Monday, March 24, 2008

Victorian Design: Keeping a Victorian, well,Victorian


I am a firm believer that 'new is not necessarily better'. I recieved another email from yet another potential client who had bought a "redone" home and wanted me to "warm it up" for them.
While I dont have a problem with "design trends" I do have a problem with taking an old house and turning it into a "loft". Concrete countertops, exposed ductwork and metal walls do not belong in a victorian house. Many builders in an effort to "make a buck" and I believe an overexposure to HGTV have taken perfectly good homes and "morphed" them into things they were never meant to be. It is entirely possible to place and disguise all the "modern conveniences" in a Victorian Home and still maintain in integrity. Its a little more work but I do it all the time.
Anyone who has ever restored an old house knows what mean. For example how many 'dropped ceilings' have you seen put in the 1970's ? Todays "trend" is no ceilings with everything exposed and looking like a warehouse. Dont get me wrong I love "lofts", I think it is great adaptive reuse that saves buildings that might otherwise be destroyed and a good designer can do incredible things in a space like that.

There are great brownstones in Cincinnati that suffered the indignities of being converted to seven or eight apartments and I have noted most "developers" now are usually making 3 "condos" out of them, usually 1 on each floor. Personally, I hope this "trend" doesnt take off. I understand that these are large homes, but I feel as Over-the-Rhine is reborn that these large homes will be highly treasured because they are large and confortable. History has also shown that it is far more costly to convert them yet again back to a single family. I hope some of the players in the Over the Rhine rennaisance realize that those coming from the burbs are going to want more than 1200 square feet. Another thing too is that 'eventually' you will see more and more families with kids returning to the neighborhood and need more than one bedroom. People need options!
Those large brownstones will be the 'Million Dollar Mansions' that will be key to revitilization,

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