Today, I received a response regarding my critique last year of a unique renovation of a home in my town. The home was designed by renowned local architect Harold Zook. Sadly, Zook homes are disappearing rapidly and being replaced by lot-eating mansions.
The message was written by the owner of the home, and after I read it, I realized that I was out of line in my critique. Much of the house was saved, when the owner could easily have torn it down. As an observer, it is all to easy to downplay what must have been a hugely expensive, yet sensitive renovation.
Here is the letter:
“I’m the owner of this house and came across this posting from 2016 while doing some reading online about Zook. We bought this house in 2007 with the intention of knocking it down and re-building. The original house had two bedrooms upstairs and a “master bedroom” downstairs that was really a former study with a closet that we used as a bedroom. We knew going in that the house was way too small for a family of five, but our intentions were to demolish and re-build. After living in the house for a few years, we fell in love with the architecture, the details Zook put into it, and all of it’s charm. The best part of the house was, and still is, the great room with 15ft beamed ceiling. We hired a local architect who was very familiar with Zook and had done other Zook re-models. The house as it was was not livable anymore. Un-repairable roof problems, rained in the kitchen every storm, flooding basement, terrible insulation, wood rot…… the list goes on.
We spent a lot of time and money re-designing the home to where we needed it to be to be comfortable. The footprint of the house didn’t change, we gained more space with the creativity of the architect, as well as adding a third floor bedroom.
While YOU may not like the look, WE love it. We have had nothing but compliments from our neighbors and friends. The house was recently on a House walk and was by far the most popular house on the tour and had great feedback. The inside has a lot of the original charm, we left the great room all original, original front Dutch door and interior doors were saved.
We even had the previous owners of the house come over to see it because they were concerned of what changes were made, and they LOVED IT. Including us, there have been only three owners since it was built in 1938
I’m sorry you think it’s ugly. It has LOTS of character and personality.
We are not into “keeping up with the whoever’s”, this is how we wanted it.
And by the way, the siding was not cheap, it was actually pretty costly.”
To the owner, it is obvious you put considerable expense and care into this home. My post of last year is gone, and will not reappear. I apologize.