My turn! What is my house?!

ks_toolgirlNovember 14, 2010

Or should I say, "what isn't it"!

I can't wait any longer to ask! Now that I can finally post pics, I've made myself wait - not wanting to "over-post". But it's been driving me nuts for years, trying to narrow it down. A lot of A&C influence, it seems to me, but this roof!!

It looks short & fat in the pics, (guess it's true about horizontal stripes - which is why I never wear them!).

So what is she? "Kansas Vernacular Hodge-podge Farmhouse Eclectic Craftsman/Victorian"?

We're surrounded by typical (old & cool!) Craftmans, like the tan one in background. Single level, low pitched roof - square columns -everywhere on the block. We stand out like a tall white steeply-pitched round-column thumb! (And I like it, lol).

I'm now wondering if she isn't a "kit house", found blue grease pencil marks in 2 places this month. (Under stairs on back of riser below landing - MY initials! S/L, stairs/lower?). I guess the "kit house" theory would explain a lot. To quote DH, "the guy that built this place did a heck of a good job, especially so - considering he obviously didn't own a tape measure.". (Smart-alec, lol). Any thoughts? I'd appreciate it!

"S/L". ;-)

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I don't see Craftsman or Victorian at all---you may be on to something with "farmhouse eclectic," though! :) has a nice house styles guide with photos---that might be a great place to start. How old is your house? That might help you take a look at potential kit houses that it could have been, too.

Here is a link that might be useful: House Styles Guide

    Bookmark   November 14, 2010 at 8:58PM
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I don't know...I look at it and sort of see it as a "cottage" style.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2010 at 10:16PM
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Thank you for trying, Artemis! It seems crazy to me, that I can't find this online - anywhere! It looks like it would be common!
I went through the site you posted (again). I've been through them all & mine doesn't seem to fit anything. I mentioned Craftsman because of the simple nature & the 2 (remaining?) built-ins are simple mission style. (I know - no interior pics to help, I'll get onto that!) And Victorian because of the steep roof, doesn't fit that style, but doesn't fit any others either.
I'd hoped that once I could post pictures, someone could help.
I'll try to add pics of interior tonight.
Thanks! :-)

    Bookmark   November 14, 2010 at 10:30PM
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I've seen several just like it in reprinted style books--will check tomorrow, but they are all from around the 1880-1920 period. Any chance of interior pics?

    Bookmark   November 15, 2010 at 4:45AM
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Thanks, Jiggreen. :-) I hadn't taken the "cottage" idea seriously, because of the size, I guess. The pic makes her look smaller. The tan bungalow next door in the top pic is literally 15' from my side porch - unfortunately (weird rental neighbors). DH says our roof peaks are 30' or more, which is why I'll never have christmas lights up there. Sigh. (He has "height issues" - anyone have a cherry-picker, lol?).
Colombusguy, thank you! I've hoped someone would have an idea for me! I'm having camera problems so I can only post older pics, before & at very beginning of projects. I'll upload a couple, in a few minutes (takes me a while, lol).

    Bookmark   November 15, 2010 at 1:36PM
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Your roof style is cross gabled. The date your house was built would be really helpful in establishing style. The other thing is it looks like it was sided and when it was sided, probably much of the window moldings and any other exterior decorative features would have been taken off. Those items would also be helpful in figuring out the style.

I also don't see arts and crafts in the house. Without knowledge of the date or the possible decorations that might have been there, I'd go with National Folk Style. Since you are thinking it might have been a kit house, it probably isn't that (National Folk is known for 1840- 1890, I think pre-kit house). Another idea, the roof line is so Gothic revival to me. I know that doesn't make sense with the simplicity of the rest of the house, but it might have made more sense before the house was sided. Gothic Revival is about the same time period as national folk.

Great house! Thanks for sharing it!

    Bookmark   November 15, 2010 at 2:00PM
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Autumngal, thank you. The cross-gable I had figured out, even that took me a while, lol! Greek revival had occured to me, w/the round columns & symmetry, but not gothic. Uh, the siding, yeah... I did that. Before I knew better! I didn't let them remove anything, under the crap I had put on is a layer of asbestos (assumed, anyway) shingles over clapboard. (All layers white, appear to never have been any other color). Details could have been removed long ago, but it just doesn't "feel" like it ever had anything fancy, does that make sense? :-)
Ok, some pics...
Picture of middle bedroom upstairs. (Weird layout up there). The flooring is an old linoleum rug. I painted the walls that green color, then that was there when I pulled the grey berber carpet up. I could get rid of it, its not glued down, but I like it & figure its protecting the unfinished floor for now. The white spots on it are from the flippers slopping paint & drywall compound everywhere. Pigs. (I got a lot of it off, had to stop for now).

