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Old 10-12-2012, 03:55 PM
 
Location: Mason, OH
9,259 posts, read 13,416,907 times
Reputation: 1920

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I have posted previously concerning the maintenance or upgrading of older property. I feel capable of commenting on this subject since my father was one of the premier painters in Cincinnti. I can state that because he worked for the who's-who of the area. He could do just about anything an old school painter could do. He would tackle anything, including finishing the woodwork of a dining room to match the finish of the furniture.

I remember one house he did in Mt Lookout, absolutely stunning. The crown molding and all of the wood trim in the entire house was duplicated to match the furniture in each room. The decorator (A.B. Closson) had the various furniture suppliers send my dad their process for the furniture finish. Naturally the interior wood finish of each room was the same wood the furniture was fabricated from. One of the most unique houses I ever got the opportunity to see. I hope it is still being maintained.

I remember him taking a children's cheap pine bedroom set, stripping it down, and refinishing it in light blue laquer for a new baby's room. The homeowners were thrilled. I was the guy who got to wet sand it between the coats.

I saw some beautiful restorations years ago and I have seen some miserable flops. I am asking for those who adore older houses what do you look for when buying and what do you do to maintain them?
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Old 10-13-2012, 11:50 AM
 
Location: Covington, KY
1,881 posts, read 2,132,719 times
Reputation: 595
Quote:
Originally Posted by kjbrill View Post
I have posted previously concerning the maintenance or upgrading of older property.

I saw some beautiful restorations years ago and I have seen some miserable flops. I am asking for those who adore older houses what do you look for when buying and what do you do to maintain them?
My mother, the house interior walls decorator, painted all woodwork except her personal bedroom white. For forty years I liived amid pale dusty rose plaster-paint walls (with swirls in the paint) with white woodwork.

White woodwork makes a place look bigger. And, plaster-paint covers cracks and wall damage.

I wouldn't have much else. In fact, since apartment managements like their own choices of colors, I hunted until I found an image similar to those walls for a computer desktop image.
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Old 10-14-2012, 10:38 AM
 
Location: Mason, OH
9,259 posts, read 13,416,907 times
Reputation: 1920
Quote:
Originally Posted by CarpathianPeasant View Post
My mother, the house interior walls decorator, painted all woodwork except her personal bedroom white. For forty years I liived amid pale dusty rose plaster-paint walls (with swirls in the paint) with white woodwork.

White woodwork makes a place look bigger. And, plaster-paint covers cracks and wall damage.

I wouldn't have much else. In fact, since apartment managements like their own choices of colors, I hunted until I found an image similar to those walls for a computer desktop image.
I agree with most of your comments. Cracked walls, particularly older plaster, can be difficult to deal with. The various grass cloth wallcoverings available can be valuable in disguising the imperfections as their fibers have some give and take without buckling.

I remember my father using a product he called felt paper. It was a somewhat loosely woven material hung very much like wallpaper but much thicker. The loose weave meant it had a lot of compliance again without cracking or buckling over plaster with a lot of cracks which kept reoccurring. I remember him using it on our own house in Madeira. He would usually stipple the final paint coat to give even more hiding capability.
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Old 10-14-2012, 01:56 PM
 
1,130 posts, read 2,032,256 times
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When I look for an old house I am looking for one that hasn't been messed with. I would rather deal with original fixtures, finishes and floor plans than one that someone has already come in and screwed up. It makes it so much harder to renovate when you have to undo someone else's bad work.
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Old 10-14-2012, 03:04 PM
 
Location: Mason, OH
9,259 posts, read 13,416,907 times
Reputation: 1920
Quote:
Originally Posted by t45209 View Post
When I look for an old house I am looking for one that hasn't been messed with. I would rather deal with original fixtures, finishes and floor plans than one that someone has already come in and screwed up. It makes it so much harder to renovate when you have to undo someone else's bad work.
I think that is definitely a sound plan. If someone has done a bad job attempting to subdivide or otherwise rearrange an older house's floorplan you have a tougher job trying to undue it. I remember years ago when we were looking for a 5-bedroom house. I got so tired of looking at 4-bedroom houses where somebody threw up a cheap partition in one of the rooms and called it 5-bedrooms, often without even a closet in the one so-called 5th room. No this is not a 5-bedroom house, it is a screwed up 4-bedroom house.
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Old 10-15-2012, 06:38 AM
 
Location: Covington, KY
1,881 posts, read 2,132,719 times
Reputation: 595
Once again it seems a topic has been posted for which the visitors to the message board are generally too young....
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Old 10-15-2012, 07:04 AM
 
Location: Youngstown, Oh.
4,791 posts, read 7,376,889 times
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I don't have experience maintaining an older property, yet. But I'm restoring a house built in 1902, on Youngstown's north side. Only the kitchen and bathroom were modified, and that was in the early 1950s. The back porch was enclosed and converted to a second bathroom, and one of the bedrooms was converted to a kitchen, when the house was divided into 2 apartments in the 60s or 70s. I'm leaving the downstairs kitchen alone for now. (and the upstairs kitchen is already gone) But, I'm working on restoring the bathroom to its 1902 oak glory. (even the bathroom has oak woodwork, with oak wainscoting!) It still has the original claw-foot tub, but I'm putting in a new toilet, and sink--I'm not that much of a purist that I need to find a period correct toilet, or a sink with separate hot and cold faucets.

