The Benton House is listed in the Kitchener-Waterloo Heritage Register as a property of interest and is located adjacent to the Victoria Park Heritage District. Built in 1895 in the Berlin Vernacular architectural style, many of the original design elements of the house have remained intact – including the brick construction and decorative brickwork, gable roofline, ornamental pediment above the front door, front picture window with stained glass, and ornamental wood work. It is recognized for its design, as well as physical, contextual, historical and associative values within the community.
Situated in the historic heart of downtown Kitchener, the property also contributes to the character of the street, remaining consistent with many of the other building styles located along the Benton corridor. It is within walking distance to Victoria Park, the newly developed LRT line, and many of the other exciting downtown ventures. It is also a part of the resident-formed Schneider creek community – a very active neighborhood which organizes social events such as street closures, porch parties and potlucks.
The Benton House is the first project for RFB development. The vision for this unique property was to take a once-significant single family home which had suffered significant damage due to neglect and develop it into a four-unit residential building, while preserving the architectural integrity of the single family home. The key focus of this development was to maintain and foster a connection between the old and new – the redevelopment intentionally exposes the existing fabric of the home and has sought to preserve the characteristics which contribute to its architectural significance. This process has including uncovering and displaying the original internal brick walls throughout the house as well as preserving the stained glass window and as much of the ornamental wood work as possible.
The development process for this property was team oriented – with many different people offering insight into the building's design and elements. It has incorporated a hands-on approach which utilizes an organic design-build process that evolves as the project develops. A clear vision for the property was maintained throughout this process, with the goal of working with the existing infrastructure rather than ignoring it.