Can anyone tell me the style of my house?

BGladFebruary 5, 2011

I fell in love this little old house the moment I saw it, but it confuses me. I don't know the style or the year it was built (yeah, I know, shame on me). Right now, we are trying it out for a year with "option to buy" after the year is up. It does need a little work and TLC, but so far, it's work we are willing to do if we decide to buy it.

Also, the woodwork really pops out to me. It's all over the place...around every door and window. If anyone could tell me if it looks original, I'd appreciate it. My landlord has no clue, in fact, he has only seen this house a couple of times. Any info on this style house, inside and out would be great. If more details or pictures are needed, I would be more than happy to provide them.


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I would call it a simplified folk Victorian farmhouse with Neoclassical millwork on the interior.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2011 at 3:33PM
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Your moldings are gorgeous!

    Bookmark   February 5, 2011 at 7:40PM
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Thank you, jiggreen! Though I am a bit upset. I noticed today, when I took the picture of the top of one of the columns, there was a chunk missing.

Your answers are appreciated. And I agree, Ken...the vinyl siding really isn't doing this house any justice! Great site, by the way. I've learned a lot today!

    Bookmark   February 5, 2011 at 9:24PM
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For the missing trim on the column, you can use a mold of an intact section and replicate it. Two small pieces on one of my mantel columns popped off, but I just glued them back on.
That colonnade looks almost exactly like mine, but the tops of mine are just similar to the bases, but with some molding added.
I'd call the house a classical revival, which was popular around 1900-1920. Don't hold me to this yet, but that plan looks almost identical to ones in my plan books--Sears comes to mind first because I was looking at it yesterday.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2011 at 3:22AM
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Great idea, thanks! Any info is great... anything to narrow it down to what it could be.
Could I bother you for a plan? Or could you possibly point me in the right direction to find some online? If not, no problem, I'll just keep searching! I am very curious, because this is one of the weirdest layouts that I've seen in my 25 years of life (haha). I would love to find an original plan.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2011 at 10:09AM
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This looks so much like my home! I love the woodwork. I've often wondered what style it would be considered... It gives me an idea of what my woodwork would look like unpainted. :-)

    Bookmark   February 6, 2011 at 1:01PM
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I would guess this home was built between 1910 and 1920. I doubt seriously if the woodwork was originally unpainted. Someone may have stripped it-look closely in the grooves for paint remnants. Many homes in this era were built with painted woodwork. The heavy ornate woodwork of the Victorian era (a few years earlier) was naturally finished but often of cherry, mahogany, rose wood etc. I think this wood is more of a paint grade.
You could check the tax office records for details as to age (many counties are online now). You can also find out details as to what it sold for last, which helps with your purchase offer. It looks like a nice house.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2011 at 9:17PM
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I'm thinking I should post a pic of the exterior of my home.
It's nearly identical to yours! Mine,too,has nasty vinyl siding, and replacement windows. :( It also has the front porch sided with vinyl, where yours has railings and lattice. Where you have 2 windows up top, mine has a beautiful bay window which I love.I think the center part must be original, as it has wavy glass and a transom (?) above the center window. The sides are yucky replacements. I'm very curious to find out the style, as you are. It just doesn't seem to fit in with any of the styles out there...

    Bookmark   February 6, 2011 at 9:35PM
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The woodwork is by far one of my favorite features of the house. :)

hgtvjunkie, I looked around and I could not find any traces of paint anywhere, except on the trim next to the wall in some places, more than likely from bad paint jobs to the walls, themselves. But then again, some of the trim and the columns almost look too "new" - almost definitely having been refinished at some point.
I did actually find online records showing what it was appraised for in 2008, and what my landlord paid for it. He bought it dirt cheap, because it was a foreclosure. So, of course his asking price is closer to what it is actually worth.

Oh, and someone just sent me to this link. The second floor of the house is almost exactly the same as mine. The first floor, not so much - but PO -did- do a bit of "modernizing" in certain areas.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   February 6, 2011 at 10:01PM
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kindred_ny, I would love to see a picture of your house to make a comparison and check out that bay window! Oh and guess what! I totally forgot to mention that I took a little peek and found what I think is the original siding, UNDER the vinyl siding! Looks like shingle! :D

    Bookmark   February 6, 2011 at 10:44PM
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BGlad, here is a plan I found online which might be close to your house. You might have it reversed, which many builders and plan books could do.
About your woodwork, I don't think it's been refinished...mine looks very similar, and I know it is untouched. And, it was never painted--even kit houses specified either natural finish or paint as options, with stain being the preferred choice whether the wood was douglas fir, southern yellow pine or oak.
If anything has been done to your trim, I think at most it was another coat of shellac to even out the 'bumpy' spots which can occur after nearly a century. I'm torn about re-shellacking mine because I love the patina, but it would be nice if it was smooth again.
I think that the ceiling molding in your foyer is probably later, done when the tiles were put up. Can't tell from the pics, but is the opening to your dining room just a wide opening, or is there a door of some sort?

Here is a link that might be useful: Harris House Plan

    Bookmark   February 7, 2011 at 4:22PM
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Thanks for the plan and also your input on the woodwork, columbusguy1. I've come to the conclusion that maybe whoever built this house just did it however they wanted it. lol.
When you walk in the front door of my house, you're in the living room. Immediately to the left is the large opening to the dining room. Those are the two rooms that run along the front of the house. Both living room and dining room have doorways that lead to the kitchen.

Is that the opening you're talking about? Both doorways old have hinges for the original doors, but the doors themselves are missing. :/

Here is the dining area door to the kitchen.

And here is a picture showing both doors leading to the kitchen.

Sorry if the pictures are so large. I tried to re-size them.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2011 at 6:34PM
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Although I have more research to do, I've seen the term "vernacular style" which looks to mean " a common style for the area,but not any of the well-known styles. Just a plain ol' house". From what I've read, vernacular style can have "influences" from other styles. like a vernacular style with craftsman influence, for instance. Someone, please correct me if I'm way off on this one. I'm not above admitting when I'm less than an expert on a subject!

    Bookmark   February 8, 2011 at 6:31AM
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Vernacular style is a 'catch-all' phrase, like 'foursquare'. It just means a general relatively simple style with no dominant definable influence, though it can have elements of several.
My own house is a 'foursquare', but it also has elements of classical revival in the columns in my foyer, the egg-and-dart moldings on the mantel and front door, while my stained glass is art nouveau. My porch columns, being square, are etruscan rather than roman.
Many builders used plan books as inspiration rather than a direct source for plans--what may look like a Sears house, unless it has stamped timbers or matches dimensions exactly, is not a Sears house--since those companies who furnished materials gave no room for odd sizes.
It is very strange, B, that your living and dining rooms are both in the front, and both enter the kitchen--I don't recall seeing that in my twenty-odd plan books!

    Bookmark   February 8, 2011 at 7:30AM
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Thanks, Columbusguy! I'm thinking my house falls under that category,then! LOL. Here's my very similar home!

    Bookmark   February 8, 2011 at 6:21PM
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Wow! It is pretty similar! I wish I had a bay window. :)
I don't even know what else to say about my house. It's so odd. Thank you to everyone who's had something to say about it. It helps a lot. The next time I speak to my landlord, I'm going to ask him if he can look into the year it was built.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2011 at 11:22AM
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