OLD HOUSES ARE BETTER THAN ICE CREAM. MEET TEAM CIRCA.
Elizabeth is the founder of CIRCA and a self-proclaimed old house junkie. Born in an 1850s Greek Revival home that was lovingly restored by her parents (and having been “dragged” to more country auctions than she can count), Elizabeth’s love for crown molding and decorative ironwork runs in her gene pool. After high school, she left the quiet of the countryside for the bright lights of the big city to entrench herself in New York’s great history and architecture.
With a graduate degree in Historic Preservation, Elizabeth has worked tirelessly for the cause in the field of advocacy, most recently as a private historic research consultant and writer. Elizabeth, her husband Ethan and their beagle Banjo fantasize simultaneously about owning a Brooklyn brownstone and buying a big, old farmhouse somewhere far, far away. In the meantime, CIRCA Old Houses keeps them dreaming. Read Elizabeth’s weekly column over at Country Living Magazine
, where she features some her favorite old houses for sale.
Right: Elizabeth’s mother in front of her house when she first bought it over 30 years ago.
Cristiana is CIRCA Old Houses’ social media butterfly. A Midwest transplant, she traded the prairies of South Dakota for the architecture of New York City and the history of the East Coast. Cristiana studied Art History, with an emphasis in Architectural History, at Penn State and later received her Masters in Historic Preservation from Columbia University. By day, she advocates for New York City’s historic neighborhoods as a voice for community preservation campaigns. By night, she freelances in new media projects, lending her expertise in leveraging the social web to broadcast an organization’s message.
Alix is CIRCA’s Properties Manager and hails from Charleston, South Carolina. She earned degrees in Historic Preservation and Art History from the College of Charleston and continues to be captivated by the city’s old-world values and architecture as they brush up against the new. Having interned with organizations including the Preservation Society of Charleston and the Medical University of South Carolina’s special collection and rare book library The Waring, she’s currently forging a career in non-profit management aboard the WWII aircraft carrier museum Yorktown in the Charleston Harbor — not a bad view for her first real office! She lives in an 1890 Charleston Single with her Sheltie Oliver and prefers to make the commute on her shiny red bike.
Born and raised in the Great White North, Alex is CIRCA’s feet on the ground in Canada, responsible for managing Canadian content. Originally from Toronto, Alex studied architectural history before relocating to New York City, where he received his Masters in Historic Preservation from Columbia University – not to mention a crash-course in the wonderful world of American preservation! After a short few years in New York, Alex brought lessons learned and new ideas back to Canada, where he currently works for a heritage architecture firm restoring buildings and preserving neighbourhoods across the country. When he’s not perusing listings for rustic log cabins or quaint farmhouses, you can find Alex running through Toronto’s heritage districts, or spending weekends up north at the lakeside cottage.
Lauren was introduced to the world of old houses, flea markets and antiquing at a very young age courtesy of her grandmother, Marguerite. An original “picker”, Marguerite’s unique style forged Lauren’s obsession with antiques and vintage finds. After a successful corporate marketing career in Boston, Lauren followed her heart back to the Brandywine Valley to focus on her passion for bringing new life to timeless curated objects. In 2015, Lauren opened HedgeApple Antiques
in the heart of historic New Castle, DE, with a mission of sharing fun, unique, and accessible vintage home décor with a wide audience.
Lauren’s favorite old house style?
Federal, Victorian and the occasional New England Saltbox! Her dream house would have secret passageways, stained-glass windows, and fireplaces galore.
Right: A charming home in Old New Castle, DE that Lauren adores!
Amanda was swept into the world of historic houses from the very beginning when she spent her first years in Levittown, New York. Whether through watching old movies, researching her family history, or collecting vintage sewing patterns, she’s always been fond of the past. The beautiful grounds of the University of Virginia inspired her to major
in Architectural History, and she could often be found exploring the old brick houses of “Thomas Jefferson Country.” After receiving a master’s degree in Historic Preservation at Columbia University, she has worked primarily as an architectural historian and surveyor of historic neighborhoods on the East and West Coasts. As a contributor to CIRCA’s Magazine, Amanda loves the excuse to travel the country one historic house at a time and to discover the regional charms of each new place, both near and far away.
Left: Amanda’s grandfather in front of his original Levittown house, circa 1950!
Taylor Speer-Sims grew up on a small farm in Milan Michigan to working-class parents. Both her grandparents lived in old houses, and she loved to spend the night and dream of living there in the glory days of the past, especially for wealthy parents who gave her every type of “modern” item that she wanted. Modern in that sense was modern for the day that the house was built, and not the time that she was actually living! Her grandmothers taught her how to cook on wood stoves, wash clothes in a wring-washer, and sew on a pedal sewing machine, which made her dream even more.
