This Late Victorian Home in Lewes Is a Quirky Gem

By Joan Page McKenna

Dubbed the “House of the Seven Sins” by neighbors, this unconventional home blends historic architecture with modern amenities.

The original home was 2,200 square feet, but new owners purchased it in 2001 and spent three years restoring it and building out a three-story, 2,800-square-foot addition. The wraparound porch includes columns carved with the seven deadly sins.

$1.795 million

Address: 115 Kings Highway, Lewes Year Built: 1907 Bedrooms and Baths: 5 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, 1 half-bath Square Footage: 4,962 Lot Size: .23 acres School District: Cape Henlopen

Mere steps from the Zwaanendael Museum in the Lewes Historic District, this eclectic Late Victorian blends modern amenities, historic architecture and a soupçon of Dante for a perfectly quirky gem.

Two winged griffins perch atop the home’s stairs, steadfastly guarding the front entryway. Seven impressive columns—each carved in relief with one of the seven deadly sins—frame the wraparound porch, with greed and sloth flanking the enigmatic griffins.

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The home’s all-season sun porch offers views of the koi pond and the fountain, as well as the statue-filled garden.

The home’s life began on Christmas Day 1907 when Anthony Paynter Ingram and wife Mollie Virden Poynter Ingram took up residence at the new build on the corner of Franklin Avenue and Kings Highway. Anthony, 47, had just married his young bride—only 19—the year prior, after his first wife died.

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He spent his days working at his family’s nearby coal and lumber operation, while Mollie tended to their ever growing family. The pair raised six children together until his death 20 years later. Mollie stayed there another two decades before relocating for the remainder of her life to her childhood home on Madison Street, where she had married Anthony so many years before.

(FROM LEFT): Anthony Paynter Ingram and Mollie Virden Poynter Ingram, the home’s original owners, married in 1906—he was 47, she just 19—and took up residence in the brand-new build on Christmas Day 1907.; A 20-foot fountain anchors the lush, statue-filled garden at this unconventional Late Victorian in the Lewes Historic District.

The original 2,200-square-foot house gradually fell into disrepair, until art conservator Richard Verzier and his partner Glen Thompson purchased it in 2001 with a full restoration in mind. They spent three years working on the house, first adding a three-story, 2,800-square-foot addition and creating a tea room, a music room and an area for entertaining.

They re-created the faux-brownstone façade using hundreds of  20-inch cement blocks custom-made in Baltimore at $20 apiece—a sharp contrast to the 8 cents each “Belgian block” cost back in 1906 when they were made in Seaford. “Bide a Wee,” meaning “stay a while” in Old English, was engraved over a newly created side door facing Franklin Street.

Charming historic features include crown molding, ceiling medallions, hardwood floors and wainscoting.

Since the home would backdrop Verzier’s extensive art and religious artifacts collection, some of it dating back centuries, the couple expanded the design outdoors with a religious theme. The seven columns and griffins were installed, along with various winged statuary throughout the garden, reportedly leading neighbors to dub it the “House of the Seven Sins.”

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In a nod to the original owners, a portrait of Anthony and Mollie Ingram presided over the entranceway.

The updated kitchen features quartz countertops, stainless steel appliances and an island; a posh bathroom offers an ornate framed mirror and stained glass.

The five-bedroom, 4 1/2-bath home has successfully retained its historic charm—including crown molding, ceiling medallions, hardwood floors and wainscoting. Chandeliers hang everywhere, with a spectacular Waterford crystal masterpiece highlighting an ornate, 14-foot-high domed room.

There are plenty of modern touches now, too. The kitchen features two sinks, a gas stovetop and oven, quartz countertops, stainless steel appliances and an island. A formal dining room and an all-season sun porch offer views of the lilypad-filled koi pond and Roman centurion-style fountain, as well as a lush, statue-filled garden.

A large deck overlooks the back garden while a retro downstairs bar has a speakeasy feel.

A majestic wood staircase leads to a second-floor master, which opens to a large deck (more patinaed statues!) overlooking the backyard, along with three more bedrooms. The finished basement offers a vibrant bar with a 1920s vibe, plus a full bath.

Listed by Nick Carter, Jack Lingo Realtor

Published as “Sinfully Beautiful” in the October 2020 issue of Delaware Today.

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