Historic houses becoming hotter property





John Adams, second president of the United States and the son of a noted Puritan, would undoubtedly blush at the makeover planned for his former London residence.

While the developer is maintaining the historical features of the three-story house, including a broad ballroom with high ceilings and an ornate fireplace, he is adding the latest in high-tech gadgetry. Improvements will include Lutron-brand controlled lighting, electrically operated curtains, under-floor heating and a state-of-the-art audio-video system throughout the structure.

"If you're buying a property like this, you're definitely interested in period fixtures," said Ben Carson, the London-based developer who paid £3.5 million, or almost $6.9 million, for Adams's Mayfair house earlier this year. "But at the same time, people spending this kind of money also want the sophisticated audio-video system" and other amenities.

Around the world, from Panama to Shanghai, high-end buyers are paying top dollar for historic houses, spurring owners to spend both time and money on sensitive renovations that include modern improvements. But finding properties worthy of such effort can be a challenge.


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