In the June 7th issue of the Wall Street Journal, there was an article that caught my eye. "Ireland's Neglected Georgian Gems." Merritt Bucholz, an American architect, living in Dublin, is slowly restoring a Georgian, five-story house, in a not-so-nice neighborhood on the edge of Limerick's Georgian quarter.
Original Georgian architecture, classically inspired, built during the 18th century, primarily, features a boxy style, symmetrical exterior, paneled front door topped by an elaborate crown top, chimneys on both sides, and multi-paned windows, never paired. There are many versions and many row houses built with the same characteristics. A beautiful example here in the United States is the Westover Plantation, built in 1730 by William Byrd, founder of Richmond, Virginia. The wings of the home were added much later, but you can see the classical Georgian style in the main house.
Limerick was an 18th-century boom town but has not been included in Ireland's recent booms, although the residents of Limerick are doing what they can to restore some of the Georgian homes. Mr. Bucholz spends one night a week in Limerick where he is the head of the architecture department at the University of Limerick. He bought his Georgian home (not the one pictured here, of course) for $288,000 and so far the restoration has cost him another quarter of a million. The house was gutted almost totally from the inside as he began with the original bricks. "I think of these old buildings as organic things, slowly becoming part of nature." It does not bother him if cracks appear after reconstruction, as he says the house has to resettle and come together. His goal is not to create a perfect home but to re-create the essence of the structure. To appreciate a building that is 300 years old is not for the faint-hearted and takes a certain amount of courage, vision and patience.
|Westover Plantation, 1730, Richmond, VA. Stephen Lea.|