What style is our house?

bry.nhMay 11, 2009

We recently purchased our first home. The town has it listed as a cape, but obvioulsy it is not a cape. I'm thinking bungalow, but I'm not sure. We've driven all around town, but cannot find any similar homes, which seems odd.

*The house was built in 1905.

*2600 sq feet (is that too big to be a bungalow??)

*10 rooms total, 3 bedrooms and a bathroom upstairs.

*Hipped roof, with four dormers - one dormer on each side of the roof.

*High ceilings on the first floor (10ft maybe)

*Open front porch

*No fireplace (which also seems strange for the age of the house and being in NH) and there are no signs of where a fireplace may have been.

*Full basement

Here are a few pics...




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I don't know what style it is...but I LOVE the unpainted wood!! Don't paint it! I purchased an old craftsman and there are at least 10 coats of paint on all the trim. Its goopy from all the coats. Once its painted, it cant be restored without big $$. Some beautiful doors you have there too.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2009 at 9:31PM
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What a pretty house! I don't know what style either. Agree with gamecock about the woodwork.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2009 at 11:11PM
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What a fantastic house! There is actually one on our block that is similar (I live in NY state) and I've never seen one like that before. I'd agree with everyone hoping you won't paint the woodwork, with all of the exterior changes that were made on the house, it's fantastic they didn't paint that woodwork!

As for style, when looking in my handy dandy "Field Guide to American Houses" by Virginia and Lee McAlester, I'd say it's a colonial revival with some Victorian influences. Colonial revival always feels pretty cut and dry in my mind, it's that funky-ness that's the victorian side- that gable on hip roof for example. Remember that during that time, architectural styles were very fluid.

I'm sure there will be others with more knowledge than I that will throw in their two cents- but it's a fantastic house, enjoy.

As a side, I'm curious about the exterior, clearly siding and some awnings were put on- but it feels like there would have been more exciting things around your door. I'm surprised that there aren't side lights on either side of it. I'd also be curious if the porch originally went further along the front, the house similar to this one in my neighborhood has a rather large porch. It's possible that they did a major exterior renovation and when they did took out the chimney and fireplace. Fun mysteries-

    Bookmark   May 12, 2009 at 10:18AM
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The house was actually converted into a two-family home back in the 70s and then put back into a single family home a few years ago. From what we can tell they split the house right down the middle (you can see where a wall had been down the center of those beams on the ceiling). So I don't know if the front door is the original, but at least it's old =) I don't know exactly how those two small windows were originally either. Also, by looking at the floor in the front hallway, you can see where there were two half walls - I'd love to know what the entryway was like before those were taken out. Luckily there is tons of old wood (parts of the stairway, old trim and whatnot) in the basement. I don't think the previous owners threw anything away, so it'll be lots of fun seeing what we can salvage and put back!

The outside of the house is asbestos siding, boo! But we found that there are clapboards underneath the asbestos, not sure what kind of shape they're in, but we may decide to take down the asbestos and salvage the clapboards in the future. I think a good paint job and removing those awnings will do wonders for curb appeal for the short term.

As far as the trim goes... sorry folks, but yes, I do plan on painting it. Some of it at least. I think we'll keep the doors stained. I just think all that stained woodwork is too busy.

Thanks for the feedback.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2009 at 6:17PM
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I strongly suspect that the house was actually built as a duplex. The odd transoms were over individual entry doors. Duplexes (and quad- and six-plexes) of similar arrangement were awfully popular at that time.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2009 at 8:51PM
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Wow, bry.nh, you have a very COOL old house. I bet Casey is right that it was built as a duplex. It would make total sense that those little windows were over two front doors, and the rest is so symmetrical. You are also lucky the PO left woodwork and house parts for you. It will be like putting a puzzle back together. You say you've recently purchased this house as your first home... Congratulations! Your plans to someday restore the clapboad siding are admirable. I have only one suggestion and we see it often on this forum; live in the house at least a year before you make any big changes and learn about old houses and specifically get to know yours, so you'll know what's right for the house.

I am not going to try and talk you out of painting your woodwork, it's your house and you get to make the decisions. My house, for example, is a 1913 bungalow and I feel very fortunate that through about 5 previous owners no one painted the woodwork and it survived in its original stained form. My neighbor is now dealing with her desire to strip the painted woodwork in her house, versus the time and effort it takes away from being a mom, etc. I'd just encourage you to give it some time, you may change your mind about it being too busy. My own opinion is that your woodwork is beautiful. ...Eye of the owner, however :-)
Enjoy your 1905 gem!

    Bookmark   May 14, 2009 at 2:05PM
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It has a lot of the four square style from the outside, but the inside also has Craftsman style wood, etc., so I see it as a mix. It was built around the right time for those two styles to overlap.

Here is a link that might be useful: four square details

    Bookmark   May 15, 2009 at 11:02AM
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