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katie8422_gw

What can you tell me about my house? (img heavy)

15 years ago

Hi everyone,

I'm looking to find more information about the style of my house so I can decorate the inside to go along with it's history. I'd love to hear anything you know about this type of house and learn some new words to describe it! It has all sorts of cool old stuff in it, but I'd rather stop referring to it as "cool old stuff." :) Thanks!

The first strike of demolition went to the tongue and groove cabinetry in the teeny pantry kitchen:

Faux fireplace:

All the doors are solid 6 panel with these knobs:

I hope to refinish this some day:

Tongue & groove all around what will be the kitchen:

Is this called a chair rail when it's 5 feet up the wall? And the detail on the picture window, it it called a grate, or muntin, or mullion, or what?

How can I describe the corner pieces of my door/window molding? Also, this is one of two sets of pocket doors (and FYI, that is the PO's junk, not mine, haha):

Foyer:

Comments (53)

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Tough love--with a sledge hammer.

    The upper moulding is (or was) a plate rail.

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Hello Katie,

    You have some beautiful detailing in your house. I'm impressed with the woodwork around the doors & the leaded-glass windows. I'm with golddust & powermuffin in encouraging you not to destroy what is there, because things are not made as well nowadays, & what is there (the cool old stuff) is what gives the house its charm & personality. I'm sorry the tongue & groove cabinetry is gone - it's just not made anymore. Please consider storing whatever you don't like/want for the next owner or selling it, to architectural renovation businesses for instance.

    You may want to look for magazines such as Old House Journal & Old House Decorating. Some helpful Web sites are This Old House: www.thisoldhouse.com/ & Old House Web: www.oldhouseweb.com/

    Congratulations on your house & best wishes!

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  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Ditto to what everyone else has said about destroying the kitchen cabinets. The tongue & grove around the perimeter of the new kitchen is called wainscoting; the dividers between panes of the windows are muntins - mullions are dividers between windows such as the triple window on the 2nd floor front. Your woodwork is outstanding. Most of the time, the area at the upper corners of windows & doors are referred to as 'bullseyes' or corner blocks, but maybe fan shaped ones are named something different; I don't remember ever seeing any like this - very art deco. Do you know when the house was built? If the light fixture is original, I'd guess about 1900 & probably later. Once, I lived in a foursquare that was built in the 1920's or 30's that had a lot of similarities to yours, such as the triple one-over-one windows, fake fireplace, fancy muntins in the hall sidelights. You're very lucky to have so much original material.

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    The corner blocks are identical to those on a 1948 home I tore down. (The fireplace mantel and surround from that house lives on in an apartment.)

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Powermuffin is RIGHT. Please, don't paint, destroy, ripout those vintage cabinets and hardware pieces and fireplace mantels.

    What can I tell you about your house? You've got a rare find there - a house in largely original condition that survived the 1950s (dark wood is depressing era), 60s (how 'bout some fuzzy wallpaper with big flowers era), 70s (harvest gold and avacodo green) and 1980s (and beyond) without its irreplaceable wooden trim being ruined by some "nice beige paint."

    That "teeny pantry kitchen" is probably the butler's pantry and those extremely rare cabinets should NOT be destroyed. It's fairly sickening to see those cabinets being attacked with a 20-pound sledge.

    Please get a little more information about your beautiful home and do NOT destroy the historicity - the very things that make it so unusual!

    Beige latex paint is NOT your friend...

    Rose Thornton
    author, The Houses That Sears Built

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    another answer:

    muntins are the things that divide plates of glass in a single window (or now are glued onto a single sheet of glass).

    mullions are the structural supports between windows to which a window frame is attached (although they're usually covered in nice wood casing)

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    When I see somebody attacking their house with a sledge hammer, I think of something you'd see on the drivel they pass off as HGTV now. My God, those cabinets were beautiful. My parents once lived in an absolutely ornate old house like that, and came back many years later to buy it when they retired, and somebody had "updated" all the leather wainscotting, and dropped the beautiful fourteen foot high ceilings with those awful grid panels. Removed the marble slabs from the radiators, and otherwise destroyed all the wonderful details making the house unique. sigh. When it's gone, it's gone forever.

    It's an exquisite house you have there. It is suprisingly nice for its age, and has beautiful detailing. The more you preserve of it, the better your home will retain it's value.

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Thank you for all of the information and suggestions! It was built in 1900. I forgot to mention that. Unfortunately, the pantry was the big casualty of the renovation. As charming as it may have been, things were rotting and the floor plan was not functional, so I made the decision to remove it. I saved all of the hinges, knobs, and pulls from the cabinetry and I hope to find a use for them in the future. They have the same detail as the plates behind the door knobs in the photo above. Those cabinets were taken out on Halloween, the day we closed on the house, and I've already learned a lot since then! I would have brought them to a salvage yard, had I known.

