Buyers Love Bygone Homesteads

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Architect Russell Versaci has always cultivated his own interest in authentic historical architecture. Through the years, he has discovered many kindred spirits in the home buying public -- buyers who perhaps long for the days of visits to their grandp...

September 13, 2000

 

This Tidewater Plantation home is one of 13 traditional farmhouse plans offered by architect Russell Versaci. It won a Southern Living Home Award in 1999.

 

Architect Russell Versaci has always cultivated his own interest in authentic historical architecture. Through the years, he has discovered many kindred spirits in the home buying public -- buyers who perhaps long for the days of visits to their grandparents’ country farm, from the bench swing on the covered porch to the fresh pies cooling on the kitchen windowsill.

Knowing there was a market for authentic country homes designed for modern living, Versaci has put together a portfolio of 13 farmhouse plans that hearken back to romanticized rural America. Called the Simple Farmhouse Portfolio, the plans are based on farmsteads, cottages and country houses and include barns, garages, carriage houses and other outbuildings.

"I’ve done a lot of research on farmhouses over the years, and I’ve found them to be an interesting and neglected form of architecture," says Versaci, founder of Versaci Neumann & Partners Architects of Middleburg, Va.

The plans, which range from 1700 to 3700 square feet, so far encompass classic designs that have grown to be the standard regional type for the mid-Atlantic seaboard. In time, Versaci expects to have 30 to 40 plans that include everything from New England saltboxes to Creole cottages to Greek Revival farmsteads. Plans sell for $3650 to $9850, depending on size, and include eight sets of blueprints and spec sheets. Versaci provides free consultation with each set.

Builders are also showing great interest in these plans, which are about one-fifth the cost of most custom houseplans but include the same comprehensive design detail. According to Versaci, small to medium-volume builders who are looking for ways to grow and expand their product offerings are among his biggest customers.

"Builders like it because there is a lot of meat in these drawings -- large and exacting design details that the customers love and the builders can take to the bank," says Versaci. "Planning commissions and zoning boards love these plans, too. One of our strongest supporters is a local planning commissioner who is using them as a model to show to residential developers. I didn’t expect that."

The blueprints offer the following:

 

 

  • full-size profile drawings of custom moldings and other historically correct period details
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  • sources for materials
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  • standards of quality and installation
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  • telephone support for contractors is available during construction.

    Purchasers can save as much as 75% of custom design plans, however, Verasaci and his staff will make custom changes to each plan for an additional design fee.

    Illustrated plans are available for $20, and study sets for individual plans cost $125. They can be ordered directly from Versaci’s website, www.simplefarmhouse.com, where renderings and floor plans can be viewed.

    "The website has been incredible in generating even more interest in these plans," says Versaci. "Some site visitors comment that they have looked through literally thousands of house plans before coming to our site and finding exactly what they want. It’s really struck a responsive chord."

    Versaci’s plans have won several Southern Living Home Awards, and one of his estate homes (not part of this portfolio but still based on historic design) was recently featured on "Good Morning America" as one of the top five dream houses in the country.

    "For 15 years we have been in the practice of recreating tradition," Verasaci says of his firm. "We rummage through antique shops of architecture to find treasures that inspire us. By measuring old buildings we discover the secrets to their composure and craftsmanship. Then we create original designs using antique ideas and crats to make something new out of something very old."

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