Photo by Phil Mansfield for The New York Times
Several bloggers posted recently about a Greek Revival house built to look old in Dutchess County, New York (read the write-up in The New York Times and be sure to check out the slide show of interior images). Manhattan architect Gil Schafer designed his house (built in 1999) to blend in with its 150-year-old neighbors after a three-year house hunt turned up nothing but out-of-budget mansions in need of a remodel. I love this concept, and especially love that seems to be gaining popularity.
Photo from New Old House magazine
My favorite architect is Russell Versaci, whose book Creating a New Old House outlines what he calls the "Pillars of Traditional Design," a set of principles for architects and homeowners to use to create new, authentic traditional architecture.
A devout lover of old homes, his new houses are some of my all-time favorites. Especially this one, called Fall Creek Farm, in Damascus, Maryland. The main house is stone, while the addition is stucco and the guest house is clapboard, giving the impression that the house was added to over time.
In this latest book, Roots of Home, he explores the "old-world influences" that have shaped American architecture, and talks about building green with an eye to tradition.
Julie Cole Miller of Southern Accents recently asked him about his own house, and I loved what he had to say: "I live in a tiny 1740s Virginia German stone farmhouse, the original home on an old farm that now sits right on the fairway of a golf course. It’s 1,600 square feet with well-worn heart-pine floors, beamed ceilings, and cast-iron rim locks, and nothing is plumb or square. I’m in traditionalist heaven. When I moved there 10 years ago, I thought it would be a temporary roost until my fiancée and I could find a large, gracious old Southern home, or the right land on which to build. But that hasn’t happened yet, and, actually, it’s been a blessing. Our ideas of what we need and want in a house have changed a lot in the past decade."