Property: 127-129 Leslie St., Lansing

Owner: David and Carrie Muylle

Assessed value: $41,800

It is not enough to simply restore. For a house to remain relevant, it must also meet the needs of a modern lifestyle.

Far too many people believe that living in an older house means giving up the comforts of a new home — not so. Modern restoration is the balance of historic details and the modern amenities to which we’ve grown accustomed. The fact is that well-crafted buildings can be incredibly flexible. Architectural history is the story of reuse and adaptation.

The 18th-century Georgian townhouses of Bath, London and throughout Great Britain is modern restoration at its finest. As popular today as in the 1700s, these townhouses combine character and craftsmanship dating back 300 years with the conveniences of modern life. In the 18th century, the kitchen was located in the basement of the house, tucked away out of sight from family and visitors. In contrast, the parlor (a.k.a the family room) was the heart of the home and a formal dining room was a significant feature. Our use of space within the house has dramatically changed and the Georgian townhouse reflects this shift. The kitchen is now the heart of the home, often a great room comprised of a kitchen or family room and without (because there is little use for) a formal dining room.

You don’t have to own a Georgian townhouse in England. Modern restoration is alive and well in Lansing. From the beautiful late-19th and early-20th century homes to the mid-century ranches that comprise Lansing, those of quality craftsmanship lend themselves to reuse and adaptation.

eyecandyBA.gifLocal builder Dave Muylle sensitively restored the
striking duplex at 127-129 Leslie St. on Lansing’s east side with
respect to the past and an eye to the future. Every window, door,
surface and structure of the 1915 house was returned to its original
beauty, and then some, including modern conveniences like a zoned
thermostat, a high efficiency gas log fireplace, a bathroom on each
floor, ample closet space and a kitchen that would rival any newly
constructed house. The appliances, space and storage strike a perfect

The beauty of modern restoration, as demonstrated by the Leslie duplex, is not only in the aesthetics and enhancements of the physical building but its context-mature trees, public transportation and proximity to basic services like shopping, restaurants, parks — the amenities of a modern lifestyle where connectivity to work, home and play are measured by walking — not driving — distance.

Interested in learning from a master craftsman? Looking
for ideas and inspiration? Love to take a look inside? Of course you
would. Great news for you — the house is open to the public for a tour
Aug. 19 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. For more information, contact the Allen
Neighborhood Center at 367-2468 or e-mail