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oldalgebra

Windows and fireplace seem oddly out of proportion

oldalgebra
10 days ago

I have just recently purchased a 1927 English Tutor-like house. The living room has two windows that seem too short (at least to my unartistic eye) for the 10 ft. coved ceiling. The city won't allow changes to the windows, so I am thinking some wood trim might help to add height. Any thoughts about this?And the fireplace seems "squished." Maybe it's just the black paint that I hate.

The furniture in the picture belongs to the seller. The picture is deceptive. The room is 20.5", left to right, but not very deep (12.75 feet from fireplace to opposite wall). There is an attractive, large picture window on the right wall, so I don't want to place a sofa with its back facing the right wall. I am struggling with putting the TV above the fireplace and will probably invest in one of those TVs that displays art when turned off.

I'm also not a fan of the floor-to-ceiling bookcase (just peeking out on the left of the picture) that was built many years after the original build. I will eventually have it removed. Depending on cost, I hope to do that soon.

I'll take furniture placement suggestions also. You can see I need lots of help.


Comments (76)

  • oldalgebra
    Original Author
    8 days ago

    Wow! Palimpsest, you sure nailed that! The house is set among MANY Spanish revival houses. There are these Tudor-like houses and also many Spanish Revival houses all along the street, up and down for several blocks. I love that although the Tudors may have very similar floor plans, and the SpR houses may also have nearly identical layouts, they all look so different. There are even trees here you can only trim using a professional arborist approved by the City. Reminds me of the neighborhoods my relatives back East live in. They are all so different from the "little houses on the hillside, little houses made of ticky-tacky" that I'm used to seeing in so many suburbs around LA. (Yes, indeed, I am located in So. California.) I've wanted to live in a house like this all my life, and now, at age 75, here I am! I just hope Fate will allow me a few years of house heaven before . . .

    HA!

  • PRO
    JAN MOYER
    8 days ago

    I would almost guarantee the original ceiling in the living room was not that high, and someone managed to do work. Perhaps got away with the back window, cut into the attic and added the tray? It's just a bit out of character with the arched entry. Or it's an addition!?

    No way that room is 1927.

    At any rate, no law against drywall. I'd have those bookcases G.O.N.E as soon as resources recover. Lie down and watch tv over a nice low console, or sit in a swivel. I don't think you'll miss them. Then?? Paint the dark red brick surround on the fire...........yup ,,, gonzo.


    oldalgebra thanked JAN MOYER
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  • palimpsest
    8 days ago
    last modified: 8 days ago

    No way that room is 1927

    Not so fast:

    Tudor revival cottage row houses, Philadelphia, 1920s.


    Burbank 1929



    1928


    oldalgebra thanked palimpsest
  • oldalgebra
    Original Author
    8 days ago
    last modified: 8 days ago

    Actually, 1927 is just about the only thing I feel comfortable assuming, So many of the houses that have sold over the past decade on my end of the street are listed 1927.

    There are a few additions to my house that were never permitted, but the living room isn't one of them. One addition is downright dangerous!


    As kandrewspa and housegal200 suggested, the living room may have lost its original beams. Palimpsest's comment ("the very same [Tudor-like house] volume-wise, may have Spanish revival details in the same vicinity") made me reflect on the fact that EVERY SINGLE Spanish Revival house in the vicinity has beams in one configuration or another. I really like the above pic, and would love to add beams, even if they weren't part of the original design. They make good looking foam ones, right?

    Oh gosh! My grandchildren will watch their inheritance dissolve before their very eyes!

    I must say, this house has lit a fire under me. I haven't been this eager to jump out of bed in a long time.

  • Jinx
    8 days ago

    Love reading your enthusiasm! I hope you keep us updated, I’m excited for you and this wonderful house. :)

    oldalgebra thanked Jinx
  • RedRyder
    8 days ago

    Your house is wonderful! It will be easier to give you help once you’re moved in and can take more photos. Bringing this house “back”to some of its original architectural features will be fun. (Yes, you can use “fake” beams that look good.)

