Friday, May 21, 2010


A few weeks ago my web master, Sven Nebelung said he was going to improve our blog.  I personally am not comfortable with change, however I trusted his judgment.  When he showed me the results of his work, all I could say was 'WOW'.  The new blog not only looks better, but should be easier to navigate.  There will be a link from our web page,, but until then you can go to or just click the link on this page.

In any case, I will not be updating this site any more, but will be blogging on the new site which will include all of our 'vintage' insights.

Jimmy Crisp

Monday, May 10, 2010

Porch Renovation

Older homes have a character that often is impossible to replicate.  A 200 year old home has traces of daily life so different from our world today.  That sense of history is what makes living in an old home wonderful.  I once owned an 1865 schoolhouse that a friend and I converted into a weekend home.  Some naughty children carved their initials in the siding over a hundred years ago and we treated those carvings with great reverence when the schoolhouse was painted.  Along with the unique details of old homes come issues both internal and external.  A rural farm house next to a dirt road sometimes ends up next to a highway, or an addition which made sense to a previous owner seems out of place in the present. 

Our clients had a stunning view over an existing pond, but the room that had the best view did not work well or match their existing period home.  We worked to give them a place to enjoy the view which felt comfortable with the rest of the house.

Buy, Build, Renovate-Why Now is the Time

I would never advise anyone on their personal investments in real estate or otherwise.  I will only comment on the current market conditions I am seeing. Rarely in my career as an architect have I seen the economic conditions align so strongly in favor of the consumer.  My sister-in-law, who is a schoolteacher, purchased her first home well below the price she would have paid a year before. While the house required extensive updating, she was able to save significantly on renovation costs compared to what it would have cost just a year earlier.             
The following are 5 reasons I think this a great time to buy and build and renovate:
   1.  Home prices are down dramatically from their recent highs.
   2.  Commodity prices of some building materials have fallen,
        although others are rising.
   3. Energy surcharges from a couple of years ago have been eliminated.
   4. Reliable high quality builders are available and are more competitive
   5. There are more 'green' and energy efficient materials on the market than in years.
As we move toward a full recovery in the economy, the same elements that caused the spike in real estate and construction will return: limited supply of fossil fuels, competition for resources from emerging nations, the desire to live in communities with good school systems and bucolic settings. The price to buy, build and renovate will begin to rise on a daily basis as it did for the last 10 years.

The images shown are the before and after photos of a house our clients bought a few years ago on a great site in a wonderful neighborhood and with a leap of faith imagined a home they could love.