The newspapers said this is an old house restoration.
Obviously they have no idea what they were writing about.
This house received a Restoration Award by the Freehold NJ Historic Preservation Commission.
A board of supposedly “qualified” people issued this award. Let’s look a bit further and see what a mess was created.
What is an old house restoration?
A definition for restoration is:
- The return of something to a former owner, place, or condition.
- The process of repairing or renovating a building, work of art, etc., in order to restore it to its original condition.
What is remuddling?
Remuddling is when the original character and integrity of a house is lost in the renovation process. Misguided improvements are made out of context and are insensitive to the character of the house.
See this beautiful 1890’s house.
They state that this is an old house restoration. Sadly this house was remuddled and this is how it appears today.
During the process everything historic such as millwork, doors, hardware, etc. were removed and sadly discarded into a dumpster. What a crime to the house and the environment!
Before this old house restoration the house was well kept and had great architectural integrity. It is sad that the homeowner couldn’t leave the house alone. It had survived over 100 years flaunting it’s historic character to passers by until now.
To the average person with the untrained eye, this new plastic siding is shinny and some will see it as an improvement. Look at the before and after photos above again and let me explain the changes that should have not been done.
Although the house cannot be considered ugly as it stands today, it no longer retains its inherent good architectural design. Part of the porch is enclosed and the house is now covered with unhealthy plastic siding.
The facade of the house features three different styles of windows – Six-over-six, six-over-one, and four-over-one. Two sets of windows are rectangular and one set contains square window panes. The goal seemed to have been the mish-mash look of a McMansion – not to mention the homeowner is an architect who you would think would have some knowledge of what an old house restoration is! The architect is evidently more accustomed to McMansion design.
Definition of a McMansion from Wikipedia:
…mix multiple architectural styles and elements…multiple roof lines, unnecessarily complicated massing…producing a displeasingly jumbled appearance. The builder may have attempted to achieve expensive effects with cheap materials, skimped on details,or hidden defects with cladding…Sold to “parvenu” – those having new money but lack the necessary refinement. The definition of parvenu on Wikipedia references Molly Brown survivor of the Titanic – who went from rags to riches over night. (See the movie “The Unsinkable Molly Brown”starring Debbie Reynolds ).
Obviously, this house was not designed nor meant to feature six-over-one or four-over-one windows. One-over-one windows would undoubtedly work much better. Scroll up and notice the simple elegance of the windows on the original house.
Also notice that the trim is in a tan color which works well with the teal blue. But why is the balustrade on the roof and the hand rail at the steps white and not tan? These elements should match. Were they an after-thought? Is this an example of this owner/architects work?
Notice the windows are “picture framed”. This is a window frame WITHOUT a sill at the bottom or a drip cap at the top.
It therefore looks just like a picture frame with mitered joints at all four corners which allow easy infiltration of water. (Water damage will not be noticed under the vinyl until it gets bad enough to be see indoors.)
There is no to sill provide a base. Your mind interprets the sill as a support base. Now all you have the appearance of a hole in the siding of the house.
The sill would allow water to run off and away from the building. A drip cap above the window casing would also deflect water. That will not happen here for these important feature are missing. Never picture-frame a window!
There is a lot to understand about good and bad window design and why this design is important which cannot properly be explained here. Click here to better understand window design .
There are fish scale shingles in the gable. When using a secondary siding material such as fish scale shingles, there needs to be an architectural separation between the two where the siding changes. On the original house this would work well. By adding a belt course or band at the base of the gable, this area would then be neatly separated from the lower portions of the house. Read more about decorative shingles .
However on the remuddled house, the roof on the right side of the gable extends lower. The band or belt course installed extends from the lower corner of the gable on the left, to a random area on the right side not an opposite end of the roof. The architecture is not there to visually connect or create a breaking point there for a separation. The fish scale shingles seem out of place and a sense of balance is lost.
It is really sad as to what was has been done to this house. All traces of its historic integrity have been blatantly destroyed. But the sage gets worse.
Old house restoration award is presented.
To top it all off, the Preservation Commission presented the homeowners with a RESTORATION AWARD (go back to the top for definition of Restoration). A Preservation Commission is viewed as an authority on preserving the character of old homes and although preservation cannot be enforced, it should be promoted and understood – at least a little if you are a member.
The homeowner was awarded for the desecration of history – not an old house restoration. The HPC is not only setting a very poor example for others to follow, they are encouraging other homeowners to do the same. One of the purposes for having a Preservation Commission is to educate and set an example. Awards were granted to two homes, the other awarded home was very much deserving. Here is a link to the news article – preservation awards . It’s funny in a sad way.
The article really shows that the architect-homeowner, and the councilman Marc LeVine on the Historic Preservation Commission have no clue about an old house restoration or what they are talking about. It’s just political garbage.
The important thing to keep in mind is just because your town has a Preservation Commission does not mean that your dwindling historic resources are protected (actually I can write a book about this). A false sense of security provided by a Preservation Commission is more dangerous than having none at all. Homeowners and commissions must understand that they are stewards for historic buildings.
Also, there is a big difference between an architect and a preservation architect as you can see in this example. Many architects, although they may love old buildings, should stay far away from them and leave them to a architect specialized in preservation. This homeowner-architect is someone that should stay far away from vintage homes!
Vintage homes need someone that knows what they are doing. Would you take your 90 year old grandmother with a heart condition to a General Practitioner or a Heart Specialist?