Taylor’s love of old houses and grand estates is the perfect background for her new company, Countess Estates Management Services, where she will be working with busy homeowners of historic properties to help them enjoy their home and leave the worry and mundane to her and her expertise. Taylor is very excited to be working on a column on Southern Regional Homes for CIRCA!
You can learn more on how to manage your property on Taylor’s website.
Right: Taylor holds the crown for being the only member of Team CIRCA to have an ancestral castle! Read all about it HERE.
Theresa Cacace is our resident blogger for the Victorian Envy column. Currently living in Southern California, she is a self-proclaimed Sociocultural Anthropologist and Classic Cinephile with a passion for the eras of late 1800s to 1950s. She loves all things vintage and historical, and it shows in her work. Theresa runs the Facebook page Vintage Wonderlust
, which has over 23,000 followers, and was thrilled with the opportunity to join the CIRCA team as she shares a passion for older homes and quality craftsmanship. With a degree in communications, she is a social media junkie who thrives on networking with other like-minded people. Like many introverts in the digital age, the internet has blessed her with the ability to connect with people across the globe with similar interests.
When not at her day job, Theresa loves to attend film festivals, browse museums, tour Victorian homes, and also frequents the Art Deco of Society of Los Angeles events. Her dusty love is so strong that she feels it is her calling to share all she finds with anyone who shares her interest. Someday, she hopes to own a beautiful Queen Anne style Victorian and use it commercially to share the stunningly beautiful architecture with the masses.
Left: One of Theresa’s local favorites, the c. 1890 “The Moray Mansion” located in Redlands, California.
Hänsel Hernández-Navarro is an architectural conservator specializing in the preservation and rehabilitation of historic buildings and monuments, and cultural resource management. He received his Masters in Historic Preservation from Columbia University. He lives in New York City and has worked for the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission, the Getty Conservation Institute, the National Park Service, The American Academy in Rome, and the Museum of the City of New York.
As CIRCA’s resident old house restoration expert, Candi has lived her whole life in fixer-uppers. Coming from a family in the construction business, there was always a project going on at her house, and as a small child she can remember hanging out in the shop and riding shotgun in her Dad’s truck to visit job sites. Her love for old houses stems from her childhood in Doniphan MO, where there is an old house on every corner and the roots of her family tree run deep. After high school she attended Three Rivers College, where she majored in business, and just recently returned to manage her father’s company, BARCO Construction and Design
Since becoming involved in the construction business, Candi has been elected to the board of the Doniphan Neighborhood Assistance Program and has worked closely with the City of Doniphan Historic Preservation Commission, documenting the city’s historic downtown buildings. When not working, Candi devotes most of her spare time to restoring her 1920s cottage-style bungalow that she shares with her husband Jake and their two dogs Rowdy and Mac.
Left: Candi & her husband Jake are restoring an adorable 1920s cottage-style bungalow!
Rachael Meyerink resides in Sioux Falls, SD and is a Midwestern girl, born and raised. To her, “home” feels like sun shining through windows paned in wavy glass, an extra sweater on cold winter days and a window fan humming in the background in the heat of summer. In short: home feels like an old house. She and her husband have owned three such houses in their 15 years together- a 1923 American Foursquare, a 1960s ranch and finally, an 1889 Queen Anne listed on the National Register of Historic Places. By day she works as a pediatric dietitian, and on nights and weekends, rehabs her old house with her husband. Her three children, yellow lab, ginger cat and five chickens complete their family. She keeps an online journal of her old house rehab adventures at myqueenanne.wordpress.com
A contributor to CIRCA’s Magazine, Shannon Lee has a soft spot for fixer-uppers that need a helping hand. Over the past two decades she has written about home improvement challenges and victories in blogs, articles, books and more. Though she has loved her share of old houses, today she and her family are finally settled into their dream home deep in the Pennsylvania woods, a place they call Marvel Hill.
Annilee Waterman is a Texas Registered Interior Designer, and old house enthusiast. She lives just outside of Dallas Texas, and specializes in restoring and renovating old houses, designing historic reconstruction, and adding character to new homes through architectural detail and decor. Inspired by beautifully restored and perfectly maintained historic places, she loves fixer uppers and diamonds in the rough.
She’s had a lifelong love of all things creative and artistic. Her passion for vintage started in college when she discovered her first vintage clothing shop. She soon discovered antique architecture and furnishings while working on her first movie, which was set in the 1920’s.
