Hot Off the Vine

My Designated Historic Home, and Real Designated Historic Ones!

I grew up in a house that was built in 1926.  It was the third oldest house on the street, and I loved it.  It had a barn-shaped roof, built-in cabinets in the dining room and bathroom, glass doorknobs in the bedrooms, and a slop sink in the basement that was large enough in which to wash a mid-sized mutt.  This photo is not of my childhood house but rather the larger, nicer one across the street, which is currently for sale and which I find sort of tempting, in a nostalgic way.  I’m in a house now that was built in the 1990s and, although I love it, there’s nothing here that screams “history” except the stains on the carpet from when my kids were little.  But wait, before I glamorize my childhood home too much, let me also mention it was tiny, my room had no heat in it at all (and this was in snowy New York), it had one bathroom, and the stairs were so steep you’d hit your head on the ceiling while walking down them.  In short, it was not exactly an historic dream home.

This, however, is. It’s in Bungalow Heaven, a neighborhood of historic Arts & Crafts and Revival-era homes in Pasadena’s first Landmark District, also listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  I found it on a blog named L.A. Places.

* The college I attended is in a town with a historic district that is one of only 24 National Historic Landmark communities in the United States.  The U.S. Secretary of the Interior wrote this about the decision to include Geneseo: One of the most remarkably preserved villages in northwestern New York, Geneseo is one of the best examples of “Picturesque” architecture and town planning as expounded by American landscape architect Andrew Jackson Downing.” Okay, wait, let me show you. This one is actually for sale, and it’s only a few doors up from that 2nd floor apartment I used to rent with the slanted floor where all my omelets were lopsided. This one is much nicer.

* By the way, there are various requirements and attributes for becoming a national landmark historic district, a national historic district, a local historic district, and a landmark historic district.   They sound very similar, but there are important differences having to do with historical consistency, periods of development, architectural styles, and more.  If you live in one of these designations, you’ll want to inform yourself about any specific requirements to which you must adhere when renovating your home, including the approvals you’ll need prior to beginning work.  Also, as this informative article makes clear, renovation of a historic home is more about preservation and restoration than it is about change for change’s sake. If you are not really looking for the whole neighbors-into-my-business thing when it comes to the look of your house, then buying a home in a historic district may not be a good choice for you.  My childhood home was not in any designated historic district (although, goodness knows, the houses were old as the hills!) so when my dad wanted to paint our house lime green, he painted it lime green.  Gosh, I loved that house.

If you live in a historic house, you may want to consider remodeling specialists who are used to working with older homes and know how to renovate while preserving the past.  Find historic preservation experts, remodelers, contractors, painters, woodworkers, and more on Kudzu.


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