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Old 04-03-2014, 03:46 PM
Status: "Summer!" (set 15 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
86,987 posts, read 102,540,351 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ss20ts View Post
They are words used to DESCRIBE something. What don't you understand?? Who said everything has to be positive? Maybe that's the bubble YOU live in, but the rest of the world does not.
What nei said. Something you don't like.
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Old 04-03-2014, 04:24 PM
 
Location: Oceania
8,623 posts, read 6,246,452 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
I don't think you can say that across the board.

I learned to be a brick mason when I got out of school decades ago. I can relate to the lack of craftmanship quite well. I actually refer to it as being an artisan. My brother owns a construction company and does some rather custom work so I am still exposed to it. I remember building full masonry houses and they were standard rather than custom. I see nothing but facades these days as the real thing is $$$$ most people don't see the value in. I don't like yards of vinyl siding and most new homes have a selection of 4 colors. Real fireplaces and chimneys? Yeah, right...more like gas 'mood stoves' exhausted through a 6" pipe run through the wall.

My house and others in my neighborhood in the early 50s have hardwood floors throughout. Mine still looks new and has never been refinished. The lumber used to frame the house is real 2x4, 2x8, 2x10 and 2x12, rough cut and everything. You can't find roof trusses such as these. Unlike modern construction, my roof is made of lumber rather than plywood sheeting.

The concrete used for sidewalks is of inferior quality and I suspect it was most likely chopped/mixed onsite and no standards existed in residential dwellings for that in the suburbs as of yet.
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Old 04-03-2014, 05:37 PM
 
Location: Youngstown, Oh.
4,893 posts, read 7,653,336 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
This kitchen was the farthest thing from "utilitarian", meaning user-friendly. There was no work triangle. There were five doorways in the kitchen which is maybe 12 X 12 ft, roughly. (I'm going by memory here.) A door into the kitchen from the main hall, a door to the basement, a door to the pantry, a door to the dining room and a door to the back porch. I would have redone it a bit differntly than my folks did.
I meant utilitarian in that it connected so many other spaces, and/or that it was meant for work, instead of living in. Our priorities changed since then. But again, like closet space, this isn't about quality, or being "disposable" but about preferences.

Quote:
It may have had a gas space heater at one time, but what's that all about? Shouldn't all the bedrooms be heated? This was only a 3 BR house, mind you, and only two of them were heated. In PENNSYLVANIA! And that room had no closet, so yes, they did put in a wardrobe, but that took up a lot of space in a small room.
I can't say why your old house was configured the way it was. There may have been a reason. (maybe, since it also didn't have a closet, it wasn't intended to be a bedroom for the family, initially) Or, it might have just been problematic trying to get a duct run to that bedroom.

Quote:
except if they'd closed in a portion of the back porch.
That's what they did in my old house. The back porch, where the help would have entered the kitchen, was enclosed and made into a full bath. Someday, I plan to remove the bathtub, and make it a half-bath/laundry room.

Quote:
Lack of maintenance is a problem whenever you buy any "used" house.
Yes, but my point is that often, when talking about why old is bad, issues caused by lack of maintenance (i.e. drafty windows) or shoddy repairs of bad maintenance, are often cited.

Quote:
I have yet to see much of anything in the way of upgrades in a rental house, particularly in small houses (like the 50s house we rented) that are owned by an investor. And people who have been landlords will tell you all sorts of horror stories about ruined homes, so they're probably smart not to put anything too fancy in them.
But, I've been saying all along that stuff like stained glass windows aren't upgrades added later, but were part of the original construction in even average homes, prior to the 1930s, or so.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nei View Post
Hopefully not. I hope energy conservation would mean we wouldn't need more energy.
That's a good point. But, it's hard to see into the future. Maybe current electrical wiring will stay sufficient indefinitely, and something like fiber optic cables will need to be retrofitted. (with the fast growth of wireless technology, this seems unlikely, but you never know)

As for "boring and bland" I say: to each their own. While I like Victorian architecture, I wouldn't want to live in it; some of it's too fussy for my tastes.
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Old 04-03-2014, 06:34 PM
Status: "Summer!" (set 15 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
86,987 posts, read 102,540,351 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JR_C View Post
I meant utilitarian in that it connected so many other spaces, and/or that it was meant for work, instead of living in. Our priorities changed since then. But again, like closet space, this isn't about quality, or being "disposable" but about preferences.

No, that kitchen is about quality. Now I don't remember what the old cabinets looked like. I was just 10 years old when it was remodeled. However, there was no "work triangle" like a kitchen is supposed to have. Kitchen Design Guidelines It didn't have any kitchen counters to speak of. It didn't have a place for a refrigerator. These are all examples of how "they don't build them like they used to and that's good".

