• Cochrane Klitgaard posted an update 1 year, 8 months ago

    Despite a turndown in the economic system, there seems to be little letting up of inappropriate remodeling, teardowns and the building of McMansions in San Diego’s historic neighborhoods. Witness the 2005 and once more in 2008, SOHO’s nomination of "Historic Neighborhoods" on their "Most Endangered" Listing. The National Trust for Historic Preservation additionally nominated "Teardowns in Historic Neighborhoods" amongst their 11 Most Endangered sites in 2002. Clearly, there may be a problem yet to be reckoned with.

    As we discover historic communities in San Diego County, we notice far too many inappropriate changes in the options that define our historic homes. These range from removing of unique wooden home windows; substitute of clay roof tiles; removal of authentic doorways; alternative of wooden storage doors with mass-produced inappropriate doors and gutting interiors of historic buildings. Frank Lloyd Wright had a term for this "remuddled".

    Remodel or Restore?

    The National Trust for Historic Preservation has an interesting "Glossary of Preservation Terms" on their webpage, they state that "Remodel"….means to vary a constructing without regard to its distinctive features or model…involves changing the appearance of a construction by removing or overlaying authentic particulars and substituting new supplies or varieties." What we hope for instead to retain the character of our communities intact is that house owners will restore instead. Again, the National Trust defines Restore as: "To return a building to its kind and condition as represented by a specified time frame using materials which might be as related as potential to the original materials."

    What they do not Inform you is that Much less is usually Extra

    We understand how the updating craze has gone fallacious. The marketing influence of house shops, tv programs like Flip that Home and your complete remodeling presence in the media largely makes the declare that by spending money on an replace one can make a quick buck. Add uninformed real estate agents, hungry constructing trade professionals, and fatigued bureaucrats and it turns into the traditional case of buyer beware. These collective influences are like an engine at full throttle with speculative buyers, home flippers and nicely-that means homeowners the proverbial deer within the headlights. Make no mistake; this well-oiled advertising and marketing machine will not placed on the brakes to think about the damaging impacts of "remuddling" a historic building. Instead, the emphasis is typically on an all or nothing transformation because after all salespeople get their incentives or fee when you purchase. So it’s no marvel that our historic neighborhoods in San Diego and across the nation have come under siege.

    As a client you’re best served if you understand what you are not going to be instructed; that cookie-cutter merchandise offered most of the time in all probability will not apply to your historic building.

    As an proprietor, you are the advocate for preserving the original features of your own home since it’s the unique features that are literally most valued. Why is the distinction between remodeling and restoration outlined earlier so essential? Our historic houses give our communities, our towns their historic scale and character and embody the distinctive patterns of our previous and inform a narrative, they are more priceless after they retain their historic character. Whether it’s an artistic bungalow, graceful Mission and Spanish Revival, proud Victorians–from easy to the most grand and elegant. Our historic homes are irreplaceable –plain and simple. When they are gone, they’re gone ceaselessly. Remember our older building inventory was made of supplies that can not be discovered at present and so they had been made by expert craftspeople (many who were latest immigrants). The craftsmanship of yesteryear is something that is tough to search out right this moment and we simply cannot afford to replicate.

    Therefore, in case you consider that perhaps somebody in addition to you, family members who owned and took care of your house before you did, somebody who owns this home after you or even members of your community may be interested within the character and high quality of the unique features of your own home %u23AFthen it will be important so that you can remember and consider that much less could also be more in terms of preserving the your house.

    Unhealthy "Remodeling"

    In the previous few years now we have seen turrets added to Prairie-School style homes, faux craftsman fashion rocks adhered to nineteen thirties Monterey houses and authentic homes demolished with McMansion replacements constructed without setbacks or consideration of the affect to the block. Appropriate additions are doable when they are orientated towards the back of the property and when the brand new architecture is in harmony with the original house design (although it’s best to be able to differentiate the new from the outdated). Additions mustn’t overwhelm the original home. There isn’t a good reason why you should try to make your house one thing that it is not..

    Bungalow creator Jane Powell has written many fantastic and insightful bungalow books and her "Bungalow Particulars: Exterior" ebook covers just about each aspect of what is vital to preserve– together with roofs, chimneys, eaves and rafter tails, siding, foundation, pillars, hardware and lighting as well because the architectural options that are most in danger– entrance doors, garage doors, roofs and home windows. She offers helpful examples on the best way to properly restore your own home’s architectural features and this e-book is a must read for anybody contemplating such work.

    Flip and never Flop

    In addition to preserving your home for present and future generations, it’s also very important to preserve your older residence’s avenue look for it to retain its property worth. Either you’re shopping for an older home as a brief-term funding flip or a long-term funding; it is crucial to maintain your own home’s original character defining options. Nothing kills your historic dwelling’s worth faster than ripping out your house’s authentic wood windows and changing them with vinyl windows or other inappropriate "remodeling". In addition to the overall design, form and scale of the building, here are some (not all) of the important character defining options that you most likely know already as a result of they are what distinguishes a Craftsman from a Spanish Revival or Mid-Century fashion home.

    Some Key Architectural Features

    Roof tiles Doors (front door, facet doorways and garage doorways) Home windows Hardware Fixtures– fireplaces, lighting, built in cabinets and so forth.

    Moreover poor selections in remodeling adjustments to those key options can add as much as become important remodeling mistakes that many homeowners or traders are making at present. For those who ever need to change into eligible for historic designation or need to make this profit accessible for a future owner, then it is very important retain your house’s architectural particulars.

