Can You Really Trust Your Contractor?
Just because he is skilled, and loves working on old houses, does NOT mean your contractor knows about or is qualified to provide old house restoration services. Working on old houses requires special knowledge.
Whether You’re Restoring Victorian Homes or maintaining a 1980 Cape Cod.
You may not realize you need our Services!
- Why You Need our Old House Restoration Services
- Contact us for an Initial Consultation and Review of Your House
- Virtual Consulting by email
- Paint Color Consulting
- Before & After Photos of Houses
Now this is what you need to know.
Why You Need Our Old House Restoration Services
You might think that old house restoration services can be performed by the many contractors and architects out there who profess a love for old homes. I am prompted to write this after recently consulting two homeowners in the midst of their house restoration/re-modelling projects.
Two Happy Homeowners With Disastrous Results
One couple wanted to remodel their 1990′s house to appear more traditional so it would fit in better with the older homes in the area. The other homeowner had an 1870′s Victorian that needed some minor work.
After working with these clients, I feel I must write this to caution all owners of both old and newer homes. I’ve seen the harm that can result without the guidance of our old house restoration services or those of a similar qualified professional.
Both of these homeowners were very excited to share with me their plans and the wonderful creativity of their contractors. They were so happy to spend their money on modifications they really believed would look good.
I cannot really blame the overly enthusiastic contractor or the homeowners. They’re both exposed to so much bad design they can’t help but want to reproduce it.
Girls Gone Wild?
There is a video out there about Spring Break called Girls Gone Wild. Someday I will make a similar video called Contractors and Homeowners Gone Wild.
Yes you can make a new house have more of a period or traditional appearance but you need to understand traditional architecture! More importantly you need to know what NOT to do.
Traditional architecture is something today’s architects are no longer taught unless they are specialized in historic preservation. For an old or new house, this training is essential!
Just because a homeowner spends a lot of money on a project and does a lot of work doesn’t mean the house will look good. It can still look ridiculous.
I have found that many of the people who try the hardest to make their house look good are the ones that fail.
A homeowner will get wrapped up in their project and not see the problem so they keep buying and buying: new light fixtures, new landscaping etc. They don’t realize these are merely distractions from the fundamental issues they and their contractors have created. After all this expense they finally convince only themselves their house looks good. And it can look good to the UNTRAINED eye.
Just remember that future homeowners will scrutinize what you do to your house. There is a lot to understand about architectural design and old house restoration services which is explained in more details here.
Don’t believe me? You will see examples of corrected work later.
The following is an excerpt by Steve Mouzon that explains what people do to their old and new homes.
. . . historic homes consist of misshapen pieces of modern or Disneyland interpreted traditional architecture stitched together with no clear vision of what the result should be. The same is for current construction stitched together with semi-traditional pieces or architecture.
Most people probably can’t explain exactly what is wrong with this sort of building because there are just enough traditional pieces thrown in to make it look vaguely traditional at first glance just as Frankenstein looked vaguely human at first.
Do not make this mistake – I will help you! You can buy books and study design or you can ask OHG. No matter what you decide to do to your house, at least you will understand your options and be a better informed and educated consumer at a just a small cost.
Remember you can’t always trust your contractor or architect. You may need to educate them in correct design for your house. Unfortunately that’s how it is today. Let the buyer beware! Don’t let your contractor or architect intimidate you!
Still Not Sure if you Need our Old House Restoration Services?
Contact us for an Initial Consultation and Review of your house.
Send us a high quality photo (2 megabytes or higher) of your house with your thoughts, questions, or what you (or your contractor) have in mind.
Send me blueprints for review if you prefer. Please contact me BEFORE you begin your project and before it’s too late.
If after reviewing your pictures and other documents I feel you are on the right track, I will let you know. Otherwise I will suggest a phone consultation to explain corrections and what you can do to improve your home.
This service is also great for a new home owner who just needs to better understand their house and be advised of what to do and NOT to do before making any costly mistakes.
The fee is only $25.00 per half hour on the phone and easily payable through PayPal or by check.
I am available by appointment weekdays (day and evening) and some weekends. If I think you could benefit from our virtual consulting services, I’ll let you know.
Click here to CONTACT US for more information about our old house restorations services and we will let you know how we can help you.
Virtual Consulting Services – by email
and Paint Colors.
After years of renovations – see what can be done to bring back the original beauty of your old house and what you can do to get the biggest bang for your buck.
Find out what to do to improve the curb appeal of your home and see a photographic image (not cartoon image) of what your house can look like when work is finished.
- See and understand your home’s full potential and how to get the best possible curb appeal.
- See the finished product and know what to expect – it’s like seeing into the future.
- Have something to show and instruct your contractor with before you hire anyone and spend any money.
A picture is worth a thousand words and will save you from disappointment and extra expenses.
See some samples of old house restoration services below.
Historic Paint Color Consulting
Choosing exterior paint colors for your house is not easy. We have many historic and non historic colors to choose from.