Her career has evolved over time. In her 20 years of experience, she has been an art teacher, floral designer, visual merchandiser, graphic designer, movie set decorator and for the last 13 years, an interior designer. During this time she developed a deep appreciation for authenticity in design. She loves harmony, balance & tradition layered with modern function and a splash of color and personality. In addition to interiors, she designs new homes from the ground up with historically accurate exteriors, modern floor plans and traditional detailing.
As the Vice Chair of the Wylie Historic Review Commission from 2014-2016, she helped owners in the Historic District with construction and renovation plans. During her term, she also worked to expand the district and write a new draft for the preservation ordinance. In Fort Worth, one of her newly built, original historic reconstruction homes was featured on the 2014 Tour of Homes in Fairmount Southside Historic District, which contains one of the nation’s richest collections of turn of the century housing.
When she’s not designing houses, you can find her fixing up her own vintage Cape Cod cottage, or shopping at vintage shops and antique markets, or visiting historic places.
You can see more about her at DesignerAnnilee.com.
Dana is CIRCA’s Houses’ resident Jawdropper hunter and a lover of urban exploration, culinary history, and, most of all, old houses. Her dream home would have a wrap-around porch to host dinner parties featuring tasty treats prepared in her vintage kitchen, complete with a farmhouse sink, retro refrigerator, and collection of milk glass containers. Dana’s passion for historic homes started at a young age when her parents would take her to cities up and down the East Coast to explore their history and culture. Previously the Program Associate at the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, Dana currently works in the nonprofit fundraising field. She has also worked as an historic preservation researcher and as an editorial intern at This Old House Magazine. Dana graduated from New York University with a BA in Urban Design & Architecture Studies with a Studio Art minor.
MELANIE MOORE KROGMAN
Born and raised in Iowa, Melanie’s mother and father both grew up on family farms where the old houses (mostly American Foursquares) were more often than not built by family and handed down to later generations. This area was sprinkled with thriving little river towns where steamboats and barges made their journeys up and down the Des Moines and Mississippi Rivers. Melanie remembers sitting on the old stone locks in front of the old woolen mill trying to imagine what it was like when the steamboats came in and the mill was in full force. She also remembers trips into town looking out the window of the back seat of the car admiring the Grand Victorian houses on the hills overlooking the river. Melanie was not only impressed by the size and elaborate façades, but also fascinated by the characteristics of the Victorian.
When all of those different porches, turrets, towers, curved, pointed and straight lines came together, by design… it just worked. Melanie’s roots are now known as the Historic Villages of Van Buren County.
Her family later moved to South Dakota where during her high school education, she had the opportunity to travel for music and art to several countries in Europe and later, Africa. She credits these opportunities for her growing appreciation for all styles of old architecture and historical landmarks.
Melanie has a degree in Art Education from South Dakota State University. She has taught visual art and art history for 18 years. Besides teaching, she stays busy with her three kids, Kyle, Karlee and Caden along with the family dogs, Gus and Buddy. She can still be seen going through historical districts, but now she’s in the driver’s seat! She is super excited to contribute to CIRCA and hopes to help save some old houses!
Right: The farm on which Melanie’s mother was born and raised.
Lindsay is a contributor to CIRCA’s Magazine. Her enthusiasm for houses began at an early age, after spending countless hours following her father around construction sites and poring over architectural drawings and plan books. She attended university on the west coast where she studied Human Geography, focusing on Culture, Politics, and Place. Shortly after she packed up and headed for New York to pursue a Master’s in Historic Preservation at Columbia University. Currently in her final year, Lindsay splits her time between coursework in art and architectural history and writing her thesis. Her areas of specialization include the history and theory of architecture, 19th century decorative arts and architecture, urban history, and vernacular architecture. Her love of cities and old houses is at the core of it all, and has been guiding her thesis research on the history of vernacular residential architecture in Toronto, Ontario. Lindsay has worked as a researcher for a number of historic preservation groups, including the Landmarks Preservation Commission.
SHANNON MCGURRIN GISH
Shannon McGurrin Gish is a New England transplant who was born and raised in the metropolitan area of Washington D.C. Along with her beloved husband and three treasured sons, she made her way to New Hampshire via residential stretches in Dallas, TX and Denver, Colorado. When not obsessing over all things New England (historical homes, autumn festivals, and wicked good lobstah rolls), Shannon studies the intersection of art and peacebuilding in Cambridge, MA. “Forgive me for geeking out for a moment here,” she adds, “but there is a growing body of research demonstrating that architecture as an art form influences psychology, cognition, behavior, and overall health. That is why we feel drawn to certain structures and spaces; they appeal cross-culturally to our intuitive senses, not just our visual biases. And in nowhere is inspiring architecture more influential than in the home.”
