Book Review: Creating A New Old House

Creating A New Old House

 Creating A New Old House

Many of you might be searching for a new house to buy, or perhaps you are hoping to reinvent your current home with some old classical details to give it that old style charm.  I have a book for you!

Many people don't even approach the idea of building a house, because imagining a new house, or the expenses associated with starting from scratch can be daunting thought. Many people touring new homes looking for ideas find nothing but cookie-cutter copies in which they then find themselves combing through the bookstore shelves looking for inspiration in which they can add to their homes to give that old world feel.

Russell Versaci was inspired to write Creating A New Old House when he was in architecture school.  It was then that he discovered the modern American homes didn't even have a trace of the past, as if they abandoned the architectural elements all together.   He turned to history for inspiration, and while searching through dusty volumes in the library he discovered America was rich with forgotten styles, from the first colonial dwellings and styles of the new republic through early-twentieth-century classicism.  Russell spent 30 years studying the qualities that make old houses so appealing—and learning how to re-create these qualities in new homes for modern living.  Amongst those who love new styles, there is an even bigger population that clings to the old.

Google Books Has a generous preview of Creating A New Old House Here.

Also  Versaci's Roots of Home: Our Journey to a New Old House preview is also on Google Books

Creating A New Old House will show you homes which were built from scratch which incorporated elements which were patterned after tradition. The houses in this book have been created by some of the best architects, builders, and homeowners who dedicated their craft to creating styles based on classic designs. The homes presented in the book cover different styles ranging in different regional styles across America. You will see portraits of eighteen new houses in classic traditional styles. The examples given were selected from more than 300 homes, presenting the very best in each style. Creating A New Old House became an instant classic when it was published in 2003 and is now used as a tool in hundreds of traditional architecture practices.

The fabulous pictures of this post come from North West Eddy , who also features a great review of this book

About the Author

Russell Versaci was a graduate of Yale, and studied architecture at Harvard and the University of Pennsylvania. In 1985 he formed the award-winning residential practice Versaci Neumann & Partners, based in Washington D.C. and Middleburg, Va.  Then in 2006 he founded Russell Versaci Architecture which has a goal of improving the quality and value of traditional homebuilding.  Versaci's designs have been featured in national magazines, including Traditional Home, Southern Accents, House Beautiful, and Southern Living, as well as on Good Morning, America.

Russell Versaci offers 8 guide points to consider when designing a new house with classical strong traditional design.

1.  Invent within the rules- When creating new designs, work within the traditional language of architecture.

2.  Respect the character of place- Honor the local building traditions.

3.  Tell a story in your home about the growth over time.  Imagine changes made by alterations and additions over time, and design within those ideas.

4.  Build for the ages- Build with durable materials and time-tested construction techniques which are built to last.

5.  Pay Attention to detail.  Authenticity of details define house character making it more convincing.

6.  Build with natural materials- The timeless beauty of natural materials will always remain in style, while the modern day plastics will always become dated at some point in time.

7.  Create the patina of age by natural weathering processes.  Build with salvaged antique materials.

8.  Intergrate modern room functions but hide new technologies.

  Index Information:

Introduction - Page 2

Reviving the Classic Homes of the Past Page 4

A Portfolio of New Old Houses

CALIFORNIA SPANISH COLONIAL REVIVAL- Recapturing the Romance of Spain Page 24

ROCKY MOUNTAIN RANCH- Rive House in Big Sky Country Page 36

SPANISH-PUEBLO ADOBE- Reviving A Primitive Power Page 48

MIDWESTERN GREEK REVIVAL- An Honest Prairie Farmhouse- Page 60


PENNSYLVANIA DUTCH FARMHOUSE- A New Farmstead with a Past- Page 82



GERMAN STONE FARMHOUSE- Bringing a Farm Back to Life Page 116

CAPE COD COTTAGE- A. House of Salvaged Bones Page 128

SOUTHERN PIEDMONT FARMHOUSE- A New Farmhouse For An Old Village Page 138

SOUTHERN ANTEBELLUM PLANTATION- Proper Southern Planners Page 150

FRENCH CREOLE COTTAGE- A Weathered Bayou Cottage Page 160

TEXAS GERMAN RANCH- Sunday House on the Prairie Page 172

FRENCH COLONIAL PLANTATION HOUSE- A Portrait of Louisiana Heritage Page 184

CRAFTSMAN ARTS AND CRAFT'S BUNGALOW- House of Fine Woodworking Page 196

COLONIAL REVIVAL SHINGLE STYLE-New England in the Northwest 206

Directory of Architects 218

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