Color placement however is most important and where most homeowners fail even with the best color combinations.
Exterior House Colors – Hand in Hand with Architecture
Color is all around us. It is a sensation that adds excitement and emotion to our lives. From something as small as the color of your shirt to something large like your house, these colors stimulate our senses and affect our mood and emotions.
Color plays a more critical role in a house due to the large expanse of “canvas” you have and the large impact you make in your neighborhood, affecting the senses of those passing by. This is why the process of painting your house is crucial.
There are colors that work together and those that work against each other; colors that over the course of history were popular in certain architectural styles or during certain periods of history.
What is most important is color placement. There are certain structural features on a house which need to be displayed correctly to give your home the appearance it was designed to have. To accomplish this, the colors you choose must work together with the form and structure of the building.
This is where most people fail when having their house painted. They may have chosen the most beautiful colors that work very well together, but if placement of these colors on the house do not follow the architectural form of the building it will make it look off balance.
Most architectural errors are realized by our subconscious mind, but few have the time to really notice any disharmony.
With our paint color consulting service we will help you select a color scheme that will both reflect your tastes and be appropriate for the style, age and setting of your historic home.
The cost for this service starts at $175.00 for a more basic house and higher for a house with more architectural features.
But wait, there’s more! Act now and we will include your Dog House at no charge!
See some sample exterior pant color projects below. For a more detailed step by step color consulting process click here House Color Consulting.
For a proposal, please contact us with a photo and your questions.
Examples of what we do with our Virtual Old House Restoration Services
A Virtual Restoration of the John Onderdonk House
The historic John Onderdonk House dates to about the 1860′s, with an older section to the left. It is a contributing building in a neglected historic district in Piscataway NJ. Old houses are not for everyone and it is sad for this historic house to be in this condition. My purpose for performing this virtual old house restoration service was to inspire the Historic Commission to maintain their district.
This is what we did and why.
Vinyl siding in a Dutch Lap style was removed and replaced with wood clapboard allowing the face of the house to properly align with architectural features. The additional layer of vinyl on top of wood siding causes features such as the window casings and frieze board to appear recessed.
Removal of the extra siding layer corrected this problem. Notice the additional shadow lines. Although subtle, they do add to the overall character of the house. You no longer have that “tacked-on” look. Learn more about the effects of Vinyl Siding.
Fake, plastic windows were replaced with true divided light, two-over-two double hung windows. In the older section, the original windows were six-over-six. Dark green window sash color is typical for the period enhancing the appearance of depth. Learn about the design of windows.
The arched window on the 3rd floor was retro-fitted with a plastic replacement sash that just screamed “wrong”. It is now restored back to its historic appearance.
Louvered shutters were added to the main part of the house; solid-paneled shutters were added to the older section, on the left. Learn about shutter mistakes.
There is a section of the porch to the left that was enclosed. I opened it back up and continued the balustrade to follow the porch roof, although I don’t believe the porch is original. Additionally, since the porch floor is so low, there was probably no balustrade between the posts, however they will remain for now. Learn about porch design.
The Italianate frieze board features some nice colors, but when combined with the white vinyl, there is no possibility for this house to look good. The house colors (tans and maroon) used were based on the frieze board and are typical for the period.
The vinyl siding extended down to the ground, concealing the foundation. A field stone foundation now provides the appearance of a solid base and makes the house appear stronger. The small window in the old section just doesn’t fit in, but I left it there for now. A slate roof was added, chimney painted, and a period door replaced the “Home Depot” looking door.
Remuddled Craftsman House Rehabilitation
The following house had been remuddled during the 1950’s – 60’s. The siding and windows used were popular during that period and designed for architecture of that period – NOT the Arts & Crafts style of the 1920’s.
An earlier owner had gathered the stone and constructed the stonework himself some years back. For this and sentimental reason, the owner chose to keep the stone and use complementary colors allowing it to blend in with the house. Based on the client’s preferences and building structure, Arts & Crafts elements were proposed as shown below for this lake-side home in Wisconsin.
Victorian Porch Restored to Original Design
Viewing the same house again, notice the porch. The porch is circular at the right corner but the porch roof is not. Apparently, an earlier homeowner replaced the porch roof and took the cheap way out. This roof does not cover the circular balustrade and allows the effects of rain, snow, and sun to be a maintenance nightmare.
Our old house restoration service redesigned the porch roof it was meant to have. Now a circular porch roof matches a circular porch and balustrade. This will protect the porch and reduce maintenance.
New Victorian paint scheme brings a white house to life.
See how new period paint colors can impact curb appeal of a house. The bands of horizontal trim is a nice feature on this house but goes unnoticed when the trim and body are one color.
More Sample Old House Restoration Services Projects
This house may look good at first glance and possibly the fifth glance to some, but there are numerous mistakes and I will show you how when corrected, they can improve curb appeal.