Adam Interviews Local Preservationist

Adam Interviews

Steve Jordan champions the Landmark Society through his voice and talent.

His trade is windows.

Jordan can perform window work on older homes with a similar hand as the original builder’s.

His work along with that of like-minded craftsmen and women have propelled the Landmark Society mission that has preserved much of the varied and stunning architecture we see within hundreds and hundreds of homes in and around Rochester.

Jordan and the Landmark Society are now encouraging people interested in learning a trade to get their feet wet through a program designed to nudge more people into a profession that can forward the preservation of Rochester’s history. 

You can learn more about those programs here.

Jordan sat down with Adam Chodak in a historic home on Vick Park A in Rochester to talk about his work and the difference between restoration and renovation.

Adam: How did you get into historical renovation?

Jordan: When I went to college, I took a job with a contractor working in a neighborhood similar to this neighborhood with 1900 to 1930 homes and learned to really to love the architecture and talent that went into to make them to what they were.

Adam: What is about old homes that you’re attracted to?

Jordan: I like the intricacy of the components used to make them what they are, the wonderful porches, the mixture of textures, whether you shingles in a gable and siding below that and lattice below that, that mixture of textures I really like. I also like the cohesiveness of old neighborhoods. I like to look down the street and see a whole line of porches and envision a hot night in the summer when people sat out on the porches and everyone knew each other and if some child acted up a mother or father would grab that child by the ear and drag him back to his parents, everyone knew everyone and I just love the idea of that.

Adam: What did you think of the architecture when you got to Rochester?

Jordan: The wonderful thing about Rochester is that it has almost every style, the beginning of the 19th century until now.

Adam: Has the HGTV culture helped you spread that message?

Jordan: In some ways, it’s good for the industry and in some ways it’s bad. If you think in 30 minutes, they can do a complete turnover of a junky property into a beautiful property, that 30 minutes in reality is six months and I think a lot of people expect too much.

Adam: You’re interested in trades. What does that mean?

Jordan: I’m interested in the traditional building trades. Those are the trades that it took to build this house, like carpenters who know how to use the materials and if they don’t have the materials, they know how to substitute for them in a world where all of these things forgotten … Slate roofers and tile roofers and sheet metal specialists all these trades are necessary to maintain these old houses and unfortunately there aren’t many young people going into these trades. 

Adam: What would be your message to someone who has an older home and they’re debating a modern renovation or restoration?

Jordan: I know a lot of people who would say, “Don’t touch that bathroom. Don’t touch that kitchen,” but that’s a personal thing and I’m not purist about it, if someone wants a modern kitchen or a modern bathroom, generally speaking I don’t have a problem with that, but I do want them to maintain the outside appearance as best as possible.

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