This is built-in cabinet under stairs, a LONG time ago.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2010 at 2:48PM
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A Cape Cod shape with a late Victorian cross-gable and restrained classical detailing says Colonial Revival to me.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2010 at 3:54PM
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Macv, I'll check into that. Another style possibility I had discarded, as it didn't seem to fit. I thought a hallmark trait of cape cod shape was rectangular. (Should I have mentioned mine is square? Oops, lol). 30'x 30'sides w/30' peak. There are exceptions to every rule, I imagine... So I'll look at some more Capes also.
I really appreciate the responses, from everyone! As far as the "kit house" idea goes - I jumped onto that from nothing more than 2 scribbles w/a blue grease pencil. (Like nobody else ever used 'em?). :-). The best thing about a kit house would be seeing the original floor plans! Floppers changed most of 1st floor layout & I don't know how it used to be. (Yep... "Floppers", not a typo - I've changed it for this type of destruction).

    Bookmark   November 15, 2010 at 4:40PM
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You should not take the elements of house "style" so literally. I didn't mean to imply that the house conforms to any "rule" attributed to a Cape Cod style house or that it is in any way a Cape Cod style house.

In my opinion, of the many historic styles that inspired the Colonial Revival style, the simple one-story, steep-roofed, dormerless house might have been the inspiration for this house.

It might also have been inspired by the Queen Anne style and/or Folk Victorians. But because of the classical columns (which might not be original) I would say the designer was operating under the general approach of the Colonial Revival period modifying ideas from the past and adding classical treatment.

However, your house is so modest that it is difficult to be sure of anything but I can tell you for certain that there is no superficial evidence that it was inspired by the Craftsman, Gothic Revival or Greek Revival styles since unlike the Colonial Revival style, these styles are readily identifiable.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2010 at 7:34AM
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A good small antique house site.

Here is a link that might be useful: site

    Bookmark   November 16, 2010 at 8:10AM
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That lino rug is worth a small fortune. Research it and try to save it if possible (I can't find one under ten grand). And no I'm not kidding lol.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2010 at 2:29AM
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Macv, thank you. :-) I've come to the conclusion this house won't have a named style - many don't. Your earlier post had said "cape cod shape", so I assumed you thought it was rectangular. You may well be right though, as I said - there are exceptions! Many, I realize, are a combination of things the original owner liked. I like what this original owner chose, also, lol.
Igloochic - I know! I've researched them since I found it. I'd let it go, but I love it - and it has the exact shade of green in it that I'd painted on the wall a year before I pulled the wall-to-wall carpet up (& threw it out the window). Hard to tell, its a poorly taken picture.
There's one upstairs room left w/carpet... I pulled up a corner to peek last year, and there's another lino rug underneath! DH would kill me if I pulled that carpet up before finishing other projects... Dangit - I may never really see it, lol. (I do know it's shades of brown w/some red). :-)

    Bookmark   November 17, 2010 at 3:37AM
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Toolgirl, I'm so ENVIOUS!!! I love the look of the linoleum rugs! Bonus for you! And isn't it funny how the house just "wants" a certain color? I picked a shade of green for the downstairs. Later on, a chip of paint came off the white(painted! UGGG!) door frame to reveal a color way too similar to be just coincidence. I truly believe our homes know what they want and they speak to us somehow. It just depends whether we listen or not. :-)

    Bookmark   November 17, 2010 at 6:20AM
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Even if historic Colonial Cape Cod houses had only one plan shape it would not matter in the revival style version.
The important architectural shape is one story with a steep roof.

