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Ormond Beach Observer Monday, Aug. 19, 2019 6 months ago

The Casements carriage house to be extended by 400 square feet

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Improvements to the house's north lawn have been a long time coming, the Guild said.
by: Jarleene Almenas Associate Editor

With the years, Christmas at The Casements has gotten more elaborate as the house is decked in wreaths, bells, trees and poinsettias. 

But when the season is over, that all has to go somewhere. 

“Christmas decorations take up a lot of space," said Susan Hansen, The Casements Guild president.

For years, the guild has wanted to expand its existing onsite storage space at the carriage house. Shelves line the walls with labeled bins, and most of the space is taken up by chairs. There's a city podium in the corner of the carriage house, and a motorized cart to help bring equipment out for special events. The other handful of closets around the house are also full. 

Last year, the Guild decided to rent a storage space at a facility for the new decorations. The Guild hopes that upcoming carriage house extension will void the need to rent storage in the future. Siobhan Daly, cultural center coordinator at The Casements, said the existing room will be extended by 400 square feet, making the carriage house an L-shape with the new doors opening from the west rather than the north. 

Publicity Chair Lee Tisdale, Recording Secretary Linda Powell and Guild President Susan Hansen. Photo by Jarleene Almenas

Daly said the city is also fixing drainage issues in the front lawn, and pavers will be added leading to the carriage house. Since 2014 when the gazebo was added, the north lawn at The Casements hasn't beautified, she added. 

These improvements to The Casements are part of the city's capital improvement plan for 2019-2020, and will cost $195,000. The bulk of that — $125,000 — is coming from Guild donations, with the city putting in the remaining $70,000. 

Lee Tisdale, Guild Publicity Chair, said the Guild has seen an increase in the number of people visiting the house. This has helped with donations, which are all invested back into the house. Tisdale gives tours, and sometimes visitors will want to tip her individually for her efforts, but she, and all the other guides, ask instead for the donations to be given to the house.

"Every docent loves this house," Tisdale said. Docents is the title given to Guild members.

To preserve it, Recording Secretary Linda Powell said they have to stay current on ongoing improvements and future needed projects. Quartz countertops were recently placed in the house's kitchen, and improving the cabinets will soon follow.

A rendering showing what the new addition to the carriage house will look like. Courtesy of the city of Ormond Beach

For Powell, it's more than just a house. She said The Casements stands as a "beacon" of what John D. Rockefeller contributed, as well as his hopes for the town.

“I think Ormond Beach is very special, and I think part of that probably grew out of [Rockefeller],” she said.

Donations for the Casements have remained stable over the years, Hansen said, and that allowed the Guild to create an operating budget last year. Now, the Guild makes sure the first floor features fresh flowers and pays the month-to-month cost of the self-guided tour app of the house. 

“The house is over 100 years old and we hope it lasts another 100 years," Hansen said.

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