What 'Style' is my House?

krycek1984August 22, 2010

I posted on oldhouseweb too, but I'll post here too because I like Gardenweb a lot :).

I'm wondering what kind of style my home is. It was built in 1910. It is in Cleveland, OH. The first floor has all original woodwork and trim, built-in cabinets, doors, railing, etc. The kitchen has been updated but the original trim still remains. The upstairs has been renovated a bit, but hasn't taken away from the "old house" charm. One thing we love is that they replaced all the plaster with drywall.

Anyhoo, below are pics of my house. Any ideas? I'm thinking it's a "transitional" house - that is, transitional between the popular Victorian style that was just ending around 1910 and the Colonial Revival look that was coming into style. It seems to have characteristics of both from the outside. It certainly does not have Queen Anne in its DNA, though!

Currently there is vinyl siding on the house with new soffit, etc. The only "old" thing remaining is the decorative shingle work on the peaks of the front. The original wood siding is beneath the vinyl, but I never took a peak.

I would love to know the style, or if someone has any idea what it would have originally looked like. We'd like to "restore" it. I'm sure it must have had more decorative features. I've looked at quite a few old house plans on antiquehomes.org but couldn't find a match.

We did learn that apparently, the front porch did not have a roof/balcony originally. Apparently it was just an open-top porch. Also, the right half of the porch is older - the wood on it is old wood (narrow tongue and grove planks); the wood on the left portion of the porch in front of the bay windows is newer (by new I don't mean 1990 lol - probably 1950 or 60 maybe?). So that could be a key piece of its history and how it looked.

Ideas? I am hoping someone stumbles across this picture and can see its "true" nature behind the vinyl and the roofed-porch that didn't exist. There is some sort of structure beneath the right side of the porch.

Here she is. This pic is from a few weeks ago - I just finished painting the railing white, the steps are now painted cream, and the masonry is now fully brown:

From 2010-07-13 From 2010-07-13

These stupid vinyl half-rounds are NOT original lol:

From 2010-07-07

Side of house. The bump out for the stairs above the door is topped with a cross-gable that the tree is hiding from this pic:

From 2010-07-07

Maybe the interior will help too:

From 2010-07-07

Living room/Parlor here. You can see the fireplace and built-ins to your left. All 10' ceilings:

From 2010-07-07

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Whatever the style is, it's beautiful! Your hard work shows, I'll have to try that, lol.
I'm not the best (likely the worst) one to answer the question - & I can't, so go figure. I'll be asking the same question myself soon - and mine should be easy, IMO. However, I've been researching for mine, and seems like the roof is a key part of Id-ing. In my case, anyway. Is there any way to get a photo from farther back so we can see the "big picture", so to speak? :-)
Looks like trees and such might prevent that. It looks SO familiar! I know I've seen something close, recently. (So many sites & hours - where was that??).
What is the flooring in the room you show? Such a high gloss, and I can't see floor-boards. (I'm limited to my blackberry, so image is small for me). My (3 & 10 year old) boys have taken my laptop hostage.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2010 at 5:49PM
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I will try to get a "big picture" photo tomorrow when it is sunnier. It's difficult because it's a very compact urban neighborhood, but I'll try!

If I imagine the house with the vinyl siding gone, and half the porch gone (the left side is newer than the right side), and decorative elements being added, I could see it being late Victorian/Free-Classic. It's hard to know though.

My guess is that the full front porch was added in the 50's or 60's. The style was very common in Cleveland for a simple gabled colonial house like mine to have "double decker" front porches. Maybe a bit of "keeping up with the jones".

The most aggravating thing I am having trouble with is that I"ve seen similar houses in photos, but most have the main roof being a hip roof, not a gable roof.

So, I suppose when it was built, there was a porch on the right ending where the bay window bumpout begins.

Any thoughts? If we can confirm that it was indeed a late/free-classic victorian, we'd put significant money into restoring it.

