If your first question is what the heck is a “quoin” get in line. It’s not a spelling mistake. We’re launching our newest weekly editorial column this week. So Find Everything Historic’s architecture class 101 is in session.
Quoin (yes pronounced just like the monetary slang ‘”coin”) is an architectural term used to describe the external corner or angle of a building. In the case of most historic buildings they provide actual structural strength at load bearing corners for exterior walls constructed from brick, limestone, rubble stone, or other soft masonry material. Today, quoins are largely decorative features designed into historic replica buildings to create the impression of permanence, strength, and authenticity.
We loved the word quoin originally for the actual name of our new start up—kind of like Google or Houzz: more inferential and attention grabbing than literal. After getting feedback from friends and our board of directors, however, we yanked the wheel 180 degrees in the other direction. The consensus was that no one would be able to pronounce quoin properly let it alone spell it correctly as a website name if they heard about us in a BBC radio interview. [Note to other tech start-ups: What you think makes sense at a given point in time as you grow might be your worst decision. Even if you don’t have a board of advisors or directors seek outside opinions often.]
Ever since scrapping the term as a corporate banner, however, we’ve been dying to figure out a way to work quoin into our messaging and branding. We love the word sandbox at FEH. So we are especially pleased to introduce our new “Quoin Values” column this week. Think of it as a “Relative Values” column for historic properties. The cost of living and land, the market’s appreciation for historic architecture, and downtown revitalization economic trends don’t cleanly intersect across the United States. So what does your “coin” literally buy you real estate wise in America’s most historic cities and towns?
In our first Quoin Values column we’re going with a cool million (give or take a few $100K-there is always room to negotiate, right?) as the starting point. Stay tuned for more.
–Stately Queen Anne (Chicago, Illinois)
This 1899 Queen Anne is located in Lakewood Balamoral, a twelve-block historic neighborhood in Chicago, and is brimming with architectural details like turrets and bays, stained glass, beautiful molding, and wood details throughout including built-ins, a butler’s pantry, a double parlor, and a killer front porch to name a few. The historic house has been lovingly restored and brought into the now with an updated chef’s kitchen and modern systems while honoring the gracious Queen Anne style and character inside and out. Our favorite part of this historic home is that it’s also located just blocks from the Lake Michigan beaches, bike and running paths, and the walkable downtown of Andersonville where there is fabulous shopping and restaurants. Sign us up.
–Quinnipan (Medfield, Massachusetts)
This classic New England Greek Revival built in 1880 was once known as Quinnapin and was originally the home to the new local Baptist parsonage. In the mid 1900s the property was converted to a private residence, and since then has been meticulously cared for through the years maintaining its classic charm while being updated to bring it up to modern day standards. The newly renovated chef’s kitchen includes custom cherry cabinets, dual ovens, a gas cooktop, radiant heat, exotic granite countertops, and bar seating at a raised counter overlooking the circular side porch near the spacious mudroom—ensuring the perfect year-round space to entertain friends and family. The backyard offers a lush English country garden with a stone fountain, pergola, and a mahogany deck where this historic property’s new owners will be sure to kick their feet up and relax.
–Flagler Era Masterpiece (St. Augustine, Florida)
Located in America’s oldest town, this Flagler-era Victorian built in 1903 exudes charm and elegance. Start with the location in the heart of St. Augustine’s historic district and you’re already smitten. Step inside and you’re in love. The magnificent restoration has preserved the original architectural details while also incorporating all new systems. Architectural details like custom craftsman woodwork, oak paneled walls, heart of pine floors and, rare plaster cove details are found throughout. The bathrooms have all been recently renovated into luxurious spa-like sanctuaries and the kitchen offers Soapstone counters, double ovens and stainless steel appliances and a breakfast nook. The home also has an elevator that takes you to all three floors of the home, which might come in handy after a long day of surfing at the beach.