WHEN HOUSE HUNTING more than a decade ago, Brad Ashbrook took one look at the home he’d end up buying in Wellesley and kept driving. “The house had been on the market for a long time. It was such an ugly duckling,” he recalls. His wife, Maria, however, saw possibilities in the Cape Cod-style house, built in the 1950s. “It was on a great lot that bordered Boulder Brook Reservation,” she says.
The Ashbrooks bought the house, made small improvements, and lived in it with their two sons for six years. “By then we knew what worked and what didn’t,” says Brad, who notes that the home’s biggest flaws were its small, dark rooms and lack of curb appeal. They began thinking about a minimal renovation but soon realized, says Maria, “that we love our neighborhood and we were going to be here for the long haul. So we decided to do things right.”