The flooring in the rooms, I'm not sure what colour it is. It is high gloss stained a very dark, just like the trim...almost mahogany colour. It's probably oak or something, don't know for sure.

I'm convinced it's a free-classic/late/edwardian victorian. It's just not right for a typical 30's Cleveland colonial. And it always bugged me that the front porch didn't really "fit". My partner doesn't believe me, though.

Thoughts????????? I need help! LOL

    Bookmark   August 22, 2010 at 5:57PM
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Krycek- I'd say a later Queen Anne style...we have them all over Spokane, especially in the Gonzaga University area. If it used to have a half porch, and with that two story bay window, that would be my guess. It's a beautiful house.

Next time I'm in town, I'll try to remember to drive over and see if any of the houses are a close match. If they are, I'll take a picture for you :)

It may be a few weeks, but I won't forget...we don't go into town much anymore. Boy, do I sound like I've been living in the country for a while! LOL

I think you're right, the original wood is probably oak or something not quite so dark. I had some friends in college, who lived in a similar home that had been turned in to apartments. I don't remember the wood (before I was that interested in old houses) but it was not as dark and shiny. Any clue to the original wood, looking at the inside of the built-ins...or did they refinish those, too?

Tell your partner I think YOU are right :)

    Bookmark   August 22, 2010 at 8:02PM
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Folk Victorian is more like it. Queen Anne homes are more complicated. It may even have originally been a shingle-style home. Or a mix of all three, as most builders then, as now, are not purists, but choose whatever combination of styles and features they like.

To return it to its original style, compare it with similar homes in the neighbourhood.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2010 at 9:00PM
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I'm on the fence about restoring. Our neighborhood isn't all that great, but it is getting better. A block away there are restored houses, and another block, restored Queen Anne's, but our block is a transition zone to a worse area. Any dense urban area like this changes block by block.

Therefore, restoring our home is probably an unwise financial decision. We probably would not get what we put into it. But, if money were no issue, I'd love to restore it. Of course, the issue is that the outside as it stands now is in very good condition, which makes it difficult to justify a full restoration because it's not exactly crumbling or in poor condition.

Tough decisions, eh? LOL.

We have another old house in the exurbs that my partner will inherit. It is in a bit rougher shape. It's a great house and there's absolutely nothing wrong with it - it could stand for 100 more years. But as far as style goes, it's been added-on, some old woodwork was stripped, etc. If we are going to pour money into restoration I'd prefer to do it on that one, seeming how this one is in very good condition still.

I'm trying to think if there's anything I can do without having to replace the vinyl on this house. Maybe some spindles on the gables, and maybe redoing the balcony and porch railings, as well as supports, to look more Victorian?

    Bookmark   August 22, 2010 at 9:12PM
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Krycek- Which house do you plan to live in, or maybe both? It sounds like you're still trying to decide what to do with the houses. You said you were drawn to this house...what do you love most about it? What do you think of the other house (that's the one with the enclosed front porch, right?) Do you have a preference for location or garden?

It looks like you have a nice little deck on the back of this house. Do you use the front porch or balcony? Is the balcony safe and accessible? If you use them, then adding some details might make them fit in with the style of your house. If you don't use them, then maybe take down the railings around the upper balcony and either keep the front porch, or replace it with a half porch, eventually. Porches are wonderful, but if you don't use them, they can block a lot of light, especially with those beautiful bay windows.

Whatever you decide to do, I think you have a perfect front yard for a garden. Maybe trim the tree up a bit and replace the gate with a new gate and arbor. If you want to keep the fence, you could plant shrubs and plants all around the perimeter, which would look very nice. And the front of the house is the perfect place for roses and other climbing plants...and maybe some hanging pots with flowers. I would probably go a little rose crazy...especially since you don't have to worry about deer :)

    Bookmark   August 23, 2010 at 12:41PM
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Krycek, that is a seriously wonderful house. The porch looks to me as though it could have been original in its entirety. You might want to consider the exposures in deciding both whether to keep the porch house-width and whether to keep it roofed.

