Tuesday, July 26, 2011

'Restoring an Old Long Island Farmhouse'

Five architects from five cities offer suggestions for restoring an old Long Island farmhouse built in 1776, from Country Life magazine, 1922.


The Ancient said...

A house needs to allow for privacy, and a chance to be alone. Most of the designs don't do that. And overall, there aren't enough bathrooms or service areas.

Chapin's interior design seems much better than the others.

Doug Floor Plan said...

Interesting to see what falls under the heading of ‘restoring’ in this article because all but one plan substantially alters this house, which in its original state is very small & would be unpractical to ‘restore’ to an as-is size. My comments on the five options offered:
1. Stanley B. Parker (Boston): I like the two bathrooms upstairs but, regrettably there is not even a half bath on the ground floor; the labels have the living room shared with the dining room (which seems too informal for this house) making the library across the hall the largest single room in the house.
2. Rollin C. Chapin (Minneapolis): still no half bath on the ground floor but otherwise a very decent floor plan with some decent closet space in the upstairs bedrooms; & as Ancient noted this plan has some spaces where you can enjoy some privacy.
3. Leslie Devereux (New York): this design stayed truest to the original house but it leaves you with a very small house; the floor plan is about as good as it could be.
4. Russell S. Wallcott (Chicago): my least favorite exterior but my favorite interior – a ground floor guest room with a full bath that is almost detached from the main body of the house, a very nice interior flow while still providing some private space – I like moving the stairs off to the side & walking straight into a large, open room, an attached garage; but the second floor bedrooms & bath could be improved.
5. Addison Savery (Philadelphia): not a bad plan & there are two half baths on the ground floor; I like the way the back stairs are set up.

I noticed none of the new designs kept the protruded vestibule in the original house, which is a very prominent feature & should have stayed in a true restoration (Russell Walcott’s design came close). From what I can tell none of these designs made use of the third level even though each plan showed third floor windows & only the plan by Russell S. Wallcott (Chicago) showed a servant’s bedroom – the times must have been changing by 1922.

The Devoted Classicist said...

It is fascinating to see what features were kept and what were changed. Only one, for example, kept even a suggestion of the vestibule and distinctive fanlight. Another went so far as to pair the windows, a popular 1920s feature of the new Colonial Revival houses. All are fabulously rendered though.

Doug Floor Plan said...

Sorry to detract again, but for the second day in a row (see yesterday's comments) the real estate section in ‘The Wall Street Journal’ features a 19th century Long Island house (this time in Southampton), this time only for rent: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424053111903591104576468270971510968--LESS.html#%2F1 I’m not crazy about this renovation but it wasn’t my house to renovate & at least they didn’t tear it down & build new … they just made nearly everything look brand new & sparkly white.

Back to the subject at hand: Zach, do you know what actually, eventually became of the old farmhouse featured in this 'Country Life' article?