This quaint Freehold NJ Main Street home was built sometime before 1901. It features original two-over-two windows with heavy designed window hoods on all sides of the house, real working shutters on the porch, and double entry doors.
The owner who is also the builder had stated that there were a number of structural issues. One issue was that the foundation needed to be replaced. This is why the brick is absent from the after photo.
In his defense, he stated he would have liked to restore the property but did not due to the cost. I guess that means it is cheaper to cover up all the eye-brow windows. Money is always an excuse for making a mess. Although he and many other contractors out there may have the “best” intentions, they are not old house specialists. They are not aware of the huge impact something that is so simple to them can make to the appearance of the house.
This house is being renovated-vandalized for resale at a much higher price.
Notice the decorative frieze board that surrounds the top of the house under the eaves is now covered over with vinyl siding. The frieze board allows is a transitioning point allowing the roof to appear connected and part of the house. Notice the difference between the two images.
In the front there are three vents designed to appear like eyebrow windows. They are meant to line up nicely with each of the windows below. Two of them get covered over with vinyl siding leaving the center one looking lost.
While these may seem like simple changes – unmissed they play an important role in the fenestration of the building! The changes not only affects this house but the entire neighborhood.
I was too late with the camera. As you can see in the photo at the top, the window sash was two-over-two divided light. This window configuration added a more decorative touch to the windows.
The new windows are now a plain one-over-one window sash. The new plastic window casing is much narrower and out of proportion to the architecture of the house.
The windows are picture framed to allow water infiltration. There is no window sill or base for the window nor a drip cap above to divert water away from the window. The windows no longer have their ornate window hoods.
Many people really would not understand what is wrong. The following links help you understand and develop a more critical eye.
Click here to better understand window design and for a better explanation of my comments on this window vandalization.
To better understand shutters and the common mistakes made, click here.
The front window only have a new odd looking window hood. Notice the difference between the original and the new modified window.
Although this home was in need of maintenance it was still a beautiful home because of these features and an asset to the neighborhood. Now it stands out like a clown to be laughed at along with the new homeowners.
Porch Skirt Design
The sawn baluster railing has not been thrown into the dumpster. The porch skirt however lacks ventilation necessary for longevity of a porch floor.
The visual support below the porch posts as shown in the original photo have been covered over. The porch now appears too heavy for the house and the bright white porch skirt overpowers the porch railing.
To better understand porch skirting and lattice beneath your porch click here.
Currently the interior is being remodeled. It appears that sheetrock was placed on top of the plaster walls. The big problem here is that the baseboard molding was not removed before doing this.
When the sheetrock was placed on top of the plaster wall, the baseboard cap (the top cap with the arrow in the photo) was removed to seat the sheetrock on.
The baseboard cap is about 1 inch wide to sit on the 1 inch baseboard. The sheetrock used is 1/2 inch thick. Therefore the baseboard cap can no longer fit on the baseboard.
The result is a baseboard molding that appears very flat – almost painted on. There is hardly any shadow line.
Why this is important?
A properly designed baseboard molding (baseboard, base shoe molding and base cap) provides a visual base for the wall. Like a column would be just a pole without a base, our inner senses prefer to see structure . The baseboard extends outward creating shadows which give homes the character we enjoy.
The Carriage House
Behind the house is a beautiful Carriage House – all original. I had thought that the carriage house would be covered in robins egg blue plastic siding but was assured it would not be.
I’m sure however that there are people that will say this renovation and installation of plastic siding is making improvements.
Main Street homes today all over the country are in the spotlight. Residents are fighting to keep or bring back Main Street’s traditional feel which attracts new residents to make their homes in these towns.
The State of New Jersey even offers a Main Street New Jersey program to promote the preservation of Main Street buildings.
An investment property is difficult to sell in these hard times and every house comes with its problems. As unattractive as the house is to me, we all know that a lot of money was spent to make it this way. This money was spent on changes that do not improve the house. Yes, there were other structural issues that were very important to repair but the work on the exterior should not have gone to this extent. Simply mounting the shutters correctly would be an improvement.
It is sad that on a street filled with similar old homes, this bright robin’s egg blue house will jump out from the others like a Howard Johnson’s Motel as a lesson of what should never be done to any house.