    You'll be glad to hear that little else was sacrificed. (I'm surprised to hear that I caused some people to feel anger and even disgust. It is my house, after all.) I've kept the wainscoting (thanks, antiquesilver), all the moulding and the plate rail (thanks, worthy), the mantel, the claw foot tub, the doors and knobs, and the hardwood flooring, for example. I fell in love with the house because of all these features. One of my bedrooms resembles a salvage yard, actually, because so many items are waiting to be re-installed.

    I'm certainly not planning on painting my moulding or using beige paint anywhere in my house. My brother, who is also my electrician/general handy man, loves all things modern. He is having a tough time re-using my woodwork. We had to relocate some of the wainscoting after we changed the floor plan and he was not too keen about nailing used wood back on the wall. He keeps encouraging me to buy new crown moulding and plate rails, but I spent a great deal of time removing it and removing the nails, so you better believe it's all going back on the walls! Just because I didn't want the pantry doesn't mean I'm turning my house into a page from the IKEA catalog. Haha.

    Now, I'll pose some more questions, since I know I have some opinionated new acquaintances who aren't afraid to tell me how they feel. :)
    1. What type of color scheme would work on my walls? I'm attracted to bold colors, but I keep changing my mind.
    2. I hope to tackle the home's exterior next year. There are cedar shingles under the asbestos. Any thoughts on the matter? I've given very little thought to what I will do with the exterior, but I'd like to start mulling things over now. (It looks yellow in the photo, but it's actually the color of a sinus infection. People love to comment on it.)
    3. How the heck can I have a tv in my living room with the mantel commanding all the attention (as it rightly should)? A tv hutch with doors?
    Thanks again,
    Katie

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Don't have a TV in the living room; You have exhibited the exact example of why we all suggest you live in a house for a while or at least do some research first before taking crow bar and sledge hammer to the history that existed.

    I agree it is your home but we are ALL caretakers of the past and have a responsibility to the crafts people before us to honor what they put their bloof sweat and tears into.

    I think that you really need to study more before touching light fixtures or anything else in that wonderful home.

    Jewel tones for paints. There are lovely booklets at the paint stores....c

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    If you're attracted to color, so were Victorians. They also loved wallpaper -- even using it on the ceiling. Some of the very deep, wallpaper borders are incredibly beautiful. Think gilded peacocks. Check out:

    Old House Interiors
    http://designcentersourcebook.com/wallsceilings

    Old House Journal
    http://www.oldhousejournal.com/

    At one time, I owned half of a Victorian 2-family, that was built in 1890. While I loved it, I didn't know much about how to care for an old house. I mentioned wanting to replace my drafty windows to my neighbor, who nearly keeled over in horror. Needless to say, she offered great advice to not mess with the original wavy glass in the windows. It was the start of my education in the care and feeding of old homes, and while I no longer own an old home, I still really love them. Enjoy it!

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Trailrunner: Where do you suggest a tv goes? I do not have a second, less formal living room, and guests often watch television with us. I understand that the tv is not supposed to take any attention away from the mantel. I really do love the jewel tones, but it feels like such a commitment!
    Unfortunately, I could not have lived in the house before changing some things. The previous owner and his friends had some illegal activities (we'll leave it at that) going on inside and he had allowed the house to fall into sad shape. And please note that the point of this whole thread is for me to learn more about my home. It's much easier to learn from real people! Plus, two jobs and lots of wallpaper to scrape means I don't have much time to read anymore!
    Thanks for the links, mjlb!

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Wow katie - great old house. If you're just starting out, I would spend a little time reading about general house styles at the turn of the century. In 1900, the victorian trend was slowing down. Basically, those were "fancy" houses with lots of decorative elements, asymetric floor plans, towers, multiple chimneys, elaborate staircases etc. Around the turn of the century, there was a movement away from that and toward more traditional and utilitarian "american" architecture. Those houses tended to be more rectangular and symetric like colonial revivals and craftsmen.

    I think your house reflects that transition. You have some of the more victorian "fancy" details, but the overall layout is basically rectangular.

    If you are interested in traditional colors, finishes etc, your local historic preservation office should be able to help. Be warned though, turn of the century tastes were significantly more bold then the muted color palate that seems to be popular today.

    As for the TV, put it any place you please. The new flat screens can be placed much less conspicuously, but that is just a matter of personal taste. I personally think you have an obligation as the owner to maintain as much of the old house as you can - like windows, porches, cabinets, woodwork etc. Those are the things that will outlive you and be cherished by the next owner. If you want to put a modern couch or huge tv in the front room, that is just a temporary thing and obviously doesn't change the historic nature of the house in the longrun.

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Katie , I am sorry. My response was "shoot from the hip" and not at all helpful.

    You are right when you say that it is helpful to get responses from real people , how else to learn? Billl was perfect in his reply.

    If you post pics of the room and use the Home Decorating Forum there are many with GREAT ideas for decorating and many have historic homes and will have suggestions for paint and colors and tips for hiding televisions etc.

