How Old Houses Can Avoid Restoration Mistakes & Achieve Curb Appeal

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Caution Old Home Owners

Read this site before you do anything to your old house!

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Welcome to the Old House Guy website!

Our goal is to provide information every Old House owner should know to make their house look the best it can. You will learn how to achieve TRUE curb appeal – curb appeal that resonates within your inner senses, not what advertisers want out of your wallet.

By following the information in this site, your house will stand out from the others in a class unsurpassed. Whether you live in a small Bungalow or Victorian mansion, both houses will make an equal impact of beauty.

This site is educational. Your eyes will be trained to know what to look for and you will learn to pick out design errors. You will have a better understanding of architecture than many professionals.

Is your house historic?  A building that is 50 years old is Historic by The U.S. Department of the Interior. Although we promote Historic Restoration, our goal is based on and emphasizes Aesthetics (link). However, both are accomplished by following timeless Architectural Principles. Principles that can even improve new homes. Principles ignored by builders today.

What All Old House Owners Should Know

Unfortunately to the educated eye, most old homes have already lost their appeal. As each day passes we lose more of our charming neighborhoods not by the wrecking ball but by the homeowner, contractor, and architect. An overwhelming majority of houses have suffered from ill-conceived attempts to upgrade and improve their exteriors that destroyed much of their character.

Many homeowners think they are properly restoring their home when actually they’re destroying the home’s integrity and making it into something out of Disney Land. A more severe problem is that over time these errors have become familiar and accepted. These awful errors have become part of standard design.

The problems may not be obvious so the homeowner will keep remodeling and buying new fixtures, landscaping, etc. They don’t realize these are merely distractions for the untrained eye. Don’t worry help is here!

Successful curb appeal is more than adding embellishments or an expensive new door but requires an understanding of architecture. Many changes can satisfy the homeowner but will drastically fail to those with a trained eye.

Although that gingerbread fretwork on the gable of a house looks stunning, it’s not that simple. Years ago, buildings were pedestrian friendly. Houses were viewed by foot or carriage passing at a slower speed. This gave the viewer more time to notice the beauty of a house. It enabled it to be viewed in its own setting, so that all its architectural details, were able to work together to portray a certain feeling. Jonathan Hale, a preservation architect, explains this in his book, “The Old Way of Seeing”.

There is an interplay of shapes and shadows that impress the viewer first – not the details – and these communicate directly with your eye and mind. These features, on buildings constructed years ago, will gently guide the eye to see particular parts in order to make associations that give the building vitality, harmony and interest. Don’t believe it? Try looking at an old church without gazing up the steeple. (Gordon Bock – The Old House Journal)

The purpose of the website is to prevent and reverse the many injustices to your old house.

Homeowners can harm the house they love for they are victims of brainwashing. Advertisements bombard us insisting our house needs a certain look to be fashionable. No one cares if it clashes with the architectural style. Contractors and architects do the same – the professionals homeowners sadly depend on so very much.  See an example of some big mistakes.

I will focus on key elements which have the greatest impact on the appearance of your home, and how you can recapture that lost character that once graced your neighborhood. Sections on Windows, Shutters, Siding, and Porches are key areas that must be understood. Each of these areas contributes to a bigger picture creating buildings that are often simple in details but where everything works together to make a beautiful whole.

If you need some personalized guidance, we are available for consulting by phone and other visual services that will help you and avoid mistakes.

Don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter for updates on informative blog posts.

But first, let’s take a look at some misjudgments of what people think makes a house beautiful and why Aesthetics and age old architectural principles must be understood.

Click here to get started and learn about Aesthetics and the Mistakes You Don’t Know You’re Making.