Residents who want to learn more about the architecture of their homes and make appropriate decisions about maintaining or updating their properties have a great new resource. The Mt. Lebanon Design Guide: Suggestions for Maintaining and Enhancing the Value of your Historic Home is now online at www.mtlebanon.org/designguide.
The 50-page guide, illustrated primarily with pictures taken here in Mt. Lebanon, is a project of the Mt. Lebanon Historic Preservation Board. It is specifically directed to the 4,300-plus homes in Mt. Lebanon’s National Register Historic District; however, the styles represented and the suggestions made for maintaining design integrity and building value apply to homes scattered all over Mt. Lebanon.
Mt. Lebanon’s historic district, designated in 2014, encompasses houses built before 1945, many of them colonials, Tudor revivals, American Foursquares, French provincials and Craftsman bungalows. The design guide defines and discusses these styles but also includes sections on more modern architecture such as ranches, split levels and post-war traditionals.
The guidelines were developed with the help of consultant Nicole Kubas, an architect and a preservationist. The project is an extension of an effort to create a local historic district for Virginia Manor. In 2015, the municipal commission paid a consultant to develop design guidelines for that neighborhood but ultimately decided against enacting an ordinance that would have made the guidelines mandatory. The historic preservation board retooled the Virginia Manor concept and created a user-friendly online document that will benefit the entire community.
The guidelines may be viewed in PDF or flipbook format (meaning you can turn the pages just as with a book). The table of contents links to specific sections, making it easy to find things. In addition to chapters that define the significant features of various architectural styles, there are sections on exterior maintenance, energy efficiency and sustainability, windows, doors, masonry and stone, woodwork, roofs, chimneys, porches, lighting, additions and new construction, site features and landscaping. A glossary clearly defines the terminology.
“We are very excited to present these voluntary guidelines to the community,” says Public Information Officer Susan Morgans, who worked with Kubas and historic preservation board representatives Yvette Yescas and John Evans on the project. “In addition to providing high-quality free professional advice to our residents, we think the guide will be welcomed by architects, real estate agents, contractors, landscapers—anyone who recognizes the character that Mt. Lebanon’s eclectic historic architecture brings to our community.”