My current house, on Youngstown's west side, was built in 1915, but was really messed up over the years, in my opinion. The front porch was completely rebuilt in a completely unsympathetic fashion, with pressure treated lumber. All the windows were replaced with vinyl. And it was vinyl sided. They built a deck on the back, and cut a huge hole in the back of the house for sliding doors, leading to this deck from the dining room. (I can't really blame them for the deck and sliding doors, though--Mill Creek Park is in the backyard) There was a built-in in the dining room, and french doors. The only reason I know these things, is because part of the floor in unfinished, and I can see the hinge pockets.
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Old 10-15-2012, 07:42 AM
 
Location: Philaburbia
31,368 posts, read 57,591,278 times
Reputation: 52237
Quote:
Originally Posted by t45209 View Post
When I look for an old house I am looking for one that hasn't been messed with. I would rather deal with original fixtures, finishes and floor plans than one that someone has already come in and screwed up. It makes it so much harder to renovate when you have to undo someone else's bad work.
Amen to that. The house I bought in Madisonville in 1992, built in 1926, had had two previous owners; the last time the house had changed hands was 1934. Very little had been changed in the house, aside from electrical, plumbing and HVAC work, since it was built. The kitchen had been last renovated in the 50s (and I preferred it that way! ) and the bathroom in the 70s. Everything functioned perfectly, even though some things were older than others, and replacing what I didn't like or what was older was a gradual and easy process.

The house I own now, that's had dozens of owners (all of them DIY, it seems) since it was built in 1928? Argh. The more I try to fix the messes that were incurred in the late 80s, the more I find even older messes that were fixed halfway, or covered up.

Last edited by Ohiogirl81; 10-15-2012 at 07:55 AM..
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Old 10-15-2012, 09:24 AM
 
Location: Mason, OH
9,259 posts, read 13,416,907 times
Reputation: 1920
Another story from my mis-spent youth working summers for my father. He took me to this very nice house and said we have been hired to clean the den/office. My policy is I guarantee anything I paint will wash as long as I wash it.

My assignment was to wash the ceiling of the den, but first I had to clean it with wallpaper cleaner. My father said the wallpaper cleaner would remove the bulk of the dirt so that it would not soak into the surface when washed. This was his standard practice. Back then we used tri-sodium phosphate purchased in bulk as the washing agent. I believe it was outlawed many years ago due to its bad effects on the environment, as it doesn't break down.

His last instructions were this is a very good customer and I don't want to see anything resembling a streak when I return. He then went off to check on some other jobs. So I set up the scaffolding (10-foot ceiling) and dry-cleaned the ceiling with the wallpaper cleaner. That went well. So I mixed up the tri-sodium and prepared the rinse bucket. Oh yes, before putting up the scaffolding I had to put covers down over the entire room and furniture. My father only used natural sponges he bought from a supplier, none of that cellulose crap for him. A natural sponge works great but has a tendency to drip water, thus the necessity to cover everything, which is a good practice anyhow.

After my first trip across the ceiling I stand back and survey. Damn it does not look that uniform to me, must have been dirtier than I thought. So I put another couple of handfuls of tri-sodium in the wash bucket. After another trip across the ceiling I am seeing some white but it is blotchy. Obviously I need more tri-sodium. The next trip across the ceiling I am feeling good because I am getting a much more uniform white.

But all of a sudden I am getting a dark grey. About that time my father returns. He takes a look, let's out a volume of expletives, and asks what do I think I am doing.
Dad I have been working my butt off trying to get this ceiling white, but it is just not working. Another volume of expletives followed by that is because it is a grey ceiling which you have just managed to eat all of the paint off of, eat through the white coat of plaster, and now you are down to the base plaster. I had not realized how powerful tri-sodium was in concentration.

After calling a plasterer in to put a new white finish coat on the ceiling, and then repainting it, my father informed me I definitely had to go to college because I would starve as a painter.
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Old 10-15-2012, 09:38 AM
 
Location: Philaburbia
31,368 posts, read 57,591,278 times
Reputation: 52237
Quote:
Originally Posted by CarpathianPeasant View Post
Once again it seems a topic has been posted for which the visitors to the message board are generally too young....
I wasn't aware there was a minimum age for purchasing property ... ?
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