Tag Archives: historic house

Home renovation: where to start – By Kate Wagner- Curbed

Similarly, it’s a common fallacy that (unless you are renovating your house to passive house energy standards) new windows are more energy efficient or durable than historic ones. First, it will take up to 240 years to recoup enough money from energy savings to pay back the cost of installing replacement windows. Second, let’s be real: New windows are not nearly as good looking. Old windows are very hard to replace, but much easier and often cheaper to restore to modern standards. Finally, no other types of

Source: Home renovation: where to start – Curbed

Portland must do more to preserve old houses: Guest opinion | OregonLive.com


A group of neighborhood residents recently saved Northwest Portland’s Goldsmith House from demolition. ( James Reddick/The Oregonian)

According to The Architectural Heritage Center, an estimated 389 demolitions took place in 2013 in neighborhoods across the city; it’s rumored that a demo per work day is happening in 2014. They have some ideas as places to start responding to the demolition epidemic:

(1) Require advance notice to surrounding property owners and residents. Right now, notice is only required by the city when more than one new house is proposed. There’s no notice/delay when a demo application and the replacement house permit are filed the same day. The city should require notice, and time for response, across the board.

(2) Change the definition of “demolition” in the city’s development code – a big problem is that any demolition that leaves any portion of a house still standing (such as a partial foundation wall) is called an “alteration” or “remodel,” not a demolition (which are seriously under-counted, as a result.) More typically, many other jurisdictions use “at least 50% of a structure remains standing” as the primary criterion for an alteration/remodel. If that’s reasonable enough for other cities and counties, it should be acceptable for Portland.

(3) Houses that are obviously historic (but unprotected) are those that have long been listed on the city’s 1983 Historic Resources Inventory, but many houses have reached the age of 50-plus since then. We propose a mandatory 120 day delay for houses on the HRI or at least 50-plus years old. These are likely the ones that need time for investigating alternatives to demolition.

(4) Require that existing front and side yard setbacks be maintained for the new house(s). One major concern is that after a demolition, a new house is not only usually bigger, but it covers much more of the lot, often changing the streetscape substantially. If the front- and side-yard setbacks stay the same for the new house, the streetscape remains more like its traditional neighbors.

via Portland must do more to preserve old houses: Guest opinion | OregonLive.com.

James Lee House – James Lee House Renovation – House Beautiful

Photos courtesy of The James Lee House

A historic house in Memphis was sold for a buck and turned into a bed and breakfast within a year. Jose and Jennifer Velázquez had dreams of opening their own B&B, and after 24 years they found the perfect place — The James Lee House, an abandoned and rundown Victorian built in 1848 that’s listed on the National Historic Register.

via James Lee House – James Lee House Renovation – House Beautiful.