    I appreciate always wanting an old house and finally getting one! Your “house love” is palpable in how you write about it. 😍

    oldalgebra thanked RedRyder
  • Kendrah
    8 days ago

    Stop the presses, and the ridiculous looking high curtains with shades. The long view of the room shows the ceiling starts not too far above the window line and the doors on the opposite wall put the window and fireplace height into context. I'd try painting the fireplace the same color as the walls and ceiling. I think it will do wonders for the space. If you can afford to remove the bookcase now, I would do so. It could do a lot of plaster damage thought and repair could be expensive. (This is already a stunning home, no need to blow your life savings on it.) And I 100% get what a committment it is to hang curtains on plaster walls. I think this room could look right without them, depending on how you style the space.




    How long have you lived here? Is your furniture in the space yet? Take things one step at a time. I don't think your problem is as bad as you think it is.


    TV - yes, you've gotta have it in this room, not above the fireplace though. I feel your pain with putting one in a historic room. I've got this struggle on my hands too. What are the measurements of this room? If you can split it into two zones, something might make sense on the wall where the tall bookcase lives. Maybe an easle the same wood as the windows and doors? Maybe inside a cabinet?



  • Jinx
    8 days ago
    last modified: 8 days ago

    Just seeing the picture of the front exterior of the house you added — that‘s a Storybrook style. I love it even more.

    Diamond paned windows! Swoon. I’m dying to know if the kitchen and bathrooms have any original features.

    ETA: Just remembered I had this 1928 Storybrook saved in my files. It’s in N Hollywood. I wouldn’t have painted it stark white.



    This roofing company site has an interesting article about Storybrook homes and origins of them:

    https://www.customshingles.com/storybook-house

    oldalgebra thanked Jinx
  • ci_lantro
    8 days ago

    The living room has two windows that seem too short (at least to my unartistic eye) for the 10 ft. coved ceiling.

    The windows are not too short. A lot of posters suggesting tall curtains are not seeing where the ceiling actually starts and are hanging curtains from the ceiling. Which won't work because the ceiling is sloped & the curtains would be hanging out several inches into the room and far from the windows.

    And the fireplace seems "squished." Maybe it's just the black paint that I hate.

    I hate the black paint, too. But a smaller, more modest surround may be in order. That one may not be original and could date to the time that the bookcase was added.

    I'm also not a fan of the floor-to-ceiling bookcase (just peeking out on the left of the picture) that was built many years after the original build.

    Yes. Bookcase is out of scale & doesn't fit the room style-wise. I would remove it also.

    Take a breath & relax. You just bought the house and don't have access to it yet. So you are reduced to looking at pictures to refresh your memory of what you just bought. And the photos are not real life...and are making things appear to be problems which are not problems. Like the windows looking like they are too short because you can't feel or clearly see how the ceiling impacts the whole.

    oldalgebra thanked ci_lantro
  • decoenthusiaste
    8 days ago
    last modified: 8 days ago

    The fireplace seems the wrong style to me. This is all I could find for reference on Houzz; maybe Jinx can find more examples in her resources.

    Westwood Tudor House · More Info


    English Tudor · More Info


    oldalgebra thanked decoenthusiaste
  • tracefloyd
    8 days ago

    Oh wow what a gorgeous house, it is nothing like the proportions I imagined from that one photo. I agree with @Kendrah and stop the presses!!! Those fireplaces windows are not out of scale, nothing really is in this room. I don't think you need to do a damn thing!

    If you don't mind my asking, why are you doing this to yourself? At our age we need to just sit back and relax lol. I doubt the kitchen really needs a remodel. It's outdated? So what! You can't live with it as it is now? Let the next owner worry about it. And like you said omg the expense, so outrageous nowadays.

    As for the living room, make two seating areas, one by the big windows and one facing the TV in front of the tall bookcase. Yes, a TV on a stand the width of the bookcase. Less hassle than removing the bookcase and a TV with a bookcase behind it would look nice.


    oldalgebra thanked tracefloyd
  • Jinx
    8 days ago
    last modified: 7 days ago

    Deco, I’m curious about the fireplace, too. The OP’s house seems to be a melding of styles popular in California back then … using influences from Spanish Revival, Tudor Revival, Art Deco, Craftsman, Storybrook (on exterior). I’ve seen a lot of houses like that and a variety of fireplace styles.

    It would fun to see original pictures!

