What does this mean for our impending remodeling work in Lockland Springs neighborhood? It means we're having to make some concessions to the Commission. Please trust: We're not complaining. We adore historic homes and the efforts to preserve them; we've just found some of the guidelines perplexing and challenging to work around, as we've been revising our initial vision for the house. First off, though we're turning this home from a duplex into a single-family residence, we're required by the Commission to leave both of the front doors on the home. (We'll install drywall behind one of these doors, leaving it for appearances only.) We're also going to have to leave that weird jagged rock planter that borders the front porch (see above photo). And the original fireplace that we'd rather demo will have to remain in place, though it's not in a particularly practical location.
The Metro Historic Zoning Commission explains, "Historic zoning is a tool to protect the architectural character of Nashville’s historic neighborhoods by managing growth and change ... Neighborhoods in more than two thousand towns in the United States use historic overlays as a tool to protect their unique architectural character."
The Commission is most protective of the exterior of a home, particularly the front exterior or any portion of the home "visible from public rights-of-way." Of particular concern to the Commission are characteristics of new construction or additions such as height, scale, setback and rhythm of spacing, relationship of materials, textures, details and material colors, roof shape, orientation, proportion and rhythm of openings. (In other words, pretty much everything pertaining to the exterior.)
Why so picky about these details? Says the Commission, "There are quantifiable reasons for historic zoning: neighborhoods have greater control over development; stabilizes property values; decreases the risk of investing in one’s house; promotes heritage tourism; protects viable urban housing stock; preserves natural resources by conserving building materials. There are less quantifiable, but equally important, reasons for historic zoning: it protects our past for future generations, it nurtures a sense of community, and it provides a sense of
place. Most property owners desire a historic zoning overlay because it maintains property
value and protects investment."
We look forward to working around these guidelines and can't wait to show you what we come up with. (See floor plans below.) For now, the house is still looking pretty desolate, but we're fixin' to take her from damsel-in-distress to completely divine. We know the Commission will approve.