A few people I know have asked me how this house is "Italianate" in style. And another person said to me that it couldn't be "Italianate" because it was built after the Italianate Period (1840-1885) As an Interior Designer I have been conditioned to call out architectural styles, which is what I'm doing by sticking with calling this home style Italianate Victorian.
Italianate Elements of this home are not completely or overwhelmingly obvious at first glance. But they are there!
Tall narrow windows, all the same size
Angled Bay Window
Box house shape with Shallow Hipped Roof
Brick and wood clapboard
Projecting Eave with decorative band
Double Corbel Brackets on Eave
If you are interested in a more detailed description of the Italianate Architectural Style, there is a wonderful explanation HERE from Wentworth, Inc.
After I was alerted to some pretty heavy criticism from some folks after they saw some of my 'after' pictures, saying things like "I can't believe they painted over all of that woodwork!" and "they painted it all white?? how boring!" and "don't call it a restoration project when all you're doing is remodeling" and "that house isn't worth as much now that they painted all of that woodwork" and "it now looks like a regurgitation of hgtv and ............. ," I'll omit the other part of that sentence, but the rest was a criticism of a religion? I didn't get that one. But I decided to explain my design and "restoration" decisions just in case there are more of you with the same thoughts, or if you are facing the same kind of criticism.
When I first walked through this marvelous home, I noticed lots of damage to the beloved woodwork. I also noticed that it wasn't stained wood, IT WAS PAINTED to look like wood....which was very popular in the 1800s, and called faux wood graining. Usually in those days, that meant the wood used was not a high grade wood. This would save them a lot of money... to use a lower grade wood, then have an artist come in and make the wood 'look' like a high grade wood by painstakingly painting on the wood grain. These artists were extremely talented.
In this home, parts of the molding was made to look like burled wood, so pretty! So as I looked at it for the first time, I noticed so many dents, gouges and scratches undeniably 'messing up' the artist's work. And I thought to myself, it'd cost a fortune to really restore all of this molding to its original luster. If I knew I would get out of the home the fortune I'd put into it, then I would have done that very thing. But I decided instead to go for the MODERN VICTORIAN LOOK and highlight the woodwork by covering up the scratches and deep gouges by painting it the best color to bring out the shadows of all of the gorgeous details. White.
What also influenced my decision was the very popular movement that is so prevalent in New York, Chicago, and San Francisco.... that of all-white interiors of historical homes. It's called Modern Victorian. In California you'll find a style called Modern Mediterranean. Same thing...historical Mediterranean or Spanish Revival homes with updated all-white or all-cream interiors. Light and Bright, it's what a lot of people want.
When the housing market crash most recently happened and it was hard to afford a new home, a wonderful thing occurred... people started putting the money they did have into historical homes and "restoring" them to a modern state in which they felt comfortable. Many of them didn't want to be surrounded day in and day out by the dark and gloomy colors that most often was their historical moldings, which was ever so popular in the victorian era. They wanted the 'old home' but not the old home decor style. So they "restored" their home to an updated look that they love. It was a huge deal, and still is.
In order to "restore" something, it doesn't mean you must keep the same "look", but you must keep the same element, by not taking the element away or changing the composition of it. When you paint wood you are not changing the element, or the composition, you are changing the color. And color is simply a preference. The person who dwells around those elements has every right to their own taste in deciding what color they want surrounding them.
In my case, the wood was just simply too damaged in too many places to keep it the way it was. HOWEVER, because the faux wood graining is so beautiful and important to preserve, I did keep the only area in the entire home that wasn't too damaged: the large bay window in the parlor, so that part of the artist's work was preserved.
But even the bay window had some damage and holes from window
treatments hung, and blue paint accidentally smudged from the previous
wall paint that I was able to remove, and a few smaller scratches. But
compared to the rest of the molding in the home, it was in great shape!
I also left some of the doors how they were, again to show the faux
As far as the deep deep gouges and deep scratches in the other molding,
I paid for the painter to fill and sand before painting, so it looked nice and
smooth again (restored). I left all of the many dents and gouges upstairs
before painting. I also left the original wallpaper that was in 3 of the upstairs closets, and the original paint that was on one of the doors. But most of the changes that were made to the home after 1950 were changed again, or will be changed. Which brings me to the actual RESTORATION plan...
We plan to RESTORE the stairs that were flipped in 1950. We will flip them back around again to face the front door, and re-open up the hallway to the back of the home that was enclosed as a closet in 1950. Incidentally, when the stairs were flipped, the home was taken off of the state historical registry. Not many things you do to the interior of a home will cause the registry to remove your home, but that will, because an element was being changed or removed.
We also plan to RESTORE the roof cresting that was originally on the roof. we found the original cresting just laying in the attic. We HOPE to restore it anyway, if it's not way too costly.
We will RESTORE the exterior porch railings on the 3 porches, which looks to be casted concrete. If that turns out to be too heavy for the balcony, we may have to put a different material up there.
Because we will be RESTORING several elements that were removed, I will continue to call this a RESTORATION PROJECT, it's not just a remodel ;)