In countless neighborhoods across America, a certain background noise has emerged over the last few years. It’s the incessant sound of chainsaws, backhoes, and hammers. An improved economy means property development. We’re totally on board with property development, but we have noticed a somewhat concerning trend: instead of working with what a building already has, it seems as though everyone is starting from scratch.
That’s understandable in many cases. Sometimes, what’s there just isn’t worth salvaging. But we worry about mass movement toward the idea that “old” means “bad” when it comes to properties.
As preservationists, we are deeply committed to identifying and restoring historic properties. We think there are so many old buildings worthy of TLC. We’re dispelling the notion that you have to start from scratch in order to incorporate modern amenities and cater to modern tastes.
In spite of the constant din of wrecking balls in our neighborhoods, we know we’re not alone in our commitment to preservation. National Trust research says that 65 million Americans are in support of historic preservation, and 15 million Americans are active in preservation efforts. Those are huge numbers. Exciting numbers.
We think original woodwork and ornate plasterwork and soaring ceilings and sweeping staircases are worth the effort to restore. And when we see jaws drop when people walk into these meticulously renovated properties, we know it’s worth it. Historic properties come ready-made with stories, and you simply can’t build that from scratch, no matter how big your construction budget.