    I think the OP’s fireplace is original, and was done with Craftsman and Tudor influences … and would’ve been stained of course. But I may be totally off the mark.

    Hopefully Pal checks back in.

    oldalgebra thanked Jinx
  • chispa
    8 days ago

    Those assuming that 1920s houses don't have high ceilings probably live in cold climates. Don't forget when those were built in LA there was no AC, so high ceilings made a lot of sense. Saw some lovely Spanish Revival ones when we house hunted in LA back in 2010.

    oldalgebra thanked chispa
  • tracefloyd
    8 days ago
    last modified: 7 days ago

    This rendering is a concept and is not to scale, I did not measure the pieces. The TV/console is in front of the built-in bookshelf unit. Either swivel could be a setee, chaise, barcelona bench or loveseat. Dotted lines are area rugs.




    oldalgebra thanked tracefloyd
  • oldalgebra
    Original Author
    7 days ago

    I'm learning so much. Mostly you all are teaching me to "see" things, not just look at them.


    @Jinx, the article was fascinating. I passed it along to a friend who is very interested in historic design. Thank you for taking the time to post the link.


    @decoenthusiaste, I like both designs. Think I will have to start a scrapbook of fireplace surrounds.


    @tracefloyd, the furniture placement rendering is a big help. I was having problems visualizing how to create two zones, even though it was explained in detail.


    "If you don't mind my asking, why are you doing this to yourself? At our age . . ."


    Because I love it. All of it - the research, the connection with people more knowledgeable than I (on this forum), the online shopping (!) - actually I enjoy the creation almost more than the final result.

    I have to admit, I did think there would be a few people rolling their eyes when they read I am 75. But honestly, at 75 you no longer want *things.* What you do want is to be surrounded with what makes you happy. An old house makes me happy. And the opportunity to bring it back, at least in part, to its original, beautiful form.


    I doubt the kitchen really needs a remodel. It's outdated?


    No. it's not outdated. It's non-existent. The sink and the cabinet that it sits in are just about the only things left. Oh, the faucet coming out of the wall is still there. And there's a stub where a gas stove can be connected. The previous owners ripped everything out and then decided it was too expensive and time-consuming to go on, and just put the house up for sale. The poor kitchen looks like I was the one who did the demo. It's a mess.

    @Jinx@, I think the bathrooms are almost all original - tile on walls and floors, sink, tub - maybe the toilets have been replaced somewhere in the past.


    Well, that's about it. Oh, one more request. I have been looking for a chandelier for the dining room. Seems like everything that is Storybook Tutor is a bit too gothic-looking for my taste. I've seen some nice Tiffany-like fixtures that I like, but they seem too Craftsman for this house. I'm looking for something that is softer than the heavy metal stuff that pops up in a google search. Something metal, but with less curlicues. Please keep an eye out for me.


    Happy Thanksgiving.



  • smalloldhouse_gw
    7 days ago

    What a beautiful home! You have such an amazing space to work with, no wonder you're inspired! I hope you continue this thread as you move in and make it even more gorgeous.

    oldalgebra thanked smalloldhouse_gw
  • Jenny Kakases
    7 days ago

    i think this is a rather easy task, windows are too small / fireplace is too big! So either get new windows or maybe place bigger curtains to conceal the smallness haha, I would also recommend getting a Florence knoll sofa (a replica will do the job) to get that mid-century modern vibe~

    oldalgebra thanked Jenny Kakases
  • PRO
    Norwood Architects
    7 days ago

    Would suggest that you remove the mirror above the fireplace. Unless a mirror reflects something of interest I would not use one as a decorative element. Would suggest instead that you install a large piece of artwork to help solve the proportion problem with the fireplace.

    oldalgebra thanked Norwood Architects
  • njmomma
    7 days ago

    I like the locker idea. Children, teenagers and adults just flip off shoes and pull off hats and gloves. Always in a rush. I am guessing this is the front door. Most family members will just shove everything into a locker rather than neatly put away items. Put to open hooks on the wall next to the lockers for guests to use. If you have the space.

    oldalgebra thanked njmomma
  • palimpsest
    7 days ago

    Look for an art decoish chandelier for the dining room.

