know your house

Voluntary historic preservation design guidelines originally developed for homes in Virginia Manor have been expanded to apply to all homes in Mt. Lebanon.

By the end of this month, Mt. Lebanon homeowners who want to preserve and enhance the historic character and value of their homes will have a new online resource specific to this community.

The historic preservation board has been working all year with consultant Nicole Kubas, an architect and preservationist, to come up with voluntary online guidelines. Board members Yvette Yescas and John Evans have taken the lead on the project.

The guide is intended to help homeowners identify significant features that define the style of their home; understand how those features can be preserved or restored sensitively as the house ages and is adapted to a modern lifestyle; and see examples of repairs, additions or changes that detract from the particular style of a home. There are sections on roofs, windows, masonry, energy efficiency and sustainability, garages, doors, woodwork, lighting, chimneys and porches.

Many of the houses and architectural details of the Tudor, Colonial Revival, Bungalow, Foursquare, Dutch Colonial, French Provincial eclectic houses will look familiar to residents, as pictures of real Mt. Lebanon houses were used as good examples. 

A glossary of architectural terms, examples of appropriate and inappropriate changes made to historic homes, an overview of how landscape should integrate with architecture and a review of the sorts of routine maintenance necessary to preserve a home’s value also are included.

The new guide is an extension of the voluntary design guidelines prepared specifically for Virginia Manor several years ago. 

“Once the Virginia Manor guidelines were completed, it became evident that they could be expanded to be useful to owners of the 4,400 properties in our National Register Historic District,” says Susan Morgans, staff liaison to the historic preservation board for both projects. “Now that the guide is nearly complete, it is also clear that it will be helpful to most any Mt. Lebanon homeowner, regardless of where their home is located.”

Photography: Elizabeth Hruby McCabe, Diana DeBerardino