Whether you realize it or not, you prefer a home to a house. The word home connotes warmth, charm, character, and history. House, on the other hand, is the less personal synonym to describe a residence and a nicer way of describing a McMansion. When you picture your dream home you picture driving up to your…symmetrical and stately Georgian? An eclectic Tudor topped with a swooping, Hansel and Gretel roofline? An endlessly rambling farmhouse surrounded by an x-rail fence? Or a humble bungalow with a giant front porch? Whichever type of home you envision, one thing is clear: Each one has its own, distinctive features that differentiate it from every other house on the street. That makes it your home.
With details like wavy, double hung windows, richly textured plaster walls, wide plank floors typically come poor insulation, drafty rooms, high utility bills and myriads of other unglamorous realities. Dreaming of buying that 1920s fixer upper that’s a steal of a deal? Buyer beware: a lot of times these fixer uppers are less fixer upper and more reconstruction projects. If you plan to tackle one of these, do your diligence and opt in for all the additional inspections to know if you can afford your dreams. The costliest renovations are usually structural, foundational, or electrical. These are all issues that must be addressed before you can redo the kitchen and bathrooms. In short, they’ll eat up your budget without making a dent on the cosmetic fixes.
Luckily, lots of architects and builders have adopted the New Old Home concept pioneered by Virginia-based architect Russell Versaci. They are marrying the character, charm, and proportions of older homes with today’s construction technology. These homes are not built-in-a-day McMansions instead they are thoughtful abodes with lasting visual and structural appeal. The idea has actually flourished in the last fifteen years as people are opting to live in more urban neighborhoods that are walkable and accessible than the sprawling suburbs with sprawling houses that dominated the 1990s. Here’s a round up of some of my favorite new old homes. Would you guess that these are new?