    oldalgebra thanked palimpsest
  • ptreckel
    7 days ago

    Your journey is one that I envy! And…inspirational. I will be following. AND…I can’t wait to see photos of your bathrooms. ORIGINAL TILE??? Wonderful!!! Happy Thanksgiving to you all!

    oldalgebra thanked ptreckel
  • njmomma
    7 days ago

    Oh goodness! Why did my comment show up on this thread….. crazy

  • Jinx
    7 days ago

    njmomma, I was wondering if you had the wrong thread. 😄

  • njmomma
    7 days ago

    😂🤣

  • oldalgebra
    Original Author
    7 days ago

    @njmomma, I tried visualizing the lockers, but they just didn't speak to me. HA!

    When I read that, I knew exactly what had happened. I'm forever texting someone a reply that I've meant for someone else. I've tried to train myself to check the name of the recipient before I hit Send, but I just can't seem to reprogram myself. Lockers! What a kick.


    @tracefloyd - art deco! That's a good idea. I'll concentrate my search there. Thank you.

  • oldalgebra
    Original Author
    5 days ago

    See how the foot of the fireplace surround is past the brick hearth. Might that be an indication the surround is not original to the house?


  • ci_lantro
    5 days ago
    last modified: 5 days ago

    I did wonder how the surround related to the hearth but couldn't see the hearth in the previously posted photos.

    Possibly the fluted moulding was added later and the inner part is original? Is there any other fluted moulding in the house? Does the baseboard looks like it runs behind the surround? Is the flooring around the hearth 'pictured framed'?

    To answer your question--yes, that could be an indication that the surround, as is, isn't entirely original. But not a guarantee.

    oldalgebra thanked ci_lantro
  • oldalgebra
    Original Author
    4 days ago

    @ci_lantro, There are no other fluted moldings in the house. I will need to get into the house (access is less than a week away) to see if the baseboards run back of the surround. I'm not a fan of the width of the surround, so I might use a boxcutter to whittle away some wood near the baseboard and try and get a peek. Thanks for the response.

  • RedRyder
    4 days ago

    Whenever you have a chance to get back to the house, take A LOT of photos. I’m curious about the bathrooms. My friend has an old 938 Tudor in NY and she retained a lot of the original tile in her bathrooms. Just decorated around them because they were in good shape.

    Hard to look for a chandelier for the dining room without measurements - of either the room or the diameter you need. Yes, looking for “Tudor” but not “gothic” is hard.

    Anyone who asks why you’re “doing this at your age” doesn’t get it. It reeks of ageism.

    I’m 70 and would love to buy another old house to re-do. I still miss my 1925 colonial from over 20 years ago. You’re living your dream! (And I’m participating vicariously….) 😊

    oldalgebra thanked RedRyder
  • la_la Girl
    3 days ago

    ^^ yes another plea to keep this wonderful thread going and for pics of the bathrooms with original tile 🤩

  • ptreckel
    3 days ago

    ^^^And another plea for photos of the bathrooms with the original tile!!!!!!

    oldalgebra thanked ptreckel
  • RedRyder
    3 days ago

    I think I figured out part of the “Tudor Chandelier” dilemma. The overly gothic ones have a ton of black iron curlicues. To keep your sweet house modern (read:not gothic) you can stick to black metal, but simple. I’m throwing out ideas, that’s all. Typing in Tudor gets you the wrong ones.

    oldalgebra thanked RedRyder
  • tracefloyd
    3 days ago

    @RedRyder Sorry I did not mean to come across as ageist. I was commenting as a peer but did not mention that I too, am a senior. We bought a home recently and after all the places we've redone over the years, we were just ready for something move-in ready.

    Yes it's an older home and dated but in good shape. It was fun picking all new furniture and decor though. Guess I still got a little something in me lol! Not as much as you all, though, that's for sure!

    oldalgebra thanked tracefloyd
  • RedRyder
    3 days ago

    @tracefloyd I totally understand not wanting to do “work” on a house. Most of my friends agree with you.

  • RedRyder
    3 days ago

    Ideas for dining room

    oldalgebra thanked RedRyder
  • RedRyder
    3 days ago

    Two more

    oldalgebra thanked RedRyder
  • tracefloyd
    3 days ago
    last modified: 3 days ago

    We finished painting the living room and kitchen and cleaning the brushes after our last paint job during lockdown...we were like 'never again'!

