Back To School: The Three Rs (And A P)
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, or unless you’re very new to Lakewood, you are undoubtedly aware that Lakewood was selected by This Old House magazine as one of the Best Places in the Midwest to Buy an Old House in 2008. The article states “Queen Anne, Spanish Revival, Tudor, and Colonial Revival houses can be found with all their original details, including magnificent millwork and stained-glass windows.” True enough. But are Lakewoodites of one mind about maintaining their homes? Do the terms remodel, rehabilitate, restore, and preserve have the same value to every Lakewood homeowner? Probably not.
Let’s take a look at the dictionary definitions:
Remodel: to reconstruct, make over
Rehabilitate: to restore to good condition
Restore: to bring back to a former or original condition
Preserve: to protect sites, structures or districts which reflect elements of architectural history
Restoring a house to its original state is appropriate if the house has a historical or architectural significance, symbolizing an important period or commemorating the life of an important person in history. The Oldest Stone House and the Nicholson House are Lakewood examples of restoration. Preservation is the ongoing process of maintaining and repairing existing historic materials and retaining a property's form in a structure that is over 75 years old (ie: 99% of Lakewood homes).
There is a certain amount of tension when preservation is mentioned around contractors and homeowners who rehab and remodel older homes. A preservationist would not fault a homeowner for wanting to update a 1920s electrical system so that a coffee maker AND a toaster could be used at the same time. But when the conversation turns to topics such as vinyl siding, replacement windows, laminate flooring, and “non sympathetic” additions (to name a few), the preservationist will strongly encourage the homeowner to choose alternate techniques, products, or designs that will combine the best of modern efficiencies while maintaining the historical integrity and aesthetic beauty of the home.
Val Mechenbier is a licensed Realtor at Prudential Lucien Realty.