Historically accurate building info?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by fransean, Mar 2, 2004.

  1. fransean

    fransean Well-Known Member

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    We recently bought a 1918 house that needs a lot of TLC :)
    I am currently looking for info on what the house would have looked for at that time.

    These are my questions:

    How do I locate original blueprints to determine the original structure?
    Where do I look for paint colors that are true to the period?
    What kinds of mouldings and doors?


    Any other info that you can think about that would help would be appreciated :worship:

    TIA
    Fransean
     
  2. RachL

    RachL Member

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    We have been working on a 1920 farmhouse in NC for almost 3 yrs. We found the blueprints and lots of info on the house at the townhall.
    The historical society or the library can also help you.
    We received the most help from the older people that grew up in our town. They invited us into their homes to show us how their homes looked, dug out old pictures, told us what they remembered about the family that built our home, went shopping with us, give us farming tips, etc.
    It definately pays to be friendly...lol!


    Try these websites.... http://www.oldhouseweb.com/
    http://architecture.about.com/library/bl-historic.htm


    **RachL**
     

  3. Kirk

    Kirk Well-Known Member

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    Around that time Sears sold houses so if you can't find original pictures you might want to look in the catalogs to see if your is one of theirs.
    Kirk
     
  4. AngieM2

    AngieM2 Big Front Porch advocate Supporter

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  5. fransean

    fransean Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the input!
    I did start to wonder if it was a Sears home - how cool would that be :cool:

    I have a lot of research to do......
    Fransean
     
  6. Jena

    Jena Well-Known Member

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    You can get books at the library that tell you how to investigate an old house. They tell you what to look for and what it means. Also books on architecture come in handy.

    My house was built in 1870. I'm awful with old houses...I start tearing things out just to see what's underneath. I found a tin ceiling in the kitchen behind the tiles someone installed. I also found all the old original cabinets which were built into the walls. I don't have the money or time to restore those things, so I just covered them back up again, but I know they are there.


    Some of my doors still have the old wood grain painting which was popular at the time. They used cheap wood, then painted them to look like wood.

    There are also websites with discussion boards on the internet somewhere.

    Jena
     
  7. fransean

    fransean Well-Known Member

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    I will probably hit the library tomorrow.

    I have been finding interesting things in my house too. Because of some falling ceiling tiles and water damage we ended up pulling the tacky 50's tiles off the floor and found real original hardwood floors! They need to be refinished but that will be cheaper in the long run than new floors and will look better also.

    I went looking into window treatments today - too much to choose from :confused: I count 16 windows in the house.

    Although not historically accurate :eek: I found a sale on Roman shades and will probably go with mostly those.

    Fransean
     
  8. BCR

    BCR Well-Known Member

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    Where are you? Even in our small town we have a Historic Preservation group anyone can join. We have an excellent State Historic Preservation agency as well. They both have lots of resources for what you are looking for. Check it out in your state.
     
  9. stickinthemud

    stickinthemud Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Check out www.oldhousejournal.com and OLD HOUSE JOURNAL magazine. Website has a bulletin board for talk about old house restoration, links for products, etc. Magazine has practical how-to articles on everything from fixing you-name-it to researching the history of your house.
    CW
     
  10. SueD

    SueD Well-Known Member

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  11. SueD

    SueD Well-Known Member

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    A few more thoughts... A friend just bought what we affectionately call her 1840 - 90 and 1910 house... LOTS of surprises were buried under the successive remodellings.

    Go into both basement and attic and check for 'unused' chimneys!!! She found her home had 4 of them, only one showing through the roof - others were literally 'cut' off at the successive floors.

    Also watch floors in bedrooms and say, the dining and living room for scorch marks. She found 3 - get this 3!!! - walled-off fireplaces, one of which is now a working one.

    She had a ceiling caving in as well, over what is now a library. I don't know if its true or not, but the construction guys told her that it would NOT be a good idea to re-do the area with drywall. She did, however, manage to get them to redo the plaster and slat at a cost that wasn't much more than she would have paid for the drywall, tapers, etc. If you are good at negotiating I would go this route. If not... I am not at all sure they why this would be the case.....

    Sue
     
  12. fransean

    fransean Well-Known Member

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    BCR - The house is in Michigan's Upper Peninsula but we currently live outside of Chicago so we don't get there very often. Planning on moving shortly :D

    stickinthemud -i had never heard of that magazine before I will definitely check it out - tell Mom to hold off on those cooking magazines she always wants to get me and send me a subscription I can use :rolleyes:

    Sue- thanks for all the good info, i do know that there is one old chimney that juts out into the living room but is covered over with plaster (probably a long time ago) we found what looks like an old coal bin in the basement too.
    I will check for those burn marks you mentioned because we would love to have a fireplace up north :)

    I am wondering how difficult plastering is? I think that unless I learn how to do it my DH might want to go with drywall - not my first choice.

    I view my house as a diamond in the rough ......very rough that is. I appreciate having so many like minded people to ask advice from.

    Fransean
     
  13. Steve in Ohio

    Steve in Ohio Well-Known Member

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    Our "Diamond in the Rough" .....no I think it was more like a big lump of coal..
    This Olde House