    They also are wonderful on the kitchen forum for decorating and if you go the Finished Kitchen Blog you will see TONS of finished kitchens and many of them are in old homes also !

    So those are some helpful tips. Again I apologize. c

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    What a gorgeous home! Your door hardware is similar to my 1920s home which is a lot plainer otherwise. I think the transition from Victorian lasted a long time, lol.
    I wish I had the problem of tv focus or fireplace (no fireplaces). It would be nice to have a furniture arrangement that would allow one to focus on either, if not both at the same time. Good luck and enjoy! (And post pics as you progress!)
    kathy

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    It was the picture, Katie! The very first picture you post is of a sledge hammer and those cabinets. Guaranteed to illicit a knee jerk reaction in a forum dedicated to old homes. LOLOL. Actually it does my heart good to see young people come into old homes, it breathes the necessary new life into them to keep them alive into the next century.

    It doesn't always hit a home-owner immediately, but eventually they transition from "owning" an old home to becoming the keeper of it, and get very militant about preserving its history. I've lived in many old homes in my life, the current one being the oldest (at least here in America). It's becoming harder and harder to find them in original condtions, and most of us would rather buy one historically correct and a mess, than cleaned up and changed.

    The detailing is just wonderful. As bill said, how you decorate (paint, furniture) is not important. You live in a home, not a museum. That doesn't change the important stuff and the house can easily be transformed back to period decoration. It's the bones and the detailing of the windows and woodwork one cherishes. You'll have it looking like a million dollars, and I'm happy for you.

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Billl's statement here is spot on: "I personally think you have an obligation as the owner to maintain as much of the old house as you can - like windows, porches, cabinets, woodwork etc. Those are the things that will outlive you and be cherished by the next owner. If you want to put a modern couch or huge tv in the front room, that is just a temporary thing and obviously doesn't change the historic nature of the house in the longrun." I think we are just the custodians, caring for them for future generations to enjoy especially as these old homes get rarer and rarer, torn down to build McMansions or strip malls, even if there are some inconveniences for us now. There's no reason why we can't judiciously modernize, we don't need to live with no central heating or electricity, but maintain the architectural and historical integrity. I live in a small ca. 1900 "Victorian Lite" factory worker's cottage, plain as porridge, with some early Arts & Crafts influences (wide, flat moldings, porch design, no-longer-existing rafter tails and open soffits) and some Eastlake aspects (no-longer-existing mixed clapboard-and-shingle siding, a couple of great exterior doors and fancy hardware to go with them, although the rest of the house has plain white porcelain doorknobs and black iron hinges). Some of PO's "improvements" still make me cringe after a year and a half of living here because he just didn't care about/wasn't interested in its "oldhouseness" and he was a cheapskate to boot. Like the recessed light cans in the kitchen make me grind my teeth on a daily basis. "Ceiling acne" does not belong in a 100+ year old house, That Is All There Is To It.

    Did you know wall-mounted flat-screen TVs can be framed, like paintings? Stuff like DVD players and cable boxes and the like can be housed in a small cabinet beneath. For surround-sound speakers, if one must have them, there is a flat speaker wire that is so thin that you just stick it onto the wall like tape, smooth over a little spackle, and paint or wallpaper right over it! There are several brands now, so Google "flat speaker wire". DeCorp, one manufacturer also makes similarly flat coaxial (cable-tv) and audio-video (DVD etc.) wiring. I don't know who else does - we need to get the evil joint-compound texturing off our living room walls before we can go there.

    Please don't refinish the light fixture (a Colonial Revival pan chandelier). Just clean it (gently!), wax it to protect the patina, buff to a soft glow, and leave it be.

    I'm sad about that kitchen cabinet because those are the very same cabinets, except for color, that a PO tore out of our kitchen (we found the remains of one in the shed) and replaced with already-disintegrating-after-2-years garbage in the name of "modernizing". They would cost a big fat wad of money to have replicated. *sniffle* (DIY cabinetmaking not an option.)

    I've been totally unimpressed with This Old House, both the TV show and the magazine, in recent years, and let my subscription lapse. For the house overall, definitely check out the aforementioned Old House Journal, and for decorating do subscribe to the wonderful Old House Interiors. It's one of my favorite magazines.

    As far as color schemes are concerned, an amazing resource is the Bradbury & Bradbury wallpaper company site. I swear I must have fifty samples from their Victorian and Arts & Crafts lines, and I even framed a section of frieze as artwork! I used to hate wallpaper because all I knew was that vinyl crap but now if I could afford to I would wallpaper my entire house.

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Katie, some colors you might considers are earthy greens, golds, yellows, rusty reds, pale teal, pale blue, melon. These are colors are most likely to compliment your trim. I would encourage you to prime your walls before you paint; Zinser shellac based primer is my favorite.

