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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Favorite 2021 Summer Home and Garden House Portraits

Favorite 2021 Summer Home and Garden House Portraits

House Portraits, News
Summer Garden Dreams and Home Memories Over the last week I have noticed golden edges forming on the leaves of trees outside my studio window here in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The occasional yellow leaf has flittered by, catching the sun on its descent and the air has a new and distinct crispness.  Before the summer slips through our fingers and disappears completely, I thought I would share with you some of my favorite summer portraits of 2021 for your enjoyment. Nothing enhances a home portrait more than the gardens of summer. Whether behind a manicured lawn, framed with shade trees, or covered in pots of flowers, the color and vibrance of summer bring a special magic to any home. Even in the city,  the tree-lined sidewalks and pocket gardens give…
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House Portrait Collection of Old Town Alexandria VA

House Portrait Collection of Old Town Alexandria VA

House Portraits, News
Old Town Alexandria  . . .  my artistic beginnings I have great affection and nostalgia for Old Town Alexandria.  It is where I launched my art career 11 years ago and I loved being part of the community and was honored to serve on the board of the Alexandria Arts Commission. Old Town Alexandria is a walkable historic district in the heart of the city of Alexandria, just south of Washington, D.C. Founded in 1749 when Alexandria was a thriving tobacco port in a British colony, it is renowned as George Washington’s hometown (his Mount Vernon estate is located just a few miles away) and still has a wide array of pre-Revolutionary War houses. The main historic styles found in Old Town Alexandria are Georgian, Federal, Victorian, Second Empire and…
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Old Town Alexandria street scene prints now available!

Old Town Alexandria street scene prints now available!

News
Old Town Alexandria  . . .  Where my journey began In 2009, my husband and I left California and embarked on a road trip across America to find a new place to settle. When we were near Washington D.C., we took a wrong turn and found ourselves in an enchanting historic district called Old Town Alexandria. It was love at  first sight and we both agreed immediately that it would be our new home. The third floor of the 1789 Federal style building (left) is where we lived and I had my studio. My passion was always historic architecture and Old Town proved to be the perfect spot to re-launch my art career. We lived in Old Town Alexandria for some years and I will always have a special attachment…
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Why I love historic homes. . .

Why I love historic homes. . .

Historic Perservation, House Portraits, News
Touring a Historic Tudor Home A few days ago I delivered a house portrait II had just finished to Linda and Jim, the owners of a charming brick Tudor cottage in the Heritage Hill neighborhood of Grand Rapids, Michigan.  Heritage Hill is listed on the National Register of Historic Places for its abundance of large Victorian houses.  My clients were most gracious and asked if I would like the “grand tour” of their home. “Well of course!” I replied. The experience reminded me just why I love historic homes so much. As I have always said, architecture is about people, and every home with history has a story. The moment I entered their Tudor abode I could sense almost a 100 years of memories  embedded in its walls. I thought…
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Newsflash! New podcast appearance

Newsflash! New podcast appearance

News
I’m thrilled to share with you all that I was a guest on The Living Artist podcast with Preston M. Smith, and the episode went live today! If you haven’t yet caught this terrific podcast, I highly recommend it. Preston is such a good host — so grounded and genuine — an absolute joy to speak with. The Living Artist was ranked #7 on the “Top 30 Art Podcasts You Must Follow in 2021” list on Feedspot and for very good reason. It was a treat to have a chat with a fellow artist and discuss what it means to thrive as a creative voice in the art world. I really enjoyed our conversation and I hope you will, too! Listen: Apple Podcasts: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/interview-with-leisa-collins/id1502469424?i=1000529480316 Anchor: https://anchor.fm/pmsartwork/episodes/Interview-with-Leisa-Collins-e14neg1/a-a6619gi The Living Artist Website:…
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