This article by Dale Hrabi in the Wall Street Journal called to mind my dear old neighborhood in D.C. and our friends the van der Taks (three sons, Steven, Derek and Laurens, whose ages closely matched those of me and my two brothers). Their marvelous old Sears Catalog house was up a few doors from our modest semi-detached house on Rodman Street, next to woods we used to play in, called Melvin C. Hazen Park, an offshoot of Rock Creek Park. Steven and his wife Merran live in a vernacular country house they built on the coast of Portugal.
Russell Versaci and others are making available today charming period houses with interiors modeled for today’s lifestyles. He and I met for breakfast a few years ago at the Biltmore in Providence, and I wrote two reviews of his books, which I’ll post separately as “blasts from the past.” (You can go to russellversaci.com and get PDFs of them, if you have the patience.) At the time, Versaci said he was contemplating a move into “authentic” prefab houses, which would satsify a market for old houses that was often frustrating to potential buyers because so many require extensive renovation or, having had it, are quite expensive. This WSJ article, sent to me by David Andreozzi, reveals that Versaci has made the plunge, along with others.