    It takes some of us, me included, longer than others to appreciate old house interiors. I grew up in S. California and there are not many old houses there so I wasn't tuned into them. But now I fully appreciate what I have and I just roll my eyes when people clearly don't see the charm of my house. When my kids go to sell it after I am gone, they will appreciate the care-taking that I did because it directly impacts the sales price.

    BTW, I agree with Mari about This Old House. I too let my subscription lapse. It does occassionally have good information, but I am tired of them ripping out wavy glass windows, and original kitchens.

    Everything that you have faced or will face in making your home livable, we have faced too. You can also get great information from The Old House Web forums. I have posted the link here.
    Diane

    Here is a link that might be useful: The Old House Web

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Johnmari is RIGHT. It is not really your house, as your post states. You are a caretaker to a wonderful old property. That house will probably last 100 years after you've left for heaven.

    The decisions you make should be made with the realization that the house will be around long after your gone and that future generations are going to be a lot more interested and intrigued by a home that's been preserved, rather than one that's been plasticized "and all fixed up" (gag) to look like its suburban McMansion distant relations.

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Ah, Rosemary. Please relax. As I stated, the cabinets were the one causalty. I love everything else about my house. I'm not sure why you assume that I'm painting my house with beige latex paint, etc.
    Johnmari, thanks for giving the light fixture a name. I had no idea how to begin researching it. I bet I'll cause a fuss by saying I think it's hideous. The fixture actually confuses me a little because I find it so ugly yet so charming at the same time. Either way, I'm going to save it until the next time I'm near the architectural salvage yard that I just heard about. I didn't think there were any salvage yards near me, but then I came across a website for one in NH. The whole warehouse burned down recently and they are currently rebuilding their stock. How sad! Also, the Old House Interiors website led me to a reproduction light fixture site. It will be very hlepful! Thanks!
    Powermuffin, I've been meaning to research primers but haven't yet started. Is Zinser good for walls that previously had wallpaper? A family member recommended Kilz, and I know Kilz is discussed often on here. Any thoughts on which is better for walls that were once papered in a home where many substances were smoked? Ha. I understand that there are some primers that block stains and smells-- I think I need that!
    Trailrunner & others- thanks for the suggestions. I'll look into them soon!

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Funny you should say you think the fixture is ugly. I just bought one off of ebay and put it in my bedroom. I think it's great! MUCH better than the square glass dish that was there.

    Before you primer, and by the way both would work, you should probably give the wall a good scrubbing. And for that matter the whole house. Just simple water, soap and a scrub brush. That should take care of the smells and most of the stains. The rest of the stains will be easily covered with a good primer. Just make sure the wall has completely dried before priming. As far as what color to paint the walls, whatever you want! I would think a wide range of colors work well, just depends on the decor you want to use. Like others said your house is in the transition from Victorian to Arts&Crafts or Colonial Revival. Victorians used saturated colors, and lots of wallpaper. A&C used more earth tones and some wallpaper. Wallpaper was chosen often because it is more protective than paint and helped the plaster last longer. Especially with the paint at that time period. Heating was done with dirty fuels and there was no air conditioning so the walls got quite dirty. Wallpaper was best at handling the frequent scrubbings required. The wainscoting (paneling up to about 3' from floor) also was very functional in that it is a more hardy wall covering for areas which might get lots of bumps and bruises. Plaster itself is quite durable if it doesn't get saturated with water. You can see for yourself in your house that it has held up for over 100 years, including your PO (previous owner) where I'm sure they were less than gentle with the walls, LOL. The same can't be said for drywall.

    I would run a plan of your kitchen by the folks in the Kitchen Forum. They are very helpful and have lots of great wisdom. Mention you have an old house too. I have to say I too am sad to see those cabinets go. I've been looking for something like that for quite some time for my soon to be pantry. My PO took out a lot of original details and I'm in the process of putting period appropriate stuff back in.

    The asbestos siding can be repainted and is fine if it stays put. But if you want to remove it, I don't blame you I don't like it either, you will probably have to contact your local authorities to find out the regulations on removal. Inspectors will probably have to come out and it could get costly.

    You have a great house there with lots of original details. It looks like great care was taken when it was built and has held up very nicely. My advice to you would be to take your time and VERY carefully consider doing anything that can't be reversed. Your tastes may change as you get older and learn more about your house. I know I've changed mine. I was 23 when we bought our 1885 farmhouse and my tastes have definitely changed in the 15 years we've owned it. Fortunately the changes we made when we moved in where reversible. I used to hate not having the kitchen open to the dining room, not I love having the separate space. My DD's are better behaved in a separate dining room which makes the meal more enjoyable.

