Published at Monday, April 01st, 2019 - 06:15:47 AM. Home Decoration. By Aili Otto.
But paring down isnt for everyone. Many of the 400 amateur gardeners who open their colorful, quirky, original gardens in Buffalo, N.Y.s annual Garden Walk Buffalo weekend event each July disregard the simplicity mantra. Graphic designer Jim Charlier, who participates yearly, recently co-authored the book Buffalo-Style Gardens (St. Lynns Press, 2019) with garden writer Sally Cunningham. He designed his small garden for eating and entertaining, planted a collection of climbing plants to block neighboring homes, and built a green potting shed that mimics his 1897 green Dutch Colonial-style home to hold tools. The pedigree of a garden featured on the 25-year-old tour—the largest of its type in the country—definitely helps to sell homes, Charlier says.
Spindler is active in local preservationist and historic groups. But perhaps the most important connection she can make is with a capable contractor. While the exteriors of many San Francisco Victorians are protected by historic preservation ordinances, the interiors are generally not. Electricians and plumbers often suggest that the only way to update a Victorian is to tear out original walls. But Spindler knows it can be less expensive to drop pipes and other infrastructure straight through the homes balloon framing or to wire electrical lines through an attic than to tear out valuable, original plaster work. “The crazy things that people do to these poor old houses. The walls never look the same,” Spindler laments. She compares the work of contractors who skillfully retain old Victorian walls to that of arthroscopic surgeons, who use fiber optic technology and video cameras to avoid open surgery: “Its better for the patient in the long run.” While Spindler is glad to see more young people interested in historic homes, she acknowledges her niche is limited by the number of Victorians in her market, estimated to be around 7,500 single-family homes. “Its not a lot, and we lose more every year,” she says. “Theyre not making any more of them, obviously.”
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