For those of you visiting for the first time, or if you missed the actual exterior renovation as it progressed on the blog, I thought it would helpful to summarize it all in one post and include all of the sources for those of you who might want to take on this project.
Although this project was a restoration to the home's original state, you could get this look with almost any house that has it's gable end facing the street. The Greek Revival is a great American style.
Here's my journey.
Copyright 2013, An Urban Cottage
Here's the house when I bought it.
I never intended to document this process when I started
so I'm sorry it isn't the best photo.
Over the first few years, I did a lot of cleanup and removal of what I thought were the most unattractive and outdated details; specifically, I removed the chain link fence, the wrought iron posts on the front porch. I did add new cedar fencing which I'll show in another Back Porch and Garden Post and I added a few shrubs along the front of the house.
The house was sold as a "Greek Revival" but unless you were already aware of what a Greek Revival should look like, you would never know it. All of the details had been removed or were covered up by the vinyl siding.
My journey started with a trip to the Historical Commission to see if there was any information I could use to restore the house. I was hoping to find that my house had a porch across the front, typical of most Greek Revivals in the area.
I was thrilled to find a drawing of the outline of the house from the City's Field Engineers' book from 1856 showing my house with a 3.9-foot porch across the front.
Here's a cleaned up version of the drawing showing the house,
18.5 feet wide; the porch, 3.9 feet deep and the stairs positioned on the
right-hand side of the porch, 4.2 feet wide.
This was a VERY IMPORTANT find because current zoning laws
prohibit building with 10 feet of the property line.
I was going to have to apply for a variance showing
documentation that the porch was historically correct.
Since the application for a variance requires detailed plans, I had to hire an architect to do a plan for me. After studying all of the local Greek Revivals and well as all the details appropriate to 1842 this is the drawing we presented. After filing the lengthy applications, all of my neighbor's were informed of my intentions and invited to public hearing where they could support or object to my plan.
I talked to all of my neighbors in advance, asked for their support and arrived at the hearing with four letters of support. My variance was approved and after the three-month application and hearing process, we were ready to begin construction.
We startedby pulling off the vinyl siding that had been installed in mid-1980s.
For anyone with vinyl siding, there's a possibility that you could simply remove it and paint your house! I talked to a few of my neighbors who told me the former owner installed the vinyl siding because the house needed a paint job and adding vinyl siding made the house maintenance free for the elderly owner.