Return to the Old House Forum | Post a Follow-Up

Just when you think they aren't any more surprises.........

Posted by antiquesilver (My Page) on
Tue, Jan 18, 11 at 15:20

you find another piece of insight into the house's history.

After 22+ years of ignoring the many coats of paint on the parlor fireplace mantel, I decided my winter project would be to heat strip it & then paint. It's pine & very plain but I've done 2 others like it & know what a bear they are to strip after 150 years of heating/cooling - hence the procrastination. Nothing different until I started on the 'column' portion. When the paint came off (& I use the expression loosely, LOL), a distinct pattern remained - my mantel was faux marbled! Certainly not any valuable find but another clue as to how the interior looked in 1858. This can't be salvged but now I have to decide if I want to continue my plan of painting it black or having someone marblize it white w/black-grey streaks.

Who else has made interesting discoveries after decades?

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Just when you think they aren't any more surprises.........

Well, this is more of a re-discovery I guess. For the past 3 summers we have been painting our exterior (basically done as of this Sept). The new paint job has proven how out of place the aluminum storm door on the kitchen looks. I knew the original wood storm door was in the basement, and plan to repaint and replace that in the Spring. BUT, we also have an aluminum storm door on an exit to the balcony off of our second floor master bedroom. It doesn't bother me as much, because from the front of the house it basically matches the 3 aluminum storm windows that are also on the front of the house, if you don't look too closely. A few weeks ago I was in the attic digging through clothes bins for the kids and realized that there is a wooden storm door up there too ~ the only place I can figure it came from is that bedroom door! Yay ~ I never gave that old door a second thought until that moment. We have lived in our house for over 12 years. All of the original storm windows were in the basement, broken off double-hung window weights are in the attic and the original swinging door from the kitchen/pantry are in the attic... I just never noticed that wood storm door before. So now I guess I will have 2 wooden doors to re-paint this spring ;)

RE: Just when you think they aren't any more surprises.........

antiquesilver - faux marble is a fun discovery! I hope you have before and after pics to show us! I have tried faux marble, but I stink at it. I can do faux bois much better.

mrsrichards, you are lucky that the previous owner(s) were thoughtful enough to save those! No such luck at our house.

After removing many layers of wallpaper and cheesy wood paneling, I could see the shadow of the picture rail. Since I don't know what the original looked like, we bought new, but it does match the shadow. We also found that the door way between the kitchen and the dining room had been moved to accommodate the frig, which answered my question of the odd way the doorway molding was handled.

I love finding out stuff about old houses!

RE: Just when you think they aren't any more surprises.........

MrsRichards, I know exactly what you mean about not 'seeing' things that are right in front of you. It wasn't until 6-7 years had passed that I noticed that the upstairs, painted-over rimlocks (that didn't work) were actually the rarer Carpenter locks! I also found quite a few bits & pieces of original door hardware almost obliterated by the many layers of paint.

Diane, I doubt if I finish the mantel in faux marble; I'd want it to look authentic & I think that's beyond my skill level - & $$ is too tight right now to have it done professionally. I've taken pictures but it doesn't translate well - kinda like seeing the profile of the Virgin Mary in a potato chip! I did discover that the base color was a medium, slightly greenish grey so it didn't imitate Carrara.

It's great that you found a moulding to match the picture rail. I think that would be a godsend with plaster walls.

RE: Just when you think they aren't any more surprises.........

After years of thinking the porch off the driveway was original to the house we found out when we started working on the new porch not only was it not original but one of four porches that had been on that spot over the years.

We also found out when they started stripping the siding for the new porch that at some point in time someone blew in insulation in part of the house. Under the siding were perfectly round holes.

Another find......the house at one time had been heated with coal. We kind of knew that from stuff we found in the basement. What we didn't know is that they had used the coal ash to fill in some of the old foundation for the porch.

I can't wait till spring and we start phase two of the exterior work. We finish the porch in front we then go to the porch in the back.I don't expect to find anything interesting in that redo BUT the one after it when we start messing with the stone patio.....That's where I expect to find some surprises. Most of the stone is hand cut you can see the chisel marks on the edges. I've got to believe they used alot of muscle when they laid those stones. Some are at least four feet wide and 3 feet long and several inches thick.

 o Post a Follow-Up

Please Note: Only registered members are able to post messages to this forum.

    If you are a member, please log in.

    If you aren't yet a member, join now!

Return to the Old House Forum

Information about Posting

  • You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
  • Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
  • After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
  • Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
  • We have a strict no-advertising policy!
  • If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
  • If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.

Learn more about in-text links on this page here