Building a New House With Character(s)

One Woman’s Journey to Bring Old House Charm to a New Build
By guest writer: Lisa Knoop (Follow Lisa on Twitter @peaceloveknoop)

Part One: Sketching it Out

I met my husband on a blind date. I think that’s important to know about me because I have found that I meet the most interesting people when I don’t pre-screen them. Of course, I am not a complete daredevil. I do require a controlled environment – school, sport, work. For the past two years, my control group designed and built our house. I have never lived in a new house before. I was worried that I would miss the spirit that an old house has. And then I got to know the people who built my house, and I wasn’t worried about spirit anymore. Turns out, they have plenty.

Finding our Architect. Oh, where to start. In one of my first meetings with our architect, he told me that he was having new shrubs planted on the side of his front yard because his neighbor had complained about him walking out front to get the paper nude. Who better to design a house. The guy is brilliant, our house is designed perfectly for us. But the fact that he would plant shrubs instead of putting pants on makes me want to have dinner and a glass of wine – or two — with him.


Finding a Designer. I really didn’t want a designer. I have done countless renovations on old houses over the years and thought a designer would be suffocating. I arranged a meeting with one because my homebuilder suggested that building a custom house was more of a design challenge than a renovation. And when I met her she told me that I didn’t need her and I shouldn’t hire her. Well, now I liked her. Lucky for me, she offered advice when I needed it, and instead of rolling her eyes when the master bath sinks ended up a little high, she said, “Wear heels. Your husband might like that.” While I fretted over every detail, she wrote a book, created television concepts, and arranged to have my past lives read by an Akashic Reader. (I was a high priestess.) I could not have scripted her better. If we were on for house building, we would be in a commercial.


Part Two – Coloring It In
Stay tuned as the cast grows when we move from the drafting table to the empty lot and our dream gets a foundation.

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