Monday, August 20, 2012
Ranches are growing up
From SI Live:
Those one-story Colonial ranch-style houses that many a Baby Boomer called home while growing up are getting make-overs in neighborhoods throughout Staten Island.
A quick drive through several East Shore neighborhoods, including portions of South Beach, Dongan Hills, Grasmere, Arrochar, Grant City, New Dorp and Richmond, finds increasing numbers of these shingle, siding and brick-covered ranch-style homes -- most of them built during the period from the late 1950s to mid-1960s -- either have been, or are in the process of being "topped off" with second floors and/or extensions. In some cases, these houses have been leveled to the foundation and rebuilt from the foundation up, to twice their original size.
A check of Department of Buildings (DOB) records confirms the observation, with permit requests and plans on file for "major alterations and enlargements" at more than a dozen addresses on the East Shore since April and dozens more that were filed over the last 18 months.
Rosebank architect Anselemo (Sal) Genovese, president of the Staten Island chapter of the American Institute of Architects, the professional organization representing more than 50 accredited architects in the borough, said Island architects are getting more requests for design of residential alterations and enlargements, than for new construction.
Some long-time residents say the bigger homes are out of context with the neighborhood, with the larger two-story homes towering over existing one-story structures on the neat blocks. Other residents see the trend as an improvement.
Some residents worry the trend toward larger houses will devalue their own property. "It makes my house look smaller. Who is going to want to buy my house, except to tear it up and make it bigger?" wondered one homeowner, whose well-kept ranch was left sandwiched between two houses that had gone to two floors and now tower over his roof.