    Roofs: Especially for Mission and Spanish Revival homes, the replacement of authentic clay tiles for cheap replacements has become one thing of an epidemic. We have now seen several houses (principally flips) lose their unique tiles in a vain try and "update" the roof for a quick resale. The brand new tiles are obvious to the untrained eye and one can spot the mass-produced replacements from a block away. Clay tile might break but it by no means wears out. There isn’t a very good reason to substitute these tiles. Historic tiles had been usually shaped and then glazed by hand and are never uniform in coloration. The trendy replacement tiles have their glazes sprayed on, they haven’t got the coloration vary and detract from the historic appearance of an older residence.

    Beware the window salesperson

    One among the most important errors by homeowners is ripping out authentic wood windows. The original home windows can often be repaired however the previous growth wooden cannot be changed. Moreover, dense previous progress wooden and great outdated wavy glass has a life expectancy of no less than 200 years. New wooden windows will final 50 years, vinyl cannot be painted and will last about 10-15 years.

    By removing the windows you will lose worth of the home in the long term and the power savings in San Diego cannot justify this alteration. Chances are you’ll also have a more durable time selling the house once the home windows have been changed. Jane Powell, writer of the Bungalow Exterior Details supplies particulars in this ebook that time to a direct correlation between historic integrity and market value. The impression of this variation is critical since home windows make up a big a part of the facade of historic houses and buildings –"The sample of the sash, the window framing and the other architectural element surrounding the window was rigorously designed as an integral component of the home and changing the window destroys this".

    Ms. Powell states: "There may be no more important function of a bungalow than its home windows. More than just openings for gentle and air, windows are the face the home presents to the street." She lists in nice detail, the precise prices of substitute windows (vinyl) and reasonably easily demonstrates the poor math that vinyl salesmen use to sell or con homeowners. Jane states that it will take 200 years for a homeowner to reap again their "power financial savings funding". Interestingly, that’s the life expectancy of the original windows and there’s at all times a means to repair drafty windows.


    The entrance door greets visitors and was typically instances designed to create an impression. Craftsman doorways ranged from simple to advanced in design. A salesman from Orange County took benefit of a wonderful and good lady in our neighborhood when she sought to restore her front door. The veneer of the original door of her 1918 Prairie-school type house had cracked and there was some harm by termites. We took a glance on the harm and it needed to have some veneer replaced. As an alternative of repairing it, which might have value a number of hundred dollars, she was offered and had a brand new "craftsman" door put in at a cost of approximately $6,000.00. So besides being taken in by the salesman, she threw away the original door that was made for her house and fabricated from previous growth wooden. If she was not seduced by the update craze and repaired it instead, it will doubtless outlast the one she put in and at much less total cost. Now the change to her entry has been reconfigured and whereas her new door could be attractive to some, it is over scale to the rest of the home as well.


    Preserving the inside options of your historic dwelling can also be essential and often times misplaced during remodeling! We’ve seen a number of older houses that had been the unlucky sufferer of dangerous remodeling sit in the marketplace longer and sell for a lot less money. Painting inside woodwork or removing it’s heartbreaking. SOHO, the National Belief for Historic Preservation, the Secretary of the Inside’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties and the State Historic Preservation Office of California are all excellent sources for historic homeowners on sustaining the integrity of inside features.

    What’s Batchelder Tile?

    A number of years in the past we seemed into buying a 1910s Prairie-School home in North Park. We noticed it was being remodeled by the proprietor contractor and discovered it was coming up on the market. We provided to purchase it before extra remodeling was carried out to it. The timing was not right, the proprietor wanted to get extra for it and thought he would get extra after he remodeled it and he did not like our supply. Whereas remodeling continued, we realized that the proprietor ripped out the original Batchelder Tile fireplace because there was a crack in one of many hearth tiles. We requested if he still had the tiles however he had already had them hauled away to the dump. You must have seen his face turn pink after we advised him how invaluable and vital they were and as a substitute the effort to install his new Home Depot tiles lowered the worth of his funding.

    In case you by no means heard to reside in your house for at the very least one year earlier than you do anything, take heed –dwelling in the place can grow to be a resource in and of itself. More bad remodeling occurs within that first 12 months –so move in and stay in the house for a while.

    Consider these sage phrases from SOHO member and South Park resident, Erik Hanson from his "Bungalow Manifesto" on his Irving Gill web site.

    "If your own home is just too small, you have got too much stuff" "If a tradesman says that it can’t be performed, fire him for lack of imaginative and prescient" "Good restoration is a collection of modest projects completed nicely, more history was destroyed by spending a lot money than by not enough" "There’s a special place in hell reserved for individuals who remove wood windows."

    There are lots of contractors in your city who do not understand the vital features of your own home are they don’t seem to be the ones who needs to be working on it. Recommending the identical modifications to your own home as they would for a home in a tract neighborhood is likely the incorrect answer nevertheless it may be the reply you get. How have you learnt whom to trust? There are a few craftsmen that truly perceive what it takes to work on older homes. Search for skilled outdated house specialists– they’re price their weight in gold. Get and comply with up on references especially from these who have restored their homes. Do not let anybody work on your house that insists that you must take away something and verify bulletins from the National Belief and talk about methods before any work gets underway. We know that it takes additional diligence to resist the persuasion ways of the house replace hucksters however the historic home you preserve won’t only be price more it would proceed to inform a story for future generations.

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