Living History

In a nineteenth-century Victorian, a family's love of the past coexists with a modern lifestyle

The stately Luke Stoughton House. SEE MORE PHOTOS OF THE HOME IN THE SLIDESHOW BELOW.

The stately Luke Stoughton House. SEE MORE PHOTOS OF THE HOME IN THE SLIDESHOW BELOW.

When Maura Beresky and her family moved to Stoughton in 1989, she was hoping to find a house with a bit of history.

She got her wish—and then some—when she, husband Ron, and sons Ryan and Andy fell for an Italianate Victorian tucked in one of the town’s historic neighborhoods. “It was so grand,” she says. “I love Victorian houses.

They bought the house right away, learning in the process that it was built in 1856 and is known as the Luke Stoughton House after the village founder.

Over the past twenty years, Maura has grown the house into a charming combination of crown molding, walls stenciled and papered in Victorian patterns, rich velvet sofas, Oriental rugs and ornate draperies.

Maura has amassed an impressive collection of antique furnishings and photographs. “I used to live at auctions,” she says with a smile. Yet her home is hardly a history museum. “I’m not really stuck on sticking to a period,” she says of her décor. “It’s what I like.”

While the family has added a back porch and garage, the biggest change to the house took place in April 2008 when they remodeled the kitchen, which hadn’t been touched since the 1980s. “I wanted it to flow with the rest of the house but it obviously had to be updated,” she says.

Maura and Ron worked with Bella Domicile and Sweeney Construction on the three-month renovation, which resulted in a warm kitchen of cherry cabinets, stainless steel appliances and green soapstone countertops.

In all, the house is close to four thousand square feet. But Maura feels she’s achieved her goal of melding modern-day amenities, family-friendly coziness and a respect for the past. This combination is crucial, as the Bereskys don’t consider the house as theirs. Rather, they think of themselves as its temporary custodians.

“We realize that we are only one chapter in a story that is over 153 years old,” she says, “but our efforts will ensure that many more chapters will be written.”

Katie Vaughn is associate editor of Madison Magazine.

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