Can you tell me where in Cleveland it is? My grandmother used to live at 126th and Woodland (which I think has now been gentrified to South Larchmere or something like that). There were wonderful one and two family frame houses on the cross streets, and it would be great if they were being restored.

Cheers and please keep us up to date on what you decide.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2010 at 3:18PM
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Lavender - well, there's all kinds of issues. LOL. I LOVE this house, I could stay here a very, very long time and be happy. But it is in the city and the neighborhood is so/so. Getting better, but I don't like worrying about break-ins. And ours yard is only 37x97, so with the parking pad out back, there's barely room for the dogs, grass, or gardens, but I've made do and have some very beautiful landscaping now.

The people across the street were really getting to me and if they kept up like they were last year I didn't know if I could stay here much longer...very ghetto, 10 hoodlums would hang out and it wasn't evne their house, the old people that lived there were moving drugs...I mean it wasn't a dilapidated drug house with crack you-know-whats coming in an out, but it was nonetheless an aggravation. They are much better this year after I contacted the Police Commander and city council. But it makes you worry about any future neighbors.

But, I LOVE this house, the yard I've learned to live with. I've made some great gardens. Wish I had more room for the doggies. Love the neighborhood...such an old classic neighborhood with tons to do, even if it is a bit rough, as most gentrifying neighborhoods are.

The old house is the opposite. It is on beautiful, beautiful, land, we can only see one neighbor through our pasture, the rest is woods. I love the property. And I love where it is...it's in a very nice area of the metro area. But I hate the house!!!!!!! I hate the ceilings most of all...some 7', some 7'6", some 8', and an ugly (to me, not to most I guess) wood-beam ceiling in the dining room that's kind of arts and crafts I guess. It's been added on 3 times and I can't stand it. To move there and be as happy with that house as with this house, we would have to put in 10's of thousands of dollars to renovate. While this one requires basically no renovation whatsoever. Not to mention neither of us like how the old house "feels", but that may change if it were extensively renovated. I just don't know. The main problem is that we wouldn't be able to move in and do reno's room-by-room - the kind of reno's I'd want to do would require a big reno at once due to structural issues. But god I love that property! And the 4 car garage. And the house its self is quite solid.

Now that we've lived here, with a master suite, 2.5 baths, and 10' ceilings, and a decent kitchen, it would be hard to go back.

There's always the fact that the old house is "free" because my partner is inheriting it LOL but, free doesn't always equal - good.

So yes, it's a very, very tough decision. For right now, we're here, and we're staying here. I love the house so much. And I am liking the neighborhood more and more. But god I love that land the old house is on! Tearing it down isn't an option.

honorbiltkit - Thank you for the compliment! My house is actually on W. 50th and Bridge...west side...most of the east side is real bad...I don't think anything is gentrifying there! They are building a lot of new houses, and all of that, but it isn't changing the neighborhood at all...same bad people move into those houses that were there before.

It's really really really bad over there...like, Detroit bad. That is an area I would not even drive through! Most of the revitilization is happening on the near west and southwest side of the city.

Quite a lot of the houses on the east side have fallen, or are falling, into serious disrepair. It makes my partner and I sad...his Grandma used to live somewhere near 80th and Central, I believe...the houses there were/are gorgeous..just going down the crapper :(. I wish things were different.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2010 at 3:31PM
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It's been altered with the new siding and the porch but parts of it remind me of our Queen Anne. We have the bay "towers" as I call them that are similar. Ours has the fish scale siding though. it's new, but is patterned after the original. Perhaps more of a folk style, or "Americanized" version?

