they matched the rest of the floors in the house," Barry remarks. "We replaced the siding, which, once we tore off the old siding, allowed us to repair the termite damage to the framing. Much of the lumber that we used was rough lumber just like what was used originally."
"The tile and concrete work
in the bathrooms was fascinating
in how well it was done
and how well it held up.
We were able to salvage
all of the tile in the bathrooms
and use the original sinks and tubs."
- Barry Hobbs, Addition Associates
"We refurbished and reinstalled the house's unique stained glass windows as well as cleaning and restoring the original light fixtures," Barry goes on to say. "The only insulation in the house was three inch thick cork. We removed all of that and replaced it to properly insulate the house."
A breathtaking view of the sunset over the Nansemond River
Photo by Rising Lotus Photography
"The tile and concrete work in the bathrooms was fascinating in how well it was done and how well it held up. We were able to salvage all of the tile in the bathrooms and use the original sinks and tubs. The original inlaid gutter system caused a great deal of damage over the years so we took that out and we replaced the metal with present-day materials."
Barry feels fortunate to have been a part of what the Obici House now has to offer to the city. "I was born and raised in Suffolk and I am thankful for the opportunity to work on the house," he says. "Our guys really got a kick out of it and the quality of workmanship we put in rivals what was originally there. I'm glad to see it renovated and being used again."
Since the renovation was completed, Barry has been quite busy. He is currently adding a master suite onto a beautiful home on the water in Smithfield. The Hobbs family has been blessed by the arrival of a new grandchild, Theo, now 2 years old. They all plan to get together soon to see the older grandsons play baseball.
The delightful terrace, ideal for enjoying views of the surrounding property.
Photo by Rising Lotus Photography
What is now the Historic Obici House began as an 1870s farmhouse owned by Amedeo Obici. It was moved from property on Bay Point Dairy Farm Estate to a knoll along side of The Nansemond River in 1925. Mr. Obici, who adopted Suffolk as his hometown after immigrating from Oderzo, Italy when he moved his peanut operation here, then built a 7000 sq. ft. showplace around the original house. He installed magnificent stained glass windows, parquet floors, ornate chandeliers and imported Italian tile. It was on their estate the diminutive Mr. & Mrs. Obici garnered a reputation for hosting elaborate parties for their family, friends and employees for the next two decades.
After many years of falling into disrepair, the Historic Obici House became a "labor of love" for the Rountree family, who leased both the house and surrounding Sleepy Hole Golf Course from the City of Suffolk. It is through their vision, efforts and dedication that the house is again the site of many happy gatherings!
Upon climbing the original brick staircase to the front terrace, you will enter through the original heavy wooden door into the welcoming foyer. The Obici Room to the right with its priceless chandeliers will add the perfect light to your dance floor. To the left, one passes through the parlor (where many, many a wedding cake has been cut over the years!) to the sunny bar room with pub tables and chairs, and on into the gracious dining room where the Obicis hosted their famous dinner parties. Returning to the foyer, while climbing the staircase to the second floor, one will pass by the amazing stained glass window on the landing and enter into the Suffolk Room. The view of the Nansemond River from high above is truly breathtaking! The upstairs hallway leads past a second bar area as well as the fully renovated "His & Hers" bathrooms into the large Oderzo Room which previously had been the master bedroom & sitting room. From here, as well as from a smaller nearby hallway, the lovely terrace can be enjoyed, as well as more incredible views of the river as well as the 18th hole of the surrounding Sleepy Hole Golf Course. Terry Tague, the event manager, is a great resource for planning memorable occasions.
In addition to private events, the dining room is open to the public on Thursday evenings for theme dinners. What a grand way to begin a weekend!
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