    Then we bought a house and didn't like the wall colors. We were like - seriously??!! Here we go again! I do like our new walls now, it was worth it. Painting is as far as I'll go but I won't promise lol.

  • oldalgebra
    Original Author
    3 days ago

    @tracefloyd, I knew you were a senior when you wrote "at our age."


    @RedRyder, Ooooo. I REALLY like the second one in the first group of three you posted. I am going to search for something equivalent. I can wait on that decision. You all are right about needing to know the height of the ceiling and see the dining table in the room.


    Took advantage of good ole Black Friday today and ordered a retro-looking refrigerator and stove.

  • RedRyder
    3 days ago

    Good move! Can’t wait to see them. What color did you buy? Very exciting!

    oldalgebra thanked RedRyder
  • oldalgebra
    Original Author
    3 days ago

    How sweet of you to ask.

    While I've learned that many stoves in the 20s and beyond had a baked enamel finish, I keep coming back to my aunt's big, black honkin' cast iron stove that must have taken up nearly 50% of the room in her kitchen. All black. And all grease! But I loved her cooking. So, of course, I ordered a black stove (range?). Mine is small (30"), as the kitchen is small and a bit awkward. I ordered a black vent too. I'm tossing around various ways to design a backsplash that will tie the stove and vent together - mimicing the way I remember my aunt's stove - which had the shape and many of the elements these have:





    It shouldn't be too hard to find metal corbels to represent the supports on the sides. I haven't landed on a backsplash yet. I thought of black (or white?) stainless, but I read it scratches easily, so I'll need to do more research on that. Maybe a sheet of black engineered granite? Here's mine:



    My refrigerator is white. Saw this restored refrig online:



    Mine is counter-depth and looks like this:


  • john3582
    2 days ago

    Following, with envy.

    oldalgebra thanked john3582
  • RedRyder
    2 days ago

    I can assure you, that ain’t your Aunt’s black stove! How gorgeous! Do you have a current floor plan of the kitchen?

    What is the interior capacity of that amazing fridge? It will compete with the stove for who is the “star” of the room. Are you leaning towards an “Art Deco feel” black,and white kitchen? You certainly have the basics for one.

    I think it is hard to consider what you will do behind the stove until your layout is finalized and other items are selected. Houzz is flooded with homeowners who go countertop shopping and fall in love with something unexpected. You never know…

    Great job on the buying these beauties on sale! Thanks for including us in this journey.

    oldalgebra thanked RedRyder
  • Michele
    2 days ago

    The second chandelier!! Very nice.


    I am following too. This is really interesting.

    The bathrooms with original tile sound like it could be either really great or possibly not Obviously it depends on condition etc. Do you have photos??

    I’m excited for you. Good luck!


    oldalgebra thanked Michele
  • oldalgebra
    Original Author
    yesterday
    last modified: yesterday

    Here's more info: Not sure how complete it is: The desktop on my laptop has stuff all over it. Not very organized, I'm afraid.








    The 76.5" measurement is not correct. I can't find the original measurement.

    I think it's 76.5" from the south corner to the bathroom door opening, which will be closed off.

  • oldalgebra
    Original Author
    yesterday
    last modified: yesterday

    A couple of points:

    Door to the outside cannot be pushed back.

    Wall separating kitchen and dining room cannot come down. (Well, actually, I'm sure, with a strong enough supporting beam, it can come down, but I don't want it down. I've had the big, roomie kitchen opening into the family room experiece. Loved it when I needed it, but I don't need it anymore. And besides, I want to keep this little gem as original as possible (while still maximizing its efficiency, of course).

    The next owners can open it up - if that's what they want.

    Actually, @RedRyder, the really cool-looking stoves are the wider ones that are a bit more gussied up in the front, and therefore, look a bit more vintage. But I just don't think I can afford the extra inches.

    I am looking at a black and white kitchen. I have one now, and have never tired of it, although I know there are people who feel a white kitchen has "run its course." I suspect the original kitchen tile was yellow and black, which would match the jack-and-jill bathroom that it presently connects to. I will keep the yellow in the j&j, but have decided to go the safer route in the kitchen.

