First and foremost, we are NOT “restorationists”. We have no intention of returning this home to the exact condition it was when new. Many people have a very unrealistic view of the time period this home was built in, and lives have changed to the point where things need to change in the home as well.
For instance, this house had neither plumbing or electricity when first built.
Bathrooms of the day were not the showcases we often see today. WHEN plumbing of that nature came indoors, it was viewed as strictly utilitarian and a functional necessity.
Most times the bathroom was little more than a toilet tucked away in a cramped and out-of-the-way place, in our case, hastily added to a cupboard under the stairs. A simple toilet and nothing else. No room for a sink, vanity, etc. I have little desire to live in or entertain company in a five-bedroom, 4000 square foot home serviced by one “water-closet”.
No air-conditioning and only wood fireplaces for heat holds little appeal for us either.
Kitchens were very austere during this age as well, built strictly functional and with little ornamentation. Ours would have been very simple…a wood stove for cooking, a pantry, and probably a large table in the middle of the room for preparation and other work.
In today’s age, the kitchen is often the center of the home life. We intend to update our home to reflect not only how we live today, but who we are. We are not building a museum, we are building a home.
All that said, never fear. We fully intend to make all renovations in the “spirit” of the age and in keeping with the architecture and ambiance of the Queen Anne style. Ball and claw tubs will remain, the kitchen will “feel” Victorian, and heat and air-conditioning will be installed as unobtrusive, comfortable, and as efficient as possible.
We’ll play with bold colors and textures inside, and the (currently white) exterior will get a more appropriate paint treatment for a “painted lady”.
The short of it is, we’ll be adding insulation, modern wiring and plumbing, heat and air, extensive lighting, a luxurious kitchen, strategically placed storage, and a well equipped utility room. We’ll be scarfing up a substantial portion of the second floor as a master’s suite, which will include the addition of a modern bathroom.
We’re guessing we’ll spend around $60,000 over several years to renovate this into our home.
Step one will be to assess…figure out condition problems that we’re bound to have missed.
Step two will be to address anything that is causing further deterioration of the home. Exterior siding problems and such.
Step three will be to address the infrastructure. Electrical, plumbing, heat and air, foundation.
Step four is decoration.
These may be done in different orders or at the same time, as budgeting allows. Expensive repairs may be avoided for instance (while the budget recovers) while we tackle something that is more “elbow-grease” than “heap-o-money”.
There will be an emphasis on keeping the house “livable”, as in, not tearing too much stuff up at once.
We are certain that things will change as we go along. Budget, life’s situations, things we didn’t think of, and other stuff is bound to impact our plans and our timeline. We’ll update here as needed.
One thing’s for sure…we’re in for a hell of a ride!