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Nah, it's okay if you think the light fixture is hideous. I have one of those too - the ONLY original light fixture in my entire house, natch. If you want to replace it, pack it up securely (like a wooden crate or double-layered cardboard box), mark it clearly (like "original 1900s dining room chandelier") and tuck it into the attic or the top of a closet. There's no reason why you can't replace these sorts of "movables" as long as you keep the originals with the house so that a future owner can put it back. Since you know the build date of the house, a company like Rejuvenation.com can help you find a period-appropriate (a word you'll hear until you want to scream LOL) fixture to replace it. Rejuv's pricey but the quality is outstanding.

    Hey, I'm in NH, about 25 miles NW of Portsmouth. It's a pity about Nor'East, I wasn't too thrilled when I went there but it still sucks big time to lose all that material. There are some other salvage companies in this area that I know of although I've only visited a couple because due to illness and a back injury I have a hard time doing much driving. There's a smallish and somewhat pricey one in Exeter NH called, rather uncreatively, Architectural Salvage - I used to live in Exeter and wandered the warehouse about every other week, even though at the time I was living in a 1994 tract Cape! A tiny little Habitat for Humanity ReStore has recently opened up in Dover, NH but I haven't had the opportunity to stop in yet, I always seem to be pressed for time when I'm over there. I'm dying to get up to Old House Parts in Kennebunk ME next spring, and I hear Vermont Salvage in White River Junction (on I-91 on the NH border, near Hanover) is pretty awesome and might be worth a day trip; if you were to head up there there's a place in Rumney NH (about an hour east of WRJ) called Blue Moon Salvage but I don't know anything about it other than that it exists :-) and I have heard some major raves about Admac Salvage in Littleton NH, about an hour north of White River Junction VT and same from Concord NH. If you're south of the border, New England Demo & Salvage in New Bedford MA is enormous, as is (I hear) Restoration Resources in Boston. The Building Materials Resource Center in Roxbury MA doesn't specialize in old stuff, they're a nonprofit building materials recycler, but you never know what you'll find. Hope that might help. Don't neglect online sources for salvaged items, either - Craigslist and eBay in particular. eBay is a great source for antique lighting once you learn a bit what you should be looking for, but you can get really screwed if you don't. Remember that old lighting fixtures should always be rewired before use to avoid fire hazard.

    As others have said, do try to live in the house for a year or more before you really get into tearing things up, because if you learn to listen to it the house will tell you what it needs and wants (seriously), and it will give you time to research more about the house and the period. Yes, it means that you may be stuck with less-than-optimal ;-) decor and conditions for a while, but that's okay, really, and much better than having to tear out or redo something you've put a lot of work into because it was done out of ignorance or expedience and is completely wrong for the house. You do have a truly lovely "base" there to work with, and I'm positively green with envy over all those details. I'm guessing you plan to be there for a long time, so try to have patience.

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Actually, I have tried both Zinzer and Kilts, after removing wallpaper and I found that the paint peeled off of the Kilz, but did not with the Zinzer shellac-based. The same paint was used over both primers. So I am sticking with Zinzer. I think it seals the plaster walls much better. I scraped off eight layers of wallpaper, one of cardboard and one of paneling in the dining room and sitting room. It was so worth it!
    Diane

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Wow, johnmari -- thanks for all those links! I knew of one or two, but not the New Bedford one, which looks wonderful.

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    A decorating idea for the fake fireplace (in your living room?), how about a few big bulky candles?

    So the pocket doors are from the hallway to the living room and from the living room to the dining room? Very cool to have those. Do you have carpeting in your living room? I can't tell from the pictures. If so I would definately get rid of all carpeting based on your description of your PO.

    Also some random old house info:
    If you are looking to make the house more energy efficient, the first place to start is the attic/roof. Then to seal up all air leaks. Properly sealed single pane wooden windows with storm windows are actually more efficient than double pane windows. Old House Journal had an article on this this summer.

    Old house wiring can be scary. If you haven't alread, get yours checked out by an electrician.

    Winter is just about here, check for plumbing in outside walls, they may freeze. And watch for ice dams in your roof.

    I see that you have baseboard heaters. Is it hot water? If so it's a great heat! But you want to get it flushed once a year and get your boiler checked out. By the way, you can paint those. I have some old trim in my house with fake wood graining (I used to think I would refinish, not now, another thing I changed my mind about) and I'm going to do that to the baseboard heaters so they blend in with the rest of the woodwork.

    I'm sure you have hardwood floors, old old pine/fir is still considered hardwood. Someday you may want to refinish. It's not hard to do DIY, but a little tricky. We refinished all of the "pumpkin" pine bedroom floors with ZAR antique polyurethane (before I knew about other finishes) and the white oak dining room and kitchen with Waterlox so far in the downstairs. Living room and hallway are next. In some places and with some care, we patched the floor too.

    Taking care of an old house is a lot of work, but IMHO absolutely worth it!

