'One of the Most Beautiful Victorian Dwellings'
At the Haddonfield Home on Warwick Road, there are still touches of an earlier, elegant era
Sometimes, with a bit of luck and care, old buildings find new life and a new mission.
That’s what happened to 132 Warwick Rd., now known as the Haddonfield Home.
The Italianate Victorian was built in 1856 when the area was mostly open farmland. It has had many owners over the years as a single-family home–from a paint manufacturer to a lawyer to an accountant.
But in recent decades, it has welcomed seniors. The Victorian serves as the offices, reception area and parlor of an assisted living community. The residents live in a more modern one-story addition behind the handsome slate-gray home with the white and red trim.
Call the old three-story building early Victorian.
Tall windows opened so that earlier inhabitants could fling them open and walk outside.
“They did love to be on the veranda,” said Tassini.
In the days before efficient heating and cooling, windows were draped with heavier materials in winter months and dressed with lighter fabrics in the summertime.
“It’s all open and airy, and gracious entertaining is what it’s all about,” said Tassini.
There are still touches of an earlier, grand era although changes, of course, have been made.
A chandelier with glass pendants may originally have been gas, not electric, said Tassini. The sitting room floor, a pretty oak, may be covering up a beautiful heart pine floor.
The room features a majestic grandfather clock and intricately carved moldings. Outside, distinctive columns in an open-fretwork style, some awaiting TLC repair, frame the big veranda with the wrap-around porch. Big shutters would have kept out the wintry cold and offered additional nighttime security, noted Tassini.
The home, a next-door neighbor to the house once owned by the late Joan Aiken, the borough’s most well-known history buff, is more than a century-and-a-half old. At that age, a building is structurally challenging, noted Tom Kelly, executive director of Haddonfield Home. Aged buildings need regular maintenance, often in keeping with historical preservation standards.
In this 19th-century home, upstairs offices are carved from rooms families once used.
But Kelly added that the Victorian “has awful lot of charm to it.” Indeed, families of prospective elderly residents often note a mother’s fondness for “older things.”
Others feel similarly. Nearly two decades ago, the home was picked as the setting for a designers’ showcase, which called it “one of the largest and most beautiful Victorian dwellings in Haddonfield, with its two-and-one-half acres of lawns, gardens and old trees ...”