A certain segment of the home-buying population is drawn to new homes that evoke traditional architectural styles while offering the open floor plans and amenities that cater to a modern lifestyle.
In January 2014, the Wall Street Journal ran an article called “Looking for a New Old House?” which addressed Americans’ desire for new homes that look historic on the outside but feature modern floor plans and amenities on the inside. The New Old House movement isn’t new. According to Middleburg, Va., architect Russell Versaci, it dates back to the early 1980s when homebuyers grew disenchanted with tract-house subdivisions.
The kitchen of this American Classic Series home in Woodforest, a Darling Homes subdivision in Houston, functions like its modern counterparts, open and flowing with a large island and the latest appliances. But in a nod to older homes, the breakfast room is tucked into a sunny niche. Photos courtesy of Luxury Foto
A balance of yin and yang
This Woodforest home is one of seven styles in the American Classic Series. Instead of the usual brick and stone exteriors, the siding is painted, as is the front door, and the covered porch has square post columns. “We paint the soffits sky blue, which people did in the old days,” says Darling’s David Mathews.
Building for the 10 percent
Dallas-based Darling Homes offers the American Classic Series for buyers who are in search of something unique and authentic. An on-staff architectural colorist makes sure that the color palettes reflect the old houses on which these are modeled. Photos courtesy of Holmberg Productions
Transom windows and square newel posts are some of the details Darling Homes incorporates to make sure the interior complements what buyers see from the street.
Courting Silicon Valley buyers
The Classics at Station 361 in Mountain View, Calif., were inspired by the traditional architecture of the 1920s and 1930s. The elevation styles include Shingle, Arts and Crafts, Spanish, and Craftsman. Photos: Kevin Berne Images
The exteriors of the Classics at Station 361 resemble authentic old California houses, but the floor plans are all about modern living with open spaces and eat-in kitchens. Illustration: Dahlin Group Architecture
When designing projects like Station 361, the Dahlin Group looks for ways to make the elevations crisper while retaining their timeless character. “We’ll update the details just a little bit—not a lot—to make them sharper,” says architect John Thatch.
Reinventing traditional design
This Virginia Tidewater house, designed by Russell Versaci, has the authentic appearance of a Colonial Williamsburg home, but it’s actually a precut, panelized home built by Connor Homes of Middlebury, Vt., and finished on site by University Homes, Purcellville, Va. Connor fabricated the home in a matter of weeks, pre-drawing the plans in a CAD file and sending them to cutting and assembly machines. Photo and illustration: Russell Versaci Architecture, Ltd.
The first-floor plan shows how Versaci “renovated” the home with a later addition and incorporated the master suite. Two additional bedroom suites are located upstairs in the dormers.