Throughout 2017, Dunn Solutions will be keeping up with Daniel Westbrook as he restores this historic Seattle residence. This video and post are the first part of the ongoing series. For other related posts, click here.
I’m in the midst of remodeling a historic home in one of Seattle’s classic neighborhoods, and I’m struck by how well the architect has kept the look of the original architectural components. We are remodeling a kitchen and basement, which is pretty much a structural, surgical gut to the interior core of the home. As we finished drywalling and things were taking shape, I was reminded of the importance of design, and of something more—valuable, timeless, and born in history. So, what’s the attraction here? Why restore historic homes and buildings? I believe there are two very important things to consider. One is the physical building itself, and the other is what historic homes represent.
Many of these old houses were well built in the first place, with a lot of thought, art, design, and craftsmanship. Take the classic craftsman home, designed during the Arts and Crafts era. The home’s exterior featured oversized eaves, artistic moldings, and large weather-protected porches. Once inside, classic moldings, mantels, stairs, and railings adorned the home, with designs ranging from simple to ornate. Drive around many neighborhoods here in Seattle, and you will see these homes today—all with a slightly different aesthetic than the one next door.
Like other historic homes, the craftsman retain value in their design, original craftsmanship, and versatility. Space can be added, or a remodel performed without taking away from their classic look. There is nothing on a craftsman that can’t be matched or replicated. Compare this to modern homes, where many are built with proprietary products that may become obsolete in just a few years.
We remodel and restore these historic homes because it’s worth it from a financial, artistic, and architectural standpoint. And there is something else; perhaps it’s our heritage that these classic structures represent. Historic homes are a testament of the endurance and innovation of the human spirit. They represent our can-do attitude, while suggesting our desire to maintain the best of old fashioned values. Perhaps these homes harken back to a simpler time in moments when the modern world gets to be too much for us. Without a doubt, historic homes and buildings have great value. They are long-standing sentinels of our heritage.