Sharing her enthusiasm for the timeless architectural character found in older homes is what brings Shannon to happily join the CIRCA team. One day, she hopes to own a small historic farmhouse on acres and acres of New England land for family, friends, and others to have a place to be inspired and invigorated.
Leona was born in southern California, but at the tender age of 6 she and her parents moved to a small town outside Springfield, Illinois. Steeped in history, the area had for several years been the home of Abraham Lincoln, and several homes had been part of the Underground Railroad, and the rural countryside was dotted with old farmhouses that had been handed down from generation to generation. Her love and curiosity was ignited such that she would spend hours sketching homes and designing floor plans and wanting to become an architect until she found out how much math was involved. Her artistic pursuits were re-routed, however, and in college she earned a B.A. in Fine Arts, with a minor in Literature.
Leona believes each old home holds a beauty, solid craftsmanship, and history that is a mystery and wonder to be explored and appreciated. Her dream is to find a huge farmhouse with high ceilings, wide-planked floors (complete with hidden artifacts under a loose plank), a wraparound porch, and enough acreage to house a horse or two, some dogs, cats, goats, and a ring-tailed lemur.
She has been a professional illustrator/designer for almost 25 years, but her spare time she can be found with her face pressed and distorted against the car window, oogling the fantastic old homes in the surrounding areas of Pasadena, California where she lives with her loving husband (who patiently peels her face off the windows and tells her to breathe) and her vivacious 9-year-old daughter. She is thrilled at the opportunity to contribute to the CIRCA Team and help spread the love so many of us have for old homes.
Left: Leona’s father’s childhood home in Los Angeles.
A contributor to CIRCA’s Magazine, Vincent was born and raised in Portland, Oregon. From an early age, his interest in historic architecture was indulged by his parents, who kindly accompanied him on countless tours of historic houses and sites. Earning a Bachelor of Science in Architectural Studies with a concentration in Historic Preservation, Vincent is particularly interested in historic interiors and decorative arts. Relocating to New York City for graduate school, Vincent is currently an archival intern at Avery Drawings and Archives where he spends his afternoons processing and cataloguing historic documents, drawings, photographs and ephemera. Vincent lives in South Harlem with his partner, Nate, and their formally feral cat named Edna.
As a native Memphian and prodigal daughter who recently moved back after ten years, Asiyah has always been fascinated with old houses. During her childhood, Asiyah’s family often drove through the historic Central Gardens district to “ooh” and “ahh” at the Christmas decorations. On those drives, she remembers drawing a peephole in their Ford Pinto’s window condensation to see the holiday lights little better. Thus began her love of front porches, oak trees and two story homes. She swore then that she would live in one of those houses one day.
Asiyah holds a bachelor’s degree in Anthropology and is currently pursuing a graduate degree in City and Regional Planning with a focus on historic preservation and re-use. True to her word, she and her family now live in a 111-year-old Dutch Colonial in Central Gardens.
Hailing from the Great State of Texas, Danielle has been admiring old and historic properties for as long as she can remember. Walking down old streets or through old neighborhoods or towns, Danielle began to realize that she was getting left behind the group because she was stopping to read any and every historic marker she passed. It wasn’t just the unique and beautiful properties that would catch her attention, but the stories that came along with them. Like a time capsule, these houses and buildings could tell a story all on their own. By trade, Danielle is both a Real Estate Agent and a Nurse in Austin, Texas. On the weekends you can find her working with her husband and fluffy dog to renovate their 1960’s home and exploring as much as they can.
Lisa lives in Montebello, New York, located in the Lower Hudson Valley just north of New York City, where she chairs the village’s Historic Preservation Commission. She earned a BA in History from Middlebury College, an MBA from Emory University and a MA in Historic Preservation from the Savannah College of Art and Design. Schooled in the art of historic plaque reading from an early age, she enjoys a healthy obsession with exploring historic houses and destinations.
Meghan is from the suburbs of Atlanta, Georgia. She studied history and art history at Elon University in North Carolina before moving to Charleston, South Carolina to earn her Master of Science in Historic Preservation from Clemson University & College of Charleston’s joint graduate program. She loves living in a city where tangible history is everywhere. Charleston is also the first city in which she can claim a historic property home—she currently lives in a converted stable and carriage house from the early nineteenth century. When not battling the humidity and palmetto bugs, she works at the Aiken Rhett House, a historic house museum with a “preserve as found” philosophy. Meghan is enthusiastic about advocating for the architectural and historical importance of auxiliary structures after uncovering the likely original appearance of George Washington’s horse stable at Mount Vernon through an internship and her Master’s thesis. She hopes one day to own a Queen Anne fixer-upper where she can live her days reading in its turret.