By Anessa Cohen
In the 1960s and 70s, old was out and new was in. Magnificent structures that cannot be replicated today—such as Penn Station, for one—were demolished and the land prepped for the more modern construction of the day, which took on many forms.
For the most part, the buildings that replaced those intricately detailed structures were not warming to the eye; many of them were reminiscent of someone playing the piano and hitting all the wrong notes—just awful—but up they went anyway.
Today, people realize what a great mistake it was to destroy all those amazing properties, as opposed to renovating and refurbishing them but retaining the old detailing and historical magnificence, craftsmanship that is irreplaceable today.
Here in the Five Towns we can relate in a smaller fashion. In the 1970s and 80s, those beautiful homes that were built in the last century were viewed as “white elephants.”
Homebuyers looking to purchase a house would run as fast as they could away from these homes, seeing them only as a money pit waiting to gobble them up.
Today, we have seen a complete turnaround in homebuyers looking to purchase a historical home and restore it to its original elegance. Buyers are actually hiring home-restoration specialists and having them work on the intricate detailing that typically is involved in restoring these homes.
Restoration work does not come with an economical price tag. It is expensive and must be done by specialized contractors who are familiar with working with the woods and other special materials that were used to build homes in the 1800s, which are no longer being used or, in many cases, are not even available for purchase today.
One of the more interesting subjects to come up recently is the trend towards restoration of the old windows found in these old homes. The one rule of thumb in the past, even when doing restoration work, was that old windows were out and good replacement thermal windows were in, with an eye towards energy conservation as well as a desire to get rid of the old wood frames and the pane glass windows.
Today you will find all kinds of self-help as well as encouragement from restoration specialists trumpeting the benefits of retaining those old windows but restoring them to modern use. I understand that there was even an energy bill that was sent to the Senate that would provide tax benefits to homeowners renovating old windows but making them energy-efficient at the same time.
If you decide to refurbish those old windows, take the time to look online for some suggestions on how to restore them properly. Although painting the wood is quite simple, you should also check the old paint to see if it contains lead paint, and, if so, make sure it is completely removed, taking care to remove all the old caulk and repair any spots that have become old with age.
It reminds me of the old line: “They just don’t make them like they used to!”
Anessa Cohen lives in Cedarhurst and is a licensed real-estate broker (Anessa V Cohen Realty) and a licensed N.Y.S. loan officer (FM Home Loans) with over 20 years of experience offering full-service residential, commercial, and management real-estate services as well as mortgage services. She can be reached at 516-569-5007 or via her website, www.AVCrealty.com. Readers are encouraged to send questions or comments to anessa@AVCrealty.com. Read more of Anessa Cohen’s articles at 5TJT.com.