Russell Versaci’s architectural career began in the 1970s at the Harvard
Graduate School of Design, where, by bucking the prevailing trend of
modernism, he was a true renegade. He finished his degree at the
University of Pennsylvania and there found kindred spirits with a love
In 1985 Russell founded Versaci Neumann & Partners in Washington DC
and spent the next two decades in custom practice, studying old houses to
learn how to re-create their appealing qualities in new houses. Russell’s
elegant, understated designs brought him awards and acclaim, and Southern
Accents magazine deemed him a Master of the House.
In 2003 Russell outlined his design approach in the book Creating a New Old House. Published by the
Taunton Press and the American Institute of Architects, the book was lauded by design professionals
and laymen alike and launched today’s “new old house” movement. In the book, Russell distilled his
experience into Eight Pillars of Traditional Design, a set of critical considerations of history, community,
landscape, material, craftsmanship, and convenience that need to be incorporated in the design of a new
old house. Creating a New Old House has become the standard reference for anyone who wants to build
an authentic traditional home.
Visit www.russellversaci.com. Download a biography of Russell Versaci.
Following the success of the book, the magazine New Old House was launched in 2005. Russell became
Editor at Large and writer of the column Architect’s Principles, a platform on which to champion
principles of quality traditional design in a McMansion world. He has garnered a following of builders,
architects, designers, craftsmen, and homeowners who are sick of big-box homes and cookie-cutter
subdivisions and eager to restore art and craft to American homebuilding.
In 2006 Russell established the firm Russell Versaci Architecture to pursue new products and services
for making good traditional design more accessible and affordable. His Simple Farmhouse Portfolio,
a collection of classic American home designs, can be ordered as prefabricated kit houses, like the old
Sears bungalows. In addition to custom architectural practice, the firm is involved in designing homes
for new communities and traditional building products.
In October 2008 Russell’s second book will be published by the Taunton Press and the National Trust
for Historic Preservation. Roots of Home traces classic American house styles from colonial times to their
present-day incarnations in new old houses. Blending history, architecture, and home design, Roots of
Home tells the stories of America’s early settlers as they adapted what they knew from the Old World to
make homes in the New World — and, in doing so, gave birth to America’s most beloved home styles.