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I got all of my salvage from Nor'east. I was so pleased with the service from John and Donna. Everything was perfect. It was shipped to me on a Roadway truck and it was all safely delivered. It was packed perfectly. I got lots of old windows and 2 soapstone sinks a huge cherry builtin china cab, a claw foot tub and 2 slabs of soapstone. I am so sorry that they had a fire. I just sent them a note. I do hope you find wonderful salvage in the future. I love it !! c

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I agree with Powermuffin on this too. Zinser is better than Kilz, probably because (as PM said), it's shellac-based.

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    The house I grew up in had the EXACT SAME four down-light chandalier in the living room.

    In one of the smaller rooms off the living room there was an identical two down-light chandalier.

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Are you sure that is a faux fireplace? It looks to me like a real fireplace that they closed up. You may have other former fireplaces closed up and covered in the walls. That is very common in these old houses.

    I don't believe faux fireplaces were put in in the era that this house was built. I see them in houses built in the '20s and '30s but not in the 19th century. But maybe that depends on the area in which you live.

    You may be able to restore the fireplace to use but of course, that'll be expensive.

    Do you have an overall plan for the house in place? It it a good idea to decide what needs to be done and in what order. It may be exciting to start with cosmetic features first but you will probably end up tearing it up to get at the real problems in the house like electrical, plumbing, foundation, leaks, termites, mold, heating and AC, whatnot. You're likely to come to roadblocks during the remodel so read, read, read before you start a project. Things like, were the walls painted in milkpaint? Shellac or varnish on the wood? Don't throw anything out. You may miss having it later on after you start really living in the house and appreciating old houses and want to reinstall it. If you decide that something really NEEDS to go, put it on Craigslist or something and a person will come and haul it away for you. They may even rip it out for you. This is a good way to get rid of old radiators.

    Good luck with your new home and adventure.

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    It's definitely a fake fireplace because we had to open up the wall behind it. The chimney is about ten feet away. I'm wondering if the PO's parents, who lived in the house for 40 years, were good with woodwork and made it/had it made.
    We're using a HUD rehab loan so we do have a plan. The plan will help us reach the point when we can move in (with what HUD considers a turn-key house), and then everything else we do will happen over the course of the next few decades, unless life moves us elsewhere. The upstairs will be virtually untouched, except for some plaster repair and all peeling paint will be removed. Plumbing and electrical have all be replaced. My brother is an electrician, so I know my electrical is safe now!
    I'm pretty sure we're past the surprise stage and I'm hopeful that nothing major will be discovered at this point, although I know you can never guess. All we have left to do is prep the walls and paint them, and get the floors refinished. All the GC has left is to install kitchen cabinets, and the plumber has to finish up the bathroom. We'll probably re-hang all the crown/door moulding and plate rail after we move in.
    I might get some reclaimed flooring from Nor'East to finish a small area in the kitchen. Anyone have experience getting flooring from a salvage yard? I wonder if they have power back after Friday's ice storm!

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Before you call the po's furniture "junk", know of what you speak. The chair and ottoman there is very very nice. VERY nice. Sells for $$$$.

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I'm wondering if your 'fake fireplace' wasn't used for a gas grate. They were very, very common in houses of that age, and in some places even earlier. They oten had fireplace surrounds and mantles built around them, just like wood burning fireplaces.......some were quite ornate, incorporating art tile or oak and marble. I own my parent's house now and it has a fireplace into which gas burning ceramic logs were set. It is rather shallow, and finished off in art tile.

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Hey lightlystarched,
    I would have loved to keep some of the antiques in the house. The PO's family emptied the house before we closed, so I have no idea what happened to its contents. There was a gorgeous antique chest in the kitchen when we first went to see the house, and the end tables in the photo above had a matching coffee table. Someone did tell me that that black chair could be worth a lot. I hope that chest & all the other antiques found a good home!

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Katie, just to let you know I purchased the exact same light fixture in an antique store a couple of months ago, had it rewired and gave it a good cleaning and waxing, and it now hangs beautifully and proudly in the hallway of my 1914 "Transitional" (Victorian with Arts and Crafts influences) home here in St. Paul MN. The only difference between our fixtures is that mine is "two tone": there's a soft gray paint on the major portions with the "trim" or decorative areas done in brass. When I purchased it, none of this could be seen:: it was black with age and (probably) soot. I cleaned and cleaned, bought some gorgeous period shades, and it is now just beautiful and fits the home perfectly. I am a long time old-house fan and have restored several; also an antique refinisher. Not that I have great taste--but I hope my experience lets you reevaluate what you might have there. Try a little gentle cleaning and get some fabulous shades (try Rejuventation) and you'll have a show stopper.