"The Code is more what you'd call guidelines than actual rules." Capt. Hector Barbossa

    Bookmark   November 17, 2010 at 12:01PM
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Well, holy (beep)! I took DH's word for it, and it looks like it... But it's NOT SQUARE! (Shoulda known, since nothing inside is, either, lol!!).
Today I got out the paperwork from the inspection @ purchase. Included is sketch of the house w/dimensions.
30'x 30'? Nope! 24'x 36.5.
So, she IS a bit of a rectangle after all. (Yeah, I cld measure it, myself, but snow/rain today - didn't want to mess w/it).
Also - saw in attic that the bottom layer of roofing is wood shingles. Who knew? 2nd layer... Green! Just like I chose for top layer! (What IS it with this house and "green"?) :-)

    Bookmark   November 17, 2010 at 9:32PM
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ks, think you could use Paint to draw us a floorplan?
Found a couple houses similar to yours in S.B. Reed's book 'Victorian Dwellings For Village and Country' reprinted by Dover Books. It was published originally in 1885. One on page 1o has no cross-gable, and the one on 20 has a full second story with the gables. You should be able to find a copy on Amazon or at your library. The description calls them 'cottages' since they are small--but some of the books will use the term for houses over 1500 square feet also!
Got a couple more books ordered, will check those when they arrive.
I would imagine any details were removed when the first layer of siding was put on--they didn't bother to keep details as it was too time consuming to try going over them.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2010 at 1:39PM
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Columbusguy, I can do better than that, I think. :-) I have the "day off" today, child free, (we'll call it Teachers In-service/mommy's recharge Day, lol). I'll scan the sketch from the report & post it.
Funny, I spent my entire life until recently doing CADD work, even worked for an architect for a while drafting house plans - but never did my own house! (The Cobbler's children having no shoes comes to mind, lol!). I need to re-install my cad program on my computer & get on that. :-)
Thank you, btw, for the info about the book! I'll see if the library has it - if they don't, they can order it.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2010 at 2:03PM
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Your roofline looks a lot like the front of my farmhouse, circa 1904. It's doesn't have the cross gable, just the gable in front and back. No front porch, just flat across the front. We also have a very similar enclosed porch on the side.

The columns look like they were added later (maybe 1920s?). I almost wonder if the front gable, porch and front window were an addition in the 1920s or 1930s. I'm no expert, but it looks like maybe the front door was the original part of the house, and the porch, bumpout and front gable, were added later?

We have those same tall, skinny windows on the upstairs front and back, too :)

My guess would be your house was built between 1900 and 1910.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2010 at 9:36PM
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Sorry, "flaky Sara strikes again". Cable tv & internet in house were worked on for hours today (many hours!). Yep. The ONE day I could use computer w/out kids here - wanting to use it first. Great.
Lavender, the main reason I know FOR SURE the porch wasn't part of an add on or bump-out is... And this is odd, I think...
The floor of the porch is the same as the living room. Meaning, the T&G continues from the interior to the exterior - it's been an issue w/DH. Can't figure out how to replace porch flooring, would have to saw-off the boards that go under exterior wall, into house. Am I making sense? WE will post images tonight, SOON. (But the foundation & subfloor go to the outside edge of the porch). I know - I wondered, myself!
Floor plan sketch coming right up...

    Bookmark   November 18, 2010 at 11:54PM
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Ok, finally just took a pic of it & went that route. I hope you can read it!

    Bookmark   November 19, 2010 at 5:09PM
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(On a somewhat unrelated note---we discovered blue grease pencil notes on an exposed beam in our kitchen this evening, and we're fairly certain our house isn't a kit house, so for whatever that's worth, they may just have been common tools in construction in that era....)

    Bookmark   November 19, 2010 at 11:05PM
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Thanks, artemis, I was suspecting as much, myself.

Is the sketch legible enough? I should note, the "coffered ceiling" in the front room is new - entire 1st floor ceiling was dropped by POs.

Doesn't look like (nearly) 1400 sq ft from the outside, does it? Odd...

    Bookmark   November 20, 2010 at 11:57PM
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Artemis - oops! I meant to ask, before... Can you read them, (the blue "notes"), did they make sense - and, if you wouldn't mind, what were they? Measurements, dates, intended location of piece?

Sorry to harp on it, but I'm having a hard time reading these, & would love to hear about yours & anyone elses.

