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Our House: A 1913 Craftsman

2624 Views 9 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  Scuba_Dave
We're just a few days away from closing escrow on a 1913 Craftsman home in the greatest Central Iowa neighborhood. It's my dream house... well, 98%. (Victorians are never in great neighborhoods, but this one is a Craftsman with a bit of Victorian holdover.) We got it on short sale. It's a cosmetic nightmare, but our inspector told us it has great bones. I'm very excited, but we've got a lot of work ahead of us. In no particular order...

Front porch:
-correct sloping (possible porch floor rebuild)
-fix cracks in stucco at base of pillars
-repaint Lister premold steps
-add porch rails

Formal living room:
-strip wallpaper (that was painted)
-open up the window that was walled over inside, but never removed
-repair 2ft around plaster break that is pebbley behind wallpaper

Sitting room:
-add back the French Doors (G-d knows why someone ditched 'em)
-eliminate 70's style paneling
-ditch 80's vertical blinds

Formal dining room:
-remove wallpaper above plate rail
-remove paint from plate rail, built in buffet, etc
-replace warped corn board with something... wainscoting?
-change out 80's brass chandelier with era-appropriate reproduction
-replace rotted out HVAC duct

-refinish hardwood floors (worst hardwoods)
-temp face lift (paint cabinets, replace counters, add peninsula)
-full remodel to come

Family room:
-strip cheap paneling, insulate behind?, drywall

1/2 Bath (5'x5'):
-remove stool and vanity and vanity
-replace subfloor, add hardi-backer, hex tile from
-possibly move sink by 20 inches to more logical location?
-upgrade cheapo pocket door

-replace 2 missing balusters

Master suite:
-flooring... carpet in the bedroom, vinyl over asbestos tile in bathroom
or self remove asbestos tile if I can get up the guts...

Bedroom 2:
-finish repainting for childs theme
-remove lead paint from windows and some trim
-replace antique doorknob with working era-appropriate knob

Bedroom 3/4:
-replace carpeting
-possibly re-route doorways so each can be independently accessed
-fix broken plaster that surrounds closet inner walls

Bedroom 5:
-remove peeling wallpaper
-change carpet

Family bath:
-remove "attack of the 50's" 10ftx14in full length vanity
-replace flooring

Back stoop:
-add safety rails

-remove rotted siding

Whole exterior:
-repaint exterior (cedar shakes weren't primed well enough and turn of
the century stucco wasn't cleaned well so paint job has poor adhesion)
-remove classic windows one by one and restore

-get control... it's quite... um... unique...

Our house... where vision meets reality in 5-10 years!~:whistling2:
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Sounds like a great find and worth whatever you put into it. I was never much interested in new construction and focused on antique homes and buildings. Enjoyed most every minute of it all---even the surprises. The sense of character matched to concern for craftsmanship most old house have is soothing or something.

I am sort of forced retired but try to watch this site in hope of being able to share things I have learned about old houses, sources for things that go into them, and so forth. So post away or even PM me if you have something specific. I think it more fun to post and share the dialog with others that may have similar questions though.

So save yourself lots of headaches and do not even start in shopping at box stores. Locate real electrical, plumbing, paint and fastener suppliers now. You will be so much happier working with quality materials and tools.
Hopefully you have an architectural salvage yard near by.

We have a big one in Chicago that has produced a few gems.---Welcome--
There is indeed a gigantic architectural restoration place here in Chicago. There may be scaled down versions near where you are too so tap into the restoration community where you are when you can.

In Central Illinois, PACA was a nfp that got first crack at salvaging old buildings that were finally coming down for a variety of reasons. Volunteer salvage teams would go in and get fireplace mantles, railing doors, hardware, light fixtures, etc. It would be placed in the warehouse/sales room and the organization did enough business to buy its building in just a few short years. All proceeds go back into area historical restorations.

PACA members also got first crack at things like hardwood flooring and trim if they were willing to go in and pull it up. A renovation mentor found some beautiful cherry in an old farmhouse that had never been sanded and with a mill date of 1869 on the back. It was put in place in a project we were walking on and refinished. Quite beautiful and cost mainly sweat equity and some passes through the machine for end joinery.

PACA also bought specialty tools out of profits and members dues that most would not own on their own but which came in handy when you needed them. Members could check them out and use them for the cost of blade upkeep and a minimal rental fee.

Is your hood or home landmarked officially in any way? Some on here will scream that protecting things anti-American or something but I think it is important. We will not do so on our own. Anyhow, participation in a preservation group can help add a voice of reason to it and speed you through approvals of things you might want to do to your home---especially its exterior.

I am sure it is an unfair bias and I honestly do not know that many people who live in new construction. It seems like people who own older and antique homes care more about them?
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Awesome! I was hopeful there'd be someone here that shares the love, has the knowledge, and is in a similar climate to help with accurate assessment of what to do.

We do indeed have an architectural salvage, thankfully. I need to go in there and see what they can get me in the way of doorknobs because I nearly locked myself in my kids room the other day because the knob is broken. The Des Moines Rehabbers Club has been a fun organization, too, and I'm sure they'll help us with info, too

We also have a Tool Lending Library through the Habitat for Humanity ReStore. (Hope that works out well. It did when it was at it's previous nfp, except they had issues keeping staff for its' odd hours) I'm still trying to decide what the essential power tools of home ownership are. I have very few power tools of my own, though I know my way around them decently. I am heartened to see the mini-recip saws coming a long way, as they are easier to control (though I can DIY with the guys, I'm female and I love my lightweight- but effective- tools) A friend turned me on to Harbor Tool & Freight for inexpensive power tools that are still decent quality. My goal is $80 a month or so toward acquiring power tools. This is our first ownership situation, so I have to get the ball rolling on tool acquisition, particularly power tools.

Our neighborhood has a name, but not a real protected statusy type thing. I'd love for it to happen, but there seems to have been a push more to make that happen in the "urban revitalization" areas that had been pretty down-trodden, like Sherman Hill and River Bend, where the old Victorians had become crack houses and such. Our neighborhood never went downward, probably because of its' proximity to the really elite neighborhoods that wouldn't stand for it. Many of the houses have been very well preserved all the way along, though I wanna cry when I see the vinyl windows some people are putting in :( . I can't wait to start researching the house more, too. I had to open up an area in my dining room for the plumber, and I did find that the artisan had signed the back of the board. It was a neat find that almost took some of the pain from the fact that we were ripping into a plumbing problem for the second time :laughing:
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In case your salvage place does not have what you need for the door hardware these folks are amazing when it comes to parts, replating, rebuilding, restoring door hardware.
Thanks for that lead. I'm happy to get all the info I can. The original knobs throughout seem to be those ones that look like a big chunk of glass on one side and a black metal ball on the other.
Thanks for that lead. I'm happy to get all the info I can. The original knobs throughout seem to be those ones that look like a big chunk of glass on one side and a black metal ball on the other.
Do not be casual about them. Some would spend a fortune for them if you wanted to sell them off.
You are going to be popular here. There are several antique home lovers here. Learn to post pictures.

I look forward to seeing pictures. Many members here have restored older houses and can help you figure out the techniques and products used back in the days before power tools and particle board.

Welcome,once again!---Mike-----
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