I recently read Marni Jameson’s column about the historic Capen House in Winter Park, Florida. In it, she laments that a historic house – and a recently restored one at that – may be torn down to make way for a new, more contemporary home on the lot. She includes portions of an interview with Nicole Curtis, host of HGTV’s Rehab Addict, about the house. The gem from that was Curtis’ advice to buyers who intend to destroy a historic house in order to build anew on the lot: “If you don’t like old houses, don’t buy one. Find some vacant land and build there.”
Curtis also gave six reasons why more Americans should care about saving old homes. I thought they were so on target, I’m posting them here and hoping they may be read throughout the land, and certainly throughout real estate circles. They also nicely coincide with Adventures in Preservation‘s guiding principles – another reason to share them here.
Six Reasons Why More Americans Should Care About Saving Old Homes
- Because tearing them down is wrecking our history. Countries rich in culture value history and buildings. “In Italy and France, you see 300-year-old buildings housing subways,” she said. “They make them work, they don’t tear them down.”
- Because it’s bad for our Earth. Most of the wreckage will not be salvaged. All that glass and plaster goes into landfills.
- Because you can never replicate these houses once they’re gone. The woodwork alone came from 200-year-old trees. These homes were built before electricity, and were made by hand with handmade nails.
- Because we don’t need new homes. “We have enough vacant homes to put everyone in America in a house,” said Curtis. “We need to take care of what we have.”
- Because we’re losing our uniqueness. “There is something beautiful about traveling through America and seeing its distinct neighborhoods. Houses that get torn down and rebuilt erase that character.”
- Because of their quality. “When you have a 100-year-old home made of timbers not particle board, it is solid. These homes have withstood decades of human life and natural disasters. But not city commissions and other self interests.”