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I don't have an "after" photo for you, but here is the "before" (before cleaning) photo I posted on the antiques forum.

    http://ths.gardenweb.com/forums/load/antiques/msg1018455020474.html

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Marita- I saw them on Rejuvenation and they certainly look better with shades on them! Thanks for the info. :)

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I too have a pan fixture. Mine was not original to the house. My 1922 center-entrance Colonial revivial had a non-descript 1960s brass chandelier in the dining room. A couple of years ago, my husband and I were killing some time in an antique store in Troy NY and we admired a four-light pan fixture and then moved on. We came back to it a few times, but finally left the store and hit the road. About 10 minutes out, I said to my husband "You wanted that light fixture, didn't you?" He said yes, but he thought that I didn't like it so much, so he didn't say anything. We turned the car around and bought the light. It took a lot of Brasso to get it to look good, but it was totally worth it.

    Here is a link that might be useful: Our four-light pan fixture

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Katie et al: This is so interesting! I thought I loved old houses (I do) but now I realize there are degrees of commitment. (Katie, I agree about your hanging light fixture, I don't like it either.) I love tall ceilings, lots of solid, detailed woodwork, asymmetrical layouts. And I appreciate that the quality and species of wood is often not findable today. But I don't like the dark colors. If I were in your shoes I probably would want to strip and paint things white. I didn't know painting was frowned upon. Now I'm glad we couldn't afford the kind of old house I wanted when we were looking to buy. Instead the radical transformation (creating the semblance of age, but not by the book) we're doing to our 1970 house can only be called an improvement!

    It's been an education reading the strong feelings people voiced here. I'm glad there are advocates for these old houses, just as there are advocates for animals that can't speak for themselves. I'm sorry some of it came at you so strongly, but I'm glad you're not intimidated and are hanging in there with this forum. It seems there's a huge wealth of information here.

    GW amazes me. The first year I was on here I only visited the vegetable gardening forums. After I discovered the home site I only visited the same few there. Then I discovered Hot Topics, and now this. It's all so thought provoking!

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Don't want to repeat the other comments, but you'll find great ideas on www.oldhouseweb.com. Here's one link. I think your house is a mix of Victorian, four square and probably a few other styles. Good luck! Take pictures as you go -- you'll forget what it looked like!

    http://www.oldhouseweb.com/architecture-and-design/italianate-1850-1890.shtml

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I can't believe you destroyed those beautiful old cabinets that had survived for so long. With a sledge hammer, no less. Sickening.

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I'm laughing about the fact that you think the light fixture is hideous because I spent over $500 to put its twin in my master bedroom! :oD

    http://www.rejuvenation.com/fixshowC415-4/templates/selection.phtml

    http://www.rejuvenation.com/catalog/customers/settingdisplay.html?setting_id=144&category=bedroom

    Your home is a lot like the one we lived in before our current one. Someone once referred to it as a "vernacular worker's cottage," and that gave me a chuckle. Like yours, it had a mix of craftsman, victorian and colonial revival elements. I grew to like that it couldn't be pinned down to a particular style, and I now live in a much larger but similarly mixed-up house. ;o)

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Thanks, Egganddart, Allison, and worldmom! Worldmom, I wanted to define my house with one style, but you're right, it's nice to have a mix of styles to work with!
    Egganddart-- the way I look at it, if people want to get all worked up on a forum, I'm just going to smirk and shake my head. I think I'll stick to searching for threads, as opposed to posting.

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Hey Katie,

    I read this much earlier but wanted to see if you had updated how things were going. I think that my house is in a bit better shape (we are living in it) but we have very similar things to do. What stage are you at now? Have you thought about paint at all? I ask because I'm stuck in paint indecision- I want to paint in the strong colors of our Victorian, but want it a bit modernized. I think with walls, not the woodwork or anything, you can really have full licence to do whatever you'd like, they can be easily changed and should be to reflect the personality of the people who call the house home. Right now I have Bunglehouse Grey (Sherwin Williams- SW) on a sample wall in my living room and mid-stairway we have a lovely stained glass that I have the wall painted around it in SW stonebriar. It's kind of on the backburner because of our kitchen, but I like the chance to live with the colors for a bit.

    How is your kitchen going? Although you've gotten lots of flack for it, I'm glad you put your experience here, where you've given a voice to the preservationists who want people to donate instead of trash. Plus, now I have new websites for salvage sites to go to! Fantastic.

    Keep us updated...

    Ginnie

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Katie, your house is waaay cool. I live in a house about 10 years older than yours, and I'd like to share what I've learned:

    The dark wood molding, with its many imperfections, has grown on me in the year we've been here. The dings that drove me nuts a year ago are now character and patina, and I NEVER thought I'd see it that way.

    I have had great luck with Farrow and Ball colors. Dorset cream in living room, mouse's back (unbelievable color, you really have to see it with the old wood to appreciate it) in the family room, and light stone in the dining room. I also have farrow's cream in the hall and stairway, but i think it was a mistake; dark wood can take much darker colors than you think, and they all look several shades lighter up on the walls.

