Saturday, February 26, 2011

Old Houses

I love old houses. The charm, wit and character is rarely matched with new construction, despite the efforts of some contemporary designers and architects.

Part of the problem is that current construction practices affect the final project. How can you get the same feeling on a house if you replace bead board with vinyl or three layered stucco with a single stucco layer over foam insulation? 

A bigger concern to me is the design. Modern designers are masters of efficiency regarding cost and materials usage, as well as in creating seamless floor plans.

This design stagnation leads to houses that look and feel much the same and have no room for experimentation. And no room for the residents to flex into later. Have you ever gone into an old house and seen a space that isn't used and realize that it perfectly matches a need that you have? I have. It is a wonderful discovery.

I know, old houses aren't perfect, and they aren't for everyone. There certainly aren't enough around for us to all live in. But maybe, if we respect them and learn from them, we will make houses that are more pleasant for ourselves and our great-grandchildren.

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