25 November 2012

Floorplan comparison

Here is another bit of comparison, for those who might want it. This is the floorplan of the house as we are guessing it was originally built, based on what we have found during renovations, compared to the floorplan from the catalog.

  • The tiny foyer was left out. Not uncommon.
  • The closet's doors were reversed whenit was built, either error or by request of the original owners, and its intervening wall was also omitted (we removed the closet wall into the large bedroom to make space for modern bedroom furniture, so it's gone now).
  • The location of the back door is guessed,  that wall was turned into a cutout into an extension onto a porch addition sometime between 1921 and 1950.
  • The dining room windows are assumed based on the catalog plan, also, because there was a poorly tacked on bay added in the 20s, at which time the entire dining room wall was removed. The bay was centered on the original window configuration, and is therefore not centered on the dining room itself. The plan's locations for these windows made the strange offset finally make some kind of sense!
  • The kitchen door was set in the hallway, rather than in the dining room, probably to accommodate an existing coal cook stove (left hand side orientation of the stack, probably, and perhaps a right hand side access for the ash or coal? Wish I knew!).
  • I have not yet taken down a later corner cabinet where the pantry window was supposed to be, to see if there is a repair to the plaster there. On the exterior, this area is partially covered by the added on bay, so no evidence shows there.

Another change made after building was an opening into the dining room from the front bedroom/study. I omitted it because I found evidence that it was altered later. We have filled it in and plan to add a built in buffet in that space.
Next update will show the current configuration of the house, contrasted with the plan. That's all for tonight.

21 November 2012

A Little Comparison, a Few Conclusions.

So, today I got out and took a photo of the house from nearly the same angle as the catalog photo. Not quite, but close enough to do an overlay. I need to scoot over about three feet and take another picture, but that has to wait for the camera to recharge. As it was I ended up using the webcam on my tablet and guessing the angle, because I got out there, set myself up to shoot based on the catalog image on the tablet and had a dead camera. Got to love modern technology, huh?
The front bedroom window and front corner line up. The replacement front steps line up with the originals. The roof line might line up if I can somehow get more on a level field with the house. Maybe by standing on a chair on the raised sidewalk across the sunken street. The lack of dormers is glaring, and I know those were there, you can see their ghosts inside the attic. The chimney doesn't line up, but that may be due to the error in aligning the photo just right. The modern siding on the now-enclosed front porch thankfully wasn't continued around the whole house, but the eave overhang was inexplicably closed in with ugly flat ventilation soffit and I fear that the lovely shaped rafter ends were likely trimmed or removed to fit under it. At least the rest of them were not covered up.
It has really underlined how much has happened to the house in its 100 years. I am both happy about this and sad, but not surprised.
I have the front porch interior half painted (the kids' half, of course) and I discovered something that is significant and not unexpected. I knew the sheathing of the columns had to have been either mangled or stripped away in order to put up the siding and interior paneling. I found the ghosts of the columns etched into the old exterior front wall, at both ends. The angle of the column sides and shape of the capitals match those in the catalog picture. This will give me something to work from when we restore the porch. While we want to keep it enclosed, it will be changed to a more sensitive style of enclosure, with the columns replaced, exposing or replacing the curved beams, removing the awful siding and soffit panels, reshingling the porch wall up to the rail and putting in more period appropriate steps, windows and front door. It is an ambitious plan. It is one of the last things on our list.
One more thing - the floor plan in the catalog shows the dining room windows are not centered on the dining room wall. The addition, put on in the 20's (and done by an awful contractor I would love to have some harsh words with), is also not aligned to the center of the dining room. It is off by almost, but not quite, a foot. The discrepancy in one explains the otherwise random discrepancy in the other. It looks as if they laid the foundation for the bay addition, aligned to center on the pair of windows, then tore out the wall, and discovered that it was out of line with the room.