Design Guidelines

Historic Mount Pleasant was the first preservation organization in the city to develop design guidelines based on the specific features of the houses in its neighborhood. These guidelines, published in 1991 with a green cover, came to be known as the Green Book. It was translated into Spanish and remains a source of guidance for work that may generally be considered to be “compatible” with the historic district.

In the intervening years, however, the Historic Preservation Office has developed a series of much more specific guidelines that have been approved by the HPRB for work on historic properties throughout the city. We urge all Mount Pleasant property owners considering work on their property to consult the design guidelines on the HPO website. We would call your attention in particular to the guidelines on window and door replacement, front basement entrances, landscaping (including fences and retaining walls), meter placement and solar installations that address in detail issues that arise on a daily basis in our historic district.

Regarding windows, there is a growing body of literature on the benefits of retaining wherever possible “old wood” windows from the early twentieth century. Their quality and craftsmanship are generally superior to the windows produced today, and, unlike modern windows manufactured as single units, they can be readily dismantled and repaired. Their energy efficiency can be dramatically improved through repair and the addition of storm windows, which may be installed without a permit. Please do not make the mistake that so many owners of historic properties have done when they have ripped out original windows without exploring the alternatives.