You’ve seen it. In almost every older neighborhood someone is tearing-down a modest home to make way for another McMansion, insensitive to the scale of the surrounding homes and sticking out like a sore thumb. Putting aside the social implications of this “screw the neighbors” attitude — and forgetting about the incredible waste of resources — these folks are just plain missing the opportunity for a much richer living environment.

Instead of building an unimaginative and over-inflated box, why not recycle the structure of an existing house – searching for the best aspects of it and incorporating them into an updated “New-Old House”? The cool thing about this is that the compromises inherent in recycling an old structure force us to be more creative; a “New-Old House” is always quirkier and more romantic than a sanitized new home tends to be.

Before & After:

house before remodeling

house after remodeling

This approach especially lends itself to older, close-in neighborhoods with an eclectic mix of housing styles. A Cape Cod might transform into an Arts & Crafts Cottage, a Dutch Colonial into an Italianate Villa – even a Rambler into an English Cottage like the one shown here. It always amazes me that the seeds of these “New-Old Houses” lurk in the souls of the everyday homes that surround us.