Created by on
May 27, 2020
Senior Associate Erica Blawat is engaged in her local community. Currently, she is serving as the architect on the Elmhurst Historic Preservation Commission (EHPC). The EHPC serves to help preserve the historic, architectural, and aesthetic character and heritage of the City of Elmhurst. Historic buildings, neighborhoods, and landscapes embody the intentions and lives of those who built, lived, or worked within them. Together, they have stories to tell about the community of the past and how this influenced what the town is today. Preserving those stories as well as the character and integrity of the design and structures themselves, can elevate both the quality of and connections within a community.
As Commissioner, Erica is particularly involved in the EHPC’s community outreach and education efforts. By collaborating with the local Elmhurst History Museum and Elmhurst Art Museum, the EHPC is exploring new ways to introduce residents to the significance of historical preservation as well as create opportunities to visit and tour various local sites.
In addition to this EHPC outreach effort, Erica offers her architectural experience and insights, consulting local homeowners seeking home renovations and improvements. To preserve the integrity of these older homes, Erica seeks solutions that can elevate the house to modern family living standards while preserving the historic character and scale both inside and out.
When the owners of an historic 1920’s Tudor in Elmhurst were struggling to sell their home, Erica met the owners to discuss potential items that could be deterring prospective buyers. During the home tour, she noted several key areas that could be opened up or modified to better appeal to today’s home buyers while still maintaining the integrity of the home’s rich historic character.
Rather than proposing expanding the already generous home, painting original woodwork, or tackling significant home renovations themselves (as previous realtors and consultants had advised), Erica focused on items that could bring better function to the plan layout as well as actually enhance the original charm of the home. After the house tour, she referenced both the original historic blueprints and the floor plans for the owner’s 1990’s addition, to discover ways to both open up the existing plan, reducing the problematic “closed-off feel” of many older homes, as well as explore opportunities to “historically correct” the prior addition and renovations inconsistencies in character and flow in this old home.
The resulting suggestions and concept sketches allowed the owners to showcase the full potential hidden in their home without undertaking renovation work in an attempt to attract the varying tastes of prospective buyers. This approach quickly resulted in not only more interest, but the sale of the house to a young couple with a great love for classic Tudor style, who were seeking a comfortable home that will meet the needs of contemporary family living.