We walked along in the cold morning air-- George the dog needed to stretch his legs and take care of a few things before all of us were to start our busy day.
My cousin took a route along the streets of her hometown that George was certainly familiar with, but one that was totally new and full of wonder for me.
I had a long drive ahead of me that day (returning home to Philadelphia), and starting my morning taking in so many beautiful houses--some in good condition, some under construction, some in complete disrepair, but all retaining most of the original architectural detail from the Victorian Era--was such an inspiration.
You see, historic buildings are often the victim of updates over the years that are less than sensitive to their original design aesthetic. Many well-meaning people renovate these old structures, removing elements that are of higher quality than you could get today (unless you are willing to have something custom-made by a craftsman) and replacing them with inferior components that are mass-produced using lesser materials.
Sadly, in this process, the character of the house is altered or lost entirely.
This pox that has marred many a quaint old building is known as remuddling.
Remuddling is defined as misguided remodeling-that is, an alteration that is insensitive to the architecture or character of the house. (Image and definition compliments of Old House Journal.)
When a city or town understands and honors the history of its buildings, stunning, one-of-a-kind neighborhoods rich with character are the result--as is the case, thankfully, in Providence, Rhode Island, where we were enjoying our morning walk with George the bulldog.
This building below, even though it has stood vacant for some time, was saved by the city which recognized its architectural value.
I am so happy to say that this structure is in the process of being renovated and will be put to innovative new use.
Turns out this house, originally built in 1875 & known to locals as Barnaby Castle, has quite the history--even including a murder! You can read more about it here. :)
These buildings feel like old friends to me, and I am so grateful to all those whom have taken the time and effort to preserve them so that we all can enjoy them for years to come.