    Bookmark   August 24, 2010 at 6:48PM
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It's too bad the cost of moving 1 house is, (I assume), so high - not to mention 2! It sounds like were you able to "switch" house locations you could have the house you love on the land you love - and be in heaven. Of course, the foundation footprints(?) wouldn't match, structural integrity of both houses likely compromised? Heck, I don't know. I'm just dreamin' for ya, lol! Endless $$$, and a perfect world, it could work out great. You both would be so happy!
People do move old houses - there was a tv show about it a while back - they seemed to be "those" people. The ones with plenty of money & not worried about mortgages (YET). :-)

    Bookmark   August 24, 2010 at 8:27PM
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Krycek- I would move to the country...but that's because I did! LOL

Seriously, a house is wonderful, but I wouldn't trade all the beautiful B & B houses I've ever seen, for our little double wide. If we get the chance to remodel the farmhouse, that would be fun, but I love WHERE we live. It's wonderful to not have to lock your doors during the day, to know your neighbors (and they're nice) to have space and plenty of room for kids/animals/gardens...whatever you decide to have.

As for the feeling of the house, it may be that your dislike for the architecture is influencing you...and possibly any feelings towards you (if you know what I mean). If you embrace the property and feel positive about your partner's family and look past the failings of the facade, I think you might be pleasantly surprised by your 'feelings' for the house :)

No crack dealers, just the creek behind the house and the occasional coyote.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2010 at 7:20PM
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Lavander-Lass, I'm trying SO hard not to dislike you right now, lol! I swear, I would live in a camper for that view! Our dream is to live in the country. Someday, somehow... Seriously, the quiet, the coyotes, those pines... Enjoy every second, that's priceless! :-)

    Bookmark   August 25, 2010 at 11:21PM
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It is quite a beautiful view, isn't it??????

Lavender, you always know just what to say!!!!! It's not a bad house (the one out in the exurbs). Those 7'6" ceilings GOTTA go though, that's my main sticking point, and I'm sure that will be costly to remedy. We'll eventually move back there. I'm still scared of the aliens but lol I can get over it. We shall see!

As far as our current house, I found out that the Cleveland Historical Society comes out for free to help you figure out what details have been covered up/missing and helps you figure out 1. what was there and 2. how to restore it. For free! Yay! I will have them come out before winter. It'll be interesting!

Thank you everyone for your kind comments! I will keep the board updated as to what happens when the Historical Society stops on by. And in a few days I'll have pictures of the front after I finish painting the railings and posts.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2010 at 12:11AM
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I don't have a clue what style this is, but looks a bit Victorian? It is a beautiful old home, and you are so lucky. We moved from Western Washington to North Western ND in 2001 after retirement, and bought an 80 acre piece of flat treeless farmland. We put in the utilities, and a daylight basement, and had a 1968 ranch moved from another farmstead over here. We looked, and looked for a house simular to yours, but all the older homes here in our area were falling down, and beyond repair. I would have given my eye teeth to have a home like yours. You are so lucky. Since my marriage 50 years ago, we have always lived out in the country, but I was raised a city girl. With the drug situation now, I sure can understand your concern about where your current house is located. How far is it from it, to your land in the country? Depending on the density, sometimes it is not too expensive to move a house, rather then renovate? Good luck with what ever you decide to do, and once again, what a beautiful home you have.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2010 at 3:00PM
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I'm pretty sure it's a "late" Victorian. The interior trim is much more of the arts & crafts than ornate Victorian, but you can tell the outside has distinct late Victorian elements...after I've done some research. Certainly not a Queen Anne, though.

I've decided that we will be staying here a while. I LOVE this house so much! And the 10' ceilings on first floor, 9' on the second...I love it. I can't leave it! It makes it a bit hard to heat, but I'll take the high ceilings!

Thank you for your wonderful comments, I appreciate them so much. It's so nice to hear compliments like that. I guess when you live in a house day-in and day-out, you lose sight of what you have, and how nice it is. Sometimes I need to step back and just appreciate.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2010 at 9:44PM
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