She's not a doctor, but Westport resident Ariane Mermod is a lifesaver of sorts -- that is, she likes saving the lives of historic houses. Had she not purchased her home at 101 Clapboard Hill Road three years ago, it would have been demolished.
"Everyone just wants to tear an old house down and start over, and I do think it's because people don't know what to do with them," Ariane said. "There are plenty of houses that don't really deserve to stay standing, but the ones that do, it's sad to see them go down."
Ariane's appreciation for historic houses comes from living in Vermont, where she's originally from. Historic houses and farmhouses are prevalent there, she said. But beyond coming from a place where old houses are preserved, Ariane said she finds old houses appealing and fascinating because of their history, something new constructions don't have.
"Each house tells a story, and I like to be a part of that story," she said.
Of the three other houses Ariane has renovated, her current home is the oldest. But because it's the oldest doesn't mean it was the hardest to renovate.
The toughest house renovation award goes to 249 Greens Farms Road, the house she and her husband lived in before buying their current home. And like their current home, the Greens Farms Road house was slated for demolition.
While she loves doing it, Ariane never set out to renovate houses. In fact, she used to work in the fashion industry. So how does one go from fashion to old house makeovers? It was in her blood, really.
"My mom always fixed up each house we moved into when I was growing up," Ariane said. "So I'm used to things constantly being improved."
For having saved and renovating the house, Ariane was among nine recipients to receive a 2010 Historic Preservation Award .
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