    There seem to be a lot of strong opinions about custodianship, which may or may not be off-putting to you (disclaimer: I've got a foot in the custodian camp too). But look at it this way: from a resale standpoint, as the years go by, a well-maintained older home with original details will pull ever and ever higher premiums from buyers, so you will reap the rewards of your "custodianship" in very tangible terms when the time comes. So, to me, self-interest and good custodianship actually align. Also, you will sometimes save money while you're living there if you have chosen period appropriate finishes, materials, colors, and decor: because they are timeless. I was over on the kitchens forum, and people were moaning about their "so-80's kitchen" and how to make it less dated. If you do things to the original decade of your house, they will never look dated: only timeless. You will never need to redecorate when styles change unless YOU want too. Now that's freedom!

    Finally, I found, and you may find too, that the styles appropriate to your house grow on you. When we bought our house, the first thing we did was remove the bronze statue from our newel post so we wouldn't clock ourselves when we moved in. We NEVER intended to put it back up, and almost gave it away to a neighbor. Well, it has grown on me, and I look forward to the day that I put the other "lady of the house" back on the newel post. (Dh would probably tell you are days that he wants to screw my b... on there--naw we usually get along lol!)

    So, enjoy!!!!

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Thanks for the positive feedback, Ginnie and slateberry. You've convinced me to share some photos of our progress. Hopefully no one is sickened by my new kitchen or my refinished floors. :-P
    FYI- the curtains are all temporary and don't quite match (I'm working on it), and there's basically a lot of finishing touches missing, but this is what it looks like at the moment.

    Kitchen-- We saved what we could of the floor, and put slate where it was ruined/missing (Mike refuses to get out of my pictures):

    Kitchen floor, before:

    DR, after patching, sanding (repeat, repeat, repeat), Gardz, 1-2-3, and BM Moroccan Red:

    The plate rail will go back up soon.

    LR-- I LOVE this color with the woodwork! The original crown moulding will be going back up.

    Looking into the kitchen from the dining room:

    The DR after sanding and one coat of poly:

    A peek at the LR after one coat:

    The kitchen floor was gorgeous beneath the linoleum glue!

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Great job! What beautiful floors! I love the colors you picked for the dining and living room. They really bring out the beauty in the woodwork. I also like the slate in the kitchen. I've been considering putting that in my breakfast nook area which used to be the back porch.

    Also you may want to consider push button switches that were popular around the time you house was built. You can get reproductions at classic accents. I'm slowly replacing my switches with those and I think they look great!

    Here is a link that might be useful: push button switches

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Yay Katie! Thanks! I just asked for updates on my V-bath post and here they are- wow, you've done such a great job. The house is stunning, pat yourself (and Mike too, since he poses so well in the photos) on the back- it looks great. What is the color in the LR?

    Love the red to red in the kitchen and DR. Somehow old houses can really bat red while in many younger houses (not all it can be done well) it looks garish. I think of it like piles of diamonds on an older woman who looks stunning, while on a 20 year old she looks well, garish! My Victorian furniture is upholsered in red velvet and I've toyed with the red idea, but was undecided, but I might just do it now.

    Great job, thanks so much for sharing and inspiring!
    Ginnie

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Katie, you guys move fast!! I haven't accomplished that much in a year! The floors look great. It must have been a bear getting that old gunk off them.

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Bravo!!!! I _wish_ I'd accomplished so much in my year here. Thank you for sharing the pictures. The slate looks wonderful and timeless. Funny, I was just thinking about putting slate in the master bath. Decision sealed after I saw your great pics.

    I am so impressed with how you found kitchen cabinets that match your molding. We gave up trying to find a match within our budget; our molding is kind of a wierd medium-brown that is all over the map. Turns out I found some inspiration pictures with white painted kitchen cabs and dark molding that looked good to us, so we are going that route, which is easily in our budget (painted mdf being cheaper than just about anything). But yours looks really fantastic, no compromise there!

    Oh my, mom2lilenj, I'm slowly transforming to push-button too. I'm using brass cover plates from house of antique hardware because they blend best with the eastlake hardware in the rest of the house. What are you using for covers? (yes I know if I didn't do this I could've spent more for kitchen cabs--endless tradeoffs in old houses). But to me, nothing screams "old house" like push button switches, and I like that. Some people may prefer details that just whisper though :-).

    Here is a link that might be useful: Not for everyone, but my fav

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    slateberry, I love the link- we are actually pretty lucky because 90% of our switches are pushbutton. This is great because, as you know, they can be quite expensive to replace. I keep taping the painted lightplates though, hoping that they are metal that I can get the paint off. Another little gift from my wonderful prior owners who painted, wallpapered, and carpeted but left most of the rest alone!

    Katie, I just keep looking at your photos for inspiration that we can keep moving along...

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I get the plates at classic accents too. They are a bit cheaper than house of antique hardware on the plates, but much cheaper on the switches.

    And yes, autumngal at 14 bucks a pop for the single poles they aren't cheap. You are lucky to have the originals. I also got the dimmer for our dining room, very cool, I kept playing with it for the first month, LOL.

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