A New Home for Steve Jobs

Will the Bulldozers Roll onto Steve Jobs' Property?Steve Jobs, Apple CEO and technology visionary, has a gift for designing things. People have been going bananas over Apple’s various portable devices for the past decade, and he is credited with many of their important design principles.

Although gadgets are fun, we’re more about the real estate on this site. And this news piece definitely caught our attention – Steve Jobs is going to be building a new home! And the site plans are available on the internet!

The story of this property is too long and complicated for us to fully understand the details, but there seems to be two interesting themes – historic preservation and design.

Jobs bought the estate in 1984, lived in it for a while, rented it for a while, and let it sit vacant for a while. The existing structure is a 30 room Spanish Colonial Revival mansion with 14 bedrooms and 13.5 baths over multiple structures on 6 acres. Although Jobs has wanted to demolish the home for years, local preservationists have successfully intervened on the property’s behalf, working to either save the structure or move the home to a different site. In 2006 someone made their way onto the vacant property and took these pictures, which show significant neglect. There seems to have been rulings in favor of each side, with the most recent victory being for Jobs when the preservationists dropped their lawsuit seeking to prevent demolition. At this point, the demolition is on.

The other interesting subplot is about what the new home will look like. Jobs has the resources to build anything he wants, so what will it be? Conceptual plans for the new home were submitted to the Woodside Town Council, and they have reached the interwebs. I haven’t found images that I can zoom in on (please post a link in the comments if you find some), but these small images and the accompanying commentary give a good flavor for the space. The basic conclusions of those who have studied the plans in detail are that Jobs is sticking with the clean, simplified aesthetic popularized by Apple products. Also, that he won’t be throwing large parties at his house, it’s designed more as a peaceful retreat than a showpiece property.

Jobs has won the most recent battle with the preservationists, but will it be the end of the war? And if he actually follows through with his plan, will the final product truly be as restrained as the current plans? Only time will tell.

Hartford Preservation Alliance Awards Event

Award Winning Restoration at 79 Girard AvenueThe Hartford Preservation Alliance will be holding their annual Awards Event on Thursday, May 13th, at 5:30, at the Design Center in Parkville (1429 Park St, Hartford). There are 12 Awardees this year, including a number of projects that loyal readers will recognize. The event is open to all, and tickets are $25 – hope to see you there!

In addition to their annual Awards Event, the Hartford Preservation Alliance works throughout the year as an advocate for Hartford’s historic architecture and buildings. They also take on an education mission, organizing various events in the different neighborhoods. For example, tomorrow morning (May 8, 2010) at 10:00 AM they will be leading a walking tour through the Ann Street Historic District in Downtown Hartford. For a complete list of upcoming activities, visit the 2010 Calendar.

2010 Awardees

Common Ground
410 Asylum Street
“The Capitol Building”

Jan & David Klein
Kate & Christian Winkley
79 Girard Avenue

Northside Institutions Neighborhood Alliance (NINA)
291-293 Sargeant Street

Archdiocese of Hartford
809 Asylum Avenue
“St. Joseph Cathedral School”

Hartford School Building Commission
1304 Main Street
“Barnard Brown School”

James K. Grant, P.E.
Lifetime Achievement

Connecticut Preservation Action
Preservation Advocacy

Connecticut Commission on Culture & Tourism
“Being Modern in Hartford”

Molly Knorr & Mark Drusedum
1144 Prospect Avenue

PMC Property Group
210 Farmington Avenue
“The Ambassador”

Ross Zachs & Mike Miller
76 North Beacon Street

Antonella Bona
139 Fern Street

Congratulations to all the awardees – and thank you for going out of your way to preserve Hartford’s historic buildings.

Saving a West End Home

Historic preservation is a labor of love, with individuals and small groups fighting to restore pieces of our collective past. Two families in Hartford’s West End, the Kleins and the Winkleys, have stepped up to personally commit their resources and talents to revitalize a historic home in their neighborhood. By the time they’re finished, the team will have transformed a poorly maintained and out-of-date structure into a brand new Shingle style home circa 1905.


For those not familiar with Hartford’s West End, the neighborhood is located at the western border of the city. Its single and multi-family housing stock was developed at the very end of the 1800s and during the first few decades of the 1900s. The homes are solidly built and range in size from about 2,000 sqft to over 10,000 sqft. Most have a level of architectural detail that is not found in more modern homes.

The property that the Klein-Winkley team purchased had been on the market for over a year before they submitted their bid. Some of the architectural elements have been well preserved, including the woodwork and fireplaces, but much of the house was in poor condition. They plan to both address the deferred maintenance on the outside and update the inside to modern tastes – all while preserving, and in many cases improving, the home’s architectural character. Learn about the effort and follow the team’s progress over the coming months as we look more closely at a project that will preserve a piece of Hartford history.

Continue on to the next installment, The Beginning.