The This Old House Project – A Source of Inspiration and a Tool for Home Owners and Builders

House project

In an effort to encourage sustainable housing and address issues of affordability and sustainability, the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art (SECCA) launched a multi-year design initiative known as the HOME House Project. This project challenged architects and designers to envision a world where environmentally friendly and sustainable housing is the norm.

The HOME House Project began with an open competition that drew 440 entries from six countries. The entries included essays, sketches, photographs, and house plans. As a result, the project has become a source of inspiration and a tool for home owners and builders alike.

Using a reduced palette of materials, the project addresses the challenge of creating energy-efficient and durable homes. While the building program is divided into passive and active zones on the first floor, the largest windows are oriented to the garden. Because of its location, the building is oriented to take advantage of its site and to maximize its use of solar power.

The project is now incorporated as a nonprofit organization. Since its launch, the Wooden House Project has provided a wealth of resources to both owners and builders of wooden houses in Brooklyn. It features homes that provide a glimpse of what might be under the vinyl siding or the rusted iron, and provides a resource for homeowners and potential builders to learn more about the construction process.

In the past two years, the This Old House crew has renovated an 1815 Colonial Revival home in Newton Centre, Massachusetts and a 1915 Dutch Colonial Revival home in Lexington, Massachusetts. They also tackled an attic makeover and kitchen renovation. And in September, the crew will visit Silver Lake, California and New Orleans, Louisiana to renovate a foreclosed Second Empire house.

For a project like this, it is vital to have a design team that is willing to look at the space as it exists today and as it will exist in the future. Many times, a house that is not designed for its existing context is just ugly. A designer can create a space that will allow for optimal functions and spaciousness.

One of the most popular home renovation shows on television, This Old House, travels to a number of states to renovate a variety of historic buildings. Each episode showcases one of the team’s projects. With a passion for old-style homes and a knack for rehabbing, the crew tackles an array of challenges. From remodeling a basement to rebuilding an attic after a fire, the team uses unique construction methods to renovate a century-old barn and a nineteenth-century Craftsman bungalow.

After an unprecedented storm in New Orleans, the team was on the ground in the Lower Ninth Ward to help flood-damaged shotgun singles return to their homes. This family had been living in their home since the 1970s, but had no electrical or bathroom on the second floor. Fortunately, a nonprofit was able to work with the family to make the repairs necessary to restore their home. Despite the challenges, the family is on track for success.