Published at Thursday, April 11th, 2019 - 10:46:41 AM. Home Decoration. By Adette Brandt.
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.”
Home layouts can also be optimized so animals can comfortably hang out with their human owners. Spring Creek Designs Smutko found that she and her husband were constantly needing to walk around their 60-pound German shepherd, Tess, in the kitchen. When the firm redesigned the room, she requested a larger aisle between the work island and sink. “We wanted Tess to be with us, but without being stepped on,” she says. She selected a hard quarter-sawn floor that would withstand Tesss claws. Technology and internet-enabled products can also help. Smart cameras and lights allow homeowners to keep tabs on pets and ensure theyre comfortable when alone in the house. New electronic collars can activate pet doors so that homes remain secure. Winter Park, Fla., architect, builder, and licensed interior designer Phil Kean incorporated that technology when he designed the New American Home in conjunction with the National Association of Home Builders. He also used an artificial turf called K9Grass that is designed specifically for dogs and eliminates the challenge of muddy paws and dead spots on the lawn.
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