I am just back from a trip to Dublin, Ireland, where I was amazed at how the city’s Georgian architecture is so well preserved. Walking the streets north of the River Liffey, I saw row after row of eighteenth-century brick townhouses—with strikingly colorful doorways—lining the streets.
I was fortunate to peek inside a few of these national treasures, as some have been turned into museums, and their interiors are also perfectly preserved. Decorative crown moldings and breathtaking ornamental plaster adorn the Writers’ Museum and Museum of Literature Ireland. The buildings are as magnificent as the collections that they house.
I couldn’t help but be impressed by the reverence the city shows for its past by honoring its historic building designs. Of course, these old houses have all the modern comforts of today: well-appointed kitchens, up-to-date baths, and technology galore.
While we don’t have too many classical Georgian buildings in this country, “new old house” architects continue to study buildings of the past to create new and spirited homes for today. And these house designs are as diverse as the topography of this country. Yet they all have something in common: They speak to their environment and celebrate the vernacular of place. Michael Imber’s Texas River Ranch has thick stone walls that become physical levies when the Colorado River’s banks overflow. At the Alys Beach, Florida, home designed by Jeffrey Dungan, the white stucco Moorish design reflects the hot, penetrating sun, keeping the home cool throughout the day.
For a home in Jackson, Wyoming, architect Peter Zimmerman conceived a design reminiscent of an original homesteader’s log house. All materials reflect the historic cabins in the area. Zimmerman chose reclaimed wood and timbers for its walls, with steeply pitched rooflines and deep eaves to handle the heaviest snow loads.
We hope you enjoy this issue of houses that truly speak to their environment
and create a sense of place in our diverse landscapes.
~Nancy Berry, editor of New Old House magazine
Look below to see stories from this issue.