New England Colonial cottage

DaiceyApril 29, 2011

New England Colonial cottage is what we were told the type of house is but it has a victorian door and window. I'm guessing there was an addition at some point. The house is thought to be dated back to approx. 1870's

We wanted to change the thin victorian columns (that were NOT original to house) to a rounder wider column.

The house has been altered inside & out. Trim & other parts have been ripped out by other owners. We have alumninum siding that is about to get torn off!

I know many purists may say restore to former beauty but I don't know what that is!

Bottomline is I would like to keep the victorian door painted black & add the columns.

What do you think style of house is and do you think keeping the "Victorian" type door would look silly with rounded columns?

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    Bookmark   April 29, 2011 at 9:15AM
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But those columns are appropriate for an 1870s Victorian house! Which what it is. And they appear to match the brackets very nicely. (They may be replacements, but if so, they were chosen carefully and are quite stylistically correct.)

Don't confuse a "New England Colonial house with a house built when New England was a colony, i.e. prior to 1776, or the early 19th century.

NE Colonial is not really an architectural style, it's more realtor-speak. There are "Colonial Revival" houses but they are later around turn of the century (1900) and are not like yours in massing or style.

Those turned polychrome (multi-coloured) columns are a perfect, and most likely original, element of your house. Fancier and fatter columns would be funny looking - and look like you were trying to fake-up an earlier period by applying Greek Revival (1820-1860) details.

Best of all, you seem to have almost a full set. You can have another one made to match the others on the big porch.

The only really odd (visibly altered) element are the shed dormers.

I went back and really studied your picture for signs that this house has any 18th- early 19th c details, i.e. "Colonial" (tried to see Federal, or Greek revival) and I just can't see it. It really looks to me like a very nice and surprisingly intact vernacular late-Victorian structure. With nice porch posts!

Aside from removing the siding, and considering adding corner boards, the only other things I'd consider would be blinds (shutters) and painting the storm window/door trim so it doesn't flash so much. You might find some opportunities for some fancy brackets (supports) under the bay window if the bay doesn't extend down to the floor. And with the siding off you may find evidence of some trim bands under the roof edges along the gable ends. Having contrasting trim there would serve to weight down the roof line visually and conteract the startled-eye look you have right now. If the trim was paintd the dark grey color, that would do the trick I think. (I expect you'd find evidence of that sort of trim if you take off the vinyl.)


    Bookmark   April 29, 2011 at 8:35PM
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Nice looking house! I agree about the columns. They look perfiect to me and seem to match the rest of the trim.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2011 at 2:29PM
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Looking through all my pattern books, you have a Victorian house, 1870s without a doubt. Under the siding, I think you will find clapboards, and probably some trace of shingles in the gable.

You ought to replace the end column with one to match the others--and get rid of that modern railing--it cries out for turned balusters! I'm not certain of the dormer roofs--they look odd, and I'd expect something with a gable like the left side of the house, or a hipped roof, but ones like that weren't unknown.

The windows are just right for a victorian in proportion, and like the others, I see NO sign of colonial style in either it's original or revival forms. Just a note, realtors almost universally know NOTHING about house styles--they only know a few terms to class things in their listings: ranch, split-level, townhouse, and the most abused is colonial. If you are basing your asssumptions on that, then you are being naive.

Previous owners may have stripped the inside, but the outside, except for the siding, looks pretty intact. Some interior pics before you decide to alter the inside would be a help--if you are seeing victorian trim then that is original also, rather than the alteration you are assuming.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2011 at 4:27PM
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In Maine the real estate agents call these houses New Englanders. yes, the house is a 1870's style, and very nice. I'm guessing the shed dormers were put on because the original dormers were damaged and sheds would have been cheaper, though they don't blend in very well.
Originally, there was possibly a paneled treatment under the bay window. I think the bay would look better if the siding under that window was painted the same color as the window trim.
You might enjoy my Victorian site.

Here is a link that might be useful: Victorian Interiors and More

    Bookmark   May 3, 2011 at 10:26AM
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Thanks for the responses and info. The shed dormers are being changed out today!

    Bookmark   May 3, 2011 at 10:58AM
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Kennebunker, yours is a very interesting blog that I enjoyed tremendously. Thanks for sharing.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2011 at 3:05PM
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