Regarding the floor layout... Anyone have any ideas about what the main floor bathroom might have been? 12'X 10' or so seems excessive for a bathroom at the time, (whenever THAT was, lol). If it's relevant, we removed the drywall @ the foot of the stairs & found framing for an exterior door. ???
And WHY would they build the 2nd floor that way? To have to walk through the center bedroom to access each adjacent bedroom? There was room for a door at the top of the stairs to the front bedroom (labeled "F/R" on sketch...?). There's one there, now, but not at the time he did the inspection. It makes no sense to me! Ugh.
Thank you all, for your patience with me! :-)

Sorry to keep bothering ya'll. 10 years or so worth of confusion & finally found people w/knowledge enough to provide "educated guesses", at the very least? I'm all over it, lol.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2010 at 1:27AM
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The building may have been a barn or a carriage house and converted to be a house after the main building burned down or perhaps after the original barn or carriage house burned down or fell down. Often the only evidence is at the foundation level.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2010 at 11:12AM
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That probably wasn't originally a bathroom. That sounds like a bedroom that was converted to a bath, when indoor plumbing became available. Notice the windows match the front bedroom.

Also, a den between two bedrooms, would make more sense. Was the closet in the front bedroom, added on later? It kind of looks like it might have been, which would make sense that there's no closet in the back room.

What's the little room behind the kitchen? Is it an eat-in kitchen? Sorry, I'm having a hard time reading that part of the plan :)

    Bookmark   November 21, 2010 at 2:24PM
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Lavender, I suspected a small bedroom as well. There's a strange "door" situation in that area of the house that's hard to explain... Basically, if you had walked down the stairs to the 1st floor, you'd have been faced with 3 doors. (?). The door to the outside, & an interior door on each side. (The "bathroom" door, and a door to the "den"). We can see where the hardware was removed from the trim.
I had researched (Polk Directory) back to abt 1913, (had to stop there, got busy & haven't been back to library for while) a doctor was listed at this address @ that time - I've joked to DH that our bathroom was his "office", lol! (Thus the 3rd entrance, and the extra door closing it off from the rest of the house). Doc's niece was listed as tenant for a bit, attending the college a block over - a "boarding" situation would probably make more sense. (Not a better story, tho'!). :-)
The closet is "new", most walls on 1st floor are. (Framing & all, grr!). I doubt the wall between LR & bedroom wouldve been angled like this, either. (Made a larger, more "mod" living rm, yuck!).
The small room off the kitchen was a laundry/utility room when we moved in. Now it's a pantry/utility room. (Nowhere else to put the big dang furnace & water heater!). One "original" use I've considered is a "butlers pantry", which didn't seem to require a butler even back then. The trap-door to the cellar is there, makes using the room tricky.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2010 at 3:58PM
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I have a you have that same metal trim, on the back gable? Where the gable meets the rest of the roof?

You're probably right about the doctor's entrance, but I wonder if it could be the original entry to the house? Our old farmhouse has a similar layout, with the door in the middle and an equal sized room, on each side. Do you have a really steep staircase, that seems like it could use a few extra feet, so you aren't climbing a ladder? :)

I know you found the tongue and groove, going from the living room to the porch. That still sounds like a possible 1920s addition, maybe an expansion of the living room, porch and front bedroom.

I'm probably wrong, but it does make me wonder. Putting the front gable on, would be the perfect way to tie in the addition and add the front bedroom upstairs. Just a thought....

    Bookmark   November 21, 2010 at 5:49PM
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Sorry, I meant to add, that would also explain the angled wall and the walk through den...if the den was originally the front bedroom. The angled wall really doesn't make sense, unless it was added later, maybe to make the porch the same width as the front bedroom?

    Bookmark   November 21, 2010 at 5:53PM
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ks, since your downstairs has been altered, I did an image of the one I mentioned in an earlier post which is similar to yours, but without the cross gables. The text says the attic has space for three bedrooms since it has two windows in front.
Since a doctor lived there, the idea of that back room being an office isn't so unusual, which would explain the third door.
I still say that the porch is original and just where it should be according to several plans I've seen in books.
Anyway, the link is to a pic I did of the floorplan. The central small rectangle is a chimney, and the stairs go to the attic. The text says the hall has a colored glass window, and the kitchen has one at the bottom of the stairs--the front room has three done as one unit, sorry I couldn't tell where the others were from the plan.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   November 21, 2010 at 10:35PM
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