As families grow homeowners may require extra space. An extra bathroom, bedroom, etc., is needed and adding onto a historic home may be difficult or impossible.
If an addition is not designed correctly it can destroy the integrity of the design and sadly become a Frankenstein house.
Realizing a family’s needs are changing and it is time to MOVE to a more suitable house is commendable.
We are merely stewards of a house passing it on to future families as preserved as we can. As John Ruskin stated “Old Buildings are Not Ours . . .”
So, while “Old House Living” is not for everyone. A new old style house can be built with New Reproduction House Plans that can be modified without harming history.
A New Old-House is a Great Idea.
A wonderful option for these families and anyone that loves the style of a vintage home but still would like to incorporate their own thing is to build a new house. You can still have that Queen Anne Victorian style you love built new without any fear of any negative impact. You will not be one of the homeowners in the article Death of a Cottage . See how the slightest changes build up over the years.
Beware of a Bad Interpretation of a Historic House
Today there are many Victorian Revivals and Craftsman Revivals being built, but most I see are design by architects that have no clue on what to do . I review many drawings for new period houses. Some are very well done but many just look like clowns. Different styles are combined, and proportion and balance is not considered. Current construction is stitched together with semi-traditional pieces of architecture. There are just enough traditional pieces thrown in to make it look vaguely traditional at first glance just as Frankenstein looked vaguely human at first.
Traditional architecture and Classic design is no longer taught to architects today so we really can’t blame them for a bad design.
Unfortunately the burden falls on you the client, that must know better.
Don’t worry, there are Historic Preservation Architects with the traditional design training available.
They can design a 100 year old looking dream house to fit your new needs and you don’t have to worry about messing up a real historic house.
What Clients Designing New Construction Usually Do.
A client may first draw up a floor plan and find pictures of houses they like. They then bring this to an architect to interpret their needs and preferences into a design. The architect then draws up an elevation and floor plan for a new house. This is when the client will contact me to review the elevation. Correcting design problems is not always easy. It can be like fitting a round peg into a square hole. It will also be an extra cost by the architect for any revisions of his/her mistakes.
The biggest mistake made today is to begin designing a house on the interior. Never do that. The result is an unbalanced mess on the exterior. ALWAYS begin with the exterior! As all old homes you can tell what rooms are where from the exterior but not so much with new homes.
Still even with the best plans, the builder can easily modify them to cut his costs without you even noticing. When I worked on projects at the New Jersey Historic Trust, the architect was required to oversee the work of the builders and sign off on each phase. While this provides the homeowner with assurance it also costs the homeowner an additional fee.
Having an architect interpret your interests increases your costs.
One way to reduce this cost is to purchase already made plans.
Below is a listing of companies that offer replica historic house plans. If not very authentic, they are at least acceptable replicas of historic styled homes.
The job does not end here unfortunately. You may still need an architect for any modifications.
Watch the video below to see how a homeowner and an architect designing a house can go wrong.
Historic House plans you can buy:
(not in any order)
There are other architects that produce authentic designs. Here is a sampling. I have not worked with any of them so please do your homework and be careful. You can always run a design by me.