    @Michele, you are right about the bathrooms. I'm afraid there is a lot of damage to the main pink and black tiled bathroom. Someone was CONSISTENTLY neglectful with the shower curtain and there is lots of water damage around the tub area. Looks like they showered, got water all over the floor, and didn't stop to wipe it up. The contractor thinks the floor has probably rotted out all around the tub area. Now that part is OK, as we do not want a tub. Tubs for people our age are just accidents waiting to happen. We going to pull out the tub and put in a walk-in shower.

  • oldalgebra
    Original Author
    yesterday




  • loobab
    yesterday
    last modified: yesterday

    Hi oldalgebra-

    I have seen many houses in SoCal that are combination Tudor and Spanish.

    Can you please take more photos of your living room from different angles?

    Is the living room bookcase made of solid wood?

    If so, you might not want to tear it down.

    It is nigh impossible to find a well made solid wood bookcase that can carry weight, you mostly have to get them custom made.

    (That being said, students these days use e-books, no heavy tomes like we dragged around!)

    But if you have lots of beautiful and weighty (yes, I am being punny) books, why not keep some of them in the living room, along with using the bookcase to display some of the marvelous collectibles you have acquired.

    Additionally, you can add doors to cover the bottom shelves so you have some closed storage to use for things like board games, chess sets, things for entertaining such as trays and coasters, cocktail napkins, etc.

    If you hate the whiteness of it all, you can change the color, for example, paint the back of the shelves a color to coordinate with your room colors.

    Or you have have all the white paint stripped. The process is not as difficult as it was in years gone by. Then see what the bare wood looks like and then have it re-finished however you like.

    A well-made piece of solid wood furniture is something to seriously consider keeping.

    oldalgebra thanked loobab
  • loobab
    yesterday
    last modified: yesterday

    oldalgebra- Here's another thought.

    What I would do if I were you, is, go around to your neighbors and leave a note saying you are new to the neighborhood and this style of house and would love to pick up some decorating tips and referrals for repairmen and painters, etc. , and would they be so kind as to give you a peek? And leave a few stems from your garden with the note which has your phone number and email and address. Somehow put your age in the note. People may be more likely to help you if they feel less threatened, and or if they feel you need help.

    oldalgebra thanked loobab
  • RedRyder
    yesterday

    Personally, I think white kitchens never go out of style. The way we style them may evolve, but my mom had a 1950’s white kitchen, my friend had a BH&G Awarded white kitchen in the 1990’s and I redid my kitchen to creamy ivory 5 years ago. Your old Tudor most probably had one, but with more black accents. Your stove being black is the “modern” b&w kitchen now. I like the layout since it feels like an older home as is. It looks like you are adding white shaker cabinets. Perfect choice.

    I wouldn’t take down any walls in an old house. They’re not meant to be open concept. We have a kitchen/great room and sometimes I wish there was a wall like we had in our last house.

    Sorry to hear one bathroom probably has severe water damage, but taking out the tub and putting in a no- or low-curb shower sounds divine. There are ways to use modern tile but give the bathroom a 1920’s look. My friend just redid her 1925 master bathroom (in black and white) and it absolutely fits the house even though it’s brand spankin’ new.

    oldalgebra thanked RedRyder
  • oldalgebra
    Original Author
    yesterday
    last modified: yesterday

    That's a wonderful idea, @loobab. I'm going to do that for sure. For sure!

    I am moving about 8 doors down from my son and his family - which is why I know a little about the neighborhood already. My son's house is Spanish Revival and he spent the first year in the house with workmen in and out of the house almost every single day - doing all kinds of upkeep (not decorative) work to get it in shape (foundation, electrical, roof, retaining wall to keep the swimming pool from pushing into the neighbor's yard (they're on a slope), sprinkling system, etc.

    One of his neighbors who makes a living flipping houses has offered to come over and give me some ideas. I think he'll have lots to say concerning who I should contact for this job and that. I'm hoping I can get invited into a few houses to see how others have handled my floor plan.


    I'm not in the house yet. Won't even have access until Wednesday. There's much to be done before it is liveable. I'm not in a hurry YET, as I have 50 years of *cwap* to sort through before I'm ready to leave my present house.