When it comes to real estate in a city like ours, with housing that spans the space of a few hundred years, there are two types of people in the world: old house lovers and new house lovers. The reasons we like what we like are myriad and often complicated, but if one can afford to have a choice in what kind of building they live in, just about everyone has a preference.
A house or apartment is made up of many components, many of which are cosmetic, but one thing that is not is framing. Whether new or old, where we live is made up of walls, ceilings and floors. Two of those components beg the question – plaster or drywall?
I have never lived in a new house. I grew up in a 200-year-old vernacular Italianate farmhouse upstate. When I went to college, I lived my first year in a dorm from the 1890s, followed by three years in another built in the 1930s, designed to look like a medieval college in England. When I moved to New York City, I lived in an Art Deco apartment building in the Bronx, followed by almost 30 years in two different Brooklyn row houses. One was from the late 1870s, the other from 1899. I write this article from a Troy row house from that same year. All of these places had one thing in common – nice thick old plaster walls. (more…)