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On the road again. . .

On the road again. . .

Historic Perservation, News
How do historic homes become abandoned? When circumstances unexpectedly changed last month, my husband Bruce and I had no choice but to leave our beloved home in the delightful historic East Hills neighborhood of Grand Rapids MI.  Rather than face the drudgery of finding a new home right away, we put our belongings in storage (once again) and hit the road.  We headed south for warmer weather, only barely escaping the frigid cold of Michigan that was beginning to creep in. On our road trips we always make it our mission to take off-the-main-road excursions from time to time and we are never disappointed.  Driving down Michigan and then into Ohio, besides enjoying the lovely countryside and the beauty of summer turning into fall, I could not help but notice the ever-growing…
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Honoring our Veterans

Honoring our Veterans

House Portraits, News
Grateful to those who served. . . Today is Veterans Day and I would like to show my support for our troops through this painting. The yellow ribbons are to thank them for their service and to let them know we appreciate them. On this day we honor our veterans, who fought for our freedoms and risked their lives in doing so. Veterans Day pays tribute to all American veterans—living or deceased—but most importantly, it is a day to give thanks to living veterans who honorably served their country during war or peacetime. There are over 20 million veterans in this country. Sadly, many veterans get lost in “the system”, struggle to adapt to regular life or become homeless once they get back from their service. We should all strive…
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Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween!

News
Look out for the trick and treaters and have fun with your family! [caption id="attachment_27025" align="aligncenter" width="2560"] It's a Halloween family affair[/caption] Here's a spooky Halloween drawing I created for the kids (and big kids too) to test your coloring skills. Cheers, Leisa
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A New Definition of Fixer Upper?

A New Definition of Fixer Upper?

Historic Perservation, News
With so many beautiful historic homes being demolished today, last week I received some wonderful news from one of my clients who lives in Rockville, MD.  Jennifer excitedly told me that after overcoming many obstacles, her and her husband, Lee, had just purchased a 137 year old Victorian mansion . . . but, she added, it needed a LOT of work. That was indeed an understatement!  I found out that Jennifer and Lee had just purchased the Winderbourne, an amazing Queen Anne-style mansion that sits on nine acres and overlooks Little Seneca Lake in Boyds, MD. The home sat empty for many years and the wooden boards, beams and shingles became a canvas for vandals. [caption id="attachment_26967" align="aligncenter" width="500"] Lee Levin stands in front of the 1884 Winderbourne House, his…
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Chicago:  Destroying its Architectural Heritage with Abandon!

Chicago: Destroying its Architectural Heritage with Abandon!

Historic Perservation, News
1886 Georgian Beauty Becomes New Target of the Wrecking Ball! On this day, 150 years ago, Chicago residents were recovering from the Great Chicago Fire. It raged from Oct 8 - 10, 1871, leaving a mass of molding rubble and destruction. The deadly fire killed 300 people and destroyed roughly 3.3 square miles of the inner city. A total of 17,500 buildings were lost and more than 100,000 residents were left homeless.  In true Chicago style, the city rallied its forces and rebuilt. . . this time mainly in brick and stone and other sturdy structures. The buildings were unique, well designed and meant to last. Who would have thought that a century and a half later, these beautiful old buildings would be facing a new threat of extinction. .…
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Urban Warfare:  Another Beloved Historic Beauty Destroyed by the Wrecking Ball

Urban Warfare: Another Beloved Historic Beauty Destroyed by the Wrecking Ball

Historic Perservation, News
This is how this historic Tudor looked when they tore it down! This story makes my blood boil.  A truly magnificent 1927 architectural showplace designed by architects Henry Knauer & Clarence Smale, was one of the original design showcase homes of the prominent Hancock Park neighborhood in Los Angeles CA.  Built of superior quality materials and close to a century old, this unique home was well loved and maintained and likely to last another 100 years or more.  The new owners spent 2.3 million to buy the house and property and agreed at the time they would not tear it down. In 2020, they cold-heartedly oversaw the demise of this stunning architectural art form. [caption id="attachment_26557" align="aligncenter" width="1020"] Built 1927, this historic Tudor style home has occupied a corner lot…
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Latest Historic Preservation Award – Grand Rapids MI

Latest Historic Preservation Award – Grand Rapids MI

Leisa Collins Historic Preservation Award, News
Historic Preservation Heroes: Tom and Sue Leonard My latest Historic Preservation Award goes to a Grand Rapids couple who saved their beautiful Queen Ann home from decay and potential demolition.  Built in 1883, it also happens to be the home that graces the cover of my book, Hand Painted Homes: An Artist's Pen and Watercolor Journey Across America. I established the Leisa Collins Historic Preservation Award in 2013 and have presenting the award to outstanding individuals around the country who save beautiful historic structures from the wrecking ball and bring them back to life. The award is an original painting of the saved project. However, when I chose this home for my cover, I had no idea of the heartwarming story behind the restoration of 231 James St SE. It…
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Del Ray Neighborhood in Alexandria VA House Portrait Collection

Del Ray Neighborhood in Alexandria VA House Portrait Collection

News
Del Ray: Where Main Street Still Exists Another charming and historic neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia where we spent a lot of time is The Del Ray area. It was a quick bike ride from where we lived in Old Town and quickly became one of our favorite spots. The area is host to an endless array of bungalow homes in every size, color and form. Nearly every bungalow has a sizable front porch and in warmer weather there are always people sitting on them. It is common to be invited--even as a perfect stranger --onto a porch for a chat. In Del Ray, kids still play baseball on the streets. The history of Del Ray neighborhood began in the early 19th century.  In 1894 rail lines started to be laid…
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