When not enough of the original fieldstone was on-site for rebuilding, masons sought out regional stones with the same character and color. They intentionally rebuilt walls with slight imperfections so the walls would look like the unskilled work of the original farmer-builders. (Structural integrity, however, was never compromised, Ross adds, and modern building and safety codes were strictly enforced.)
The layouts of the houses closely conform to the original dwellings, explains the architect. “We were limited as to what we could do by the original load-bearing walls, so spaces are somewhat compartmentalized. Large rooms tend to be broken up with vaults or columns. That is in direct relationship to what was already there,” Ross points out.
“It’s pretty amazing that some of the houses’ nicest spaces, with vaulted ceilings and arches, were originally animal pens. But that was the way Italians were used to building. They built structures that were made to last,” he notes.