I can't say why your old house was configured the way it was. There may have been a reason. (maybe, since it also didn't have a closet, it wasn't intended to be a bedroom for the family, initially) Or, it might have just been problematic trying to get a duct run to that bedroom.

Well, it's a little odd to only heat two of three bedrooms. I could maybe, maybe, in my wildest imaginations, see a reason for not heating a "guest" bedroom, but three bedrooms is a standard size.

That's what they did in my old house. The back porch, where the help would have entered the kitchen, was enclosed and made into a full bath. Someday, I plan to remove the bathtub, and make it a half-bath/laundry room.



Yes, but my point is that often, when talking about why old is bad, issues caused by lack of maintenance (i.e. drafty windows) or shoddy repairs of bad maintenance, are often cited.

Well, I gave you some examples above, and single pane windows are another example. I have said many times on this forum that houses in Denver didn't have storm windows until the mid-70s, when the "energy crisis" came along. That situation changed a lot.

But, I've been saying all along that stuff like stained glass windows aren't upgrades added later, but were part of the original construction in even average homes, prior to the 1930s, or so.

My point is they were NOT part of the original construction in even average homes. I've been in a lot of older homes, here and back in Pittsburgh, and I haven't seen very many, certainly not in the low-income neighborhoods, but not even in "average" homes.

That's a good point. But, it's hard to see into the future. Maybe current electrical wiring will stay sufficient indefinitely, and something like fiber optic cables will need to be retrofitted. (with the fast growth of wireless technology, this seems unlikely, but you never know)

The only constant in life is change.

As for "boring and bland" I say: to each their own. While I like Victorian architecture, I wouldn't want to live in it; some of it's too fussy for my tastes.
I like "bling", but some of them might even be too much for me. However, I would not call my tastes "boring" or "bland".
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Old 04-03-2014, 06:44 PM
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Location: Long Island / NYC
45,983 posts, read 41,929,314 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
I see four single family homes in the links that eschaton posted. I don't see any row houses. I know how much some of the stuff in those homes costs, from having done work on our house. Granite countertops, butcherblock countertops, huge kitchen appliances, etc. These are not modest houses. Those stained glass windows could have been put in any time. They all look like they've had work done on them.
From the post [quoted only the part with the link]:

Quote:
Originally Posted by eschaton View Post

Externally though, Victorians can still be plenty ornate. This street in Pittsburgh shows what Pittsburgh frame rowhouses looked like before remuddling (removing wood siding, wood trim, and even replacing windows) became common. You can see they were anything but plain, despite being of modest size.
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Old 04-03-2014, 06:56 PM
Status: "Summer!" (set 15 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
86,987 posts, read 102,540,351 times
Reputation: 33045
Quote:
Originally Posted by nei View Post
From the post [quoted only the part with the link]:
Yes, I saw that later. Sorry I didn't say anything. I have to say, I seriously doubt those are unremodeled homes. The paint looks pretty fresh for 100 years old or so.
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Old 04-03-2014, 07:31 PM
 
9,520 posts, read 14,816,131 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RomaniGypsy View Post
Well, let's consider the case of a McMansion buyer I knew back in 2006. Less than one year after buying their house, which was built brand-new to their specifications, there were cracks in the corners near the ceiling and they had a two-page list of issues that they wanted the builder to fix under warranty. I knew another family who got a new house built for them earlier that decade and they had a whole litany of issues with it which caused them to tell me that the builder "sucks".

Contrast that to the house my wife and I bought. It was built in 1917. As I type this, the furnace, which hails from the 1950's, is still happily chugging along keeping the house warm.
And what did your house look like in 1919? When houses are first built, the lumber isn't completely dry (especially if the house gets rained on when you're building it), also you'll get some foundation settling, and you get cracks. This isn't a new thing. If you were to strip the paint from your walls you could probably find the old repairs.

Quote:
Structurally, the house was built with REAL lumber (as in, a 2x4 was actually two inches by four inches, rather than the wimpy 1 1/2 by 3 1/2 that it is today)
Unlikely, 2x4 was the rough-cut dimension. Finished lumber was bigger then but not full nominal size -- more likely 1/4" or 3/8" smaller rather than the modern 1/2" smaller.

http://www.fpl.fs.fed.us/documnts/misc/miscpub_6409.pdf
(includes various 1914 standards)

Quote:
and it's on a concrete block (not cinder block) foundation.
Cinder blocks are concrete blocks. And a lot of people call those things "cinder blocks" even if the aggregate isn't cinders.

Quote:
we'll be seeing a lot of these newer houses fall down after 20-30 years.
I wouldn't hold my breath.
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Old 04-03-2014, 07:36 PM
 
Location: Pittsburgh, PA (Morningside)
12,414 posts, read 11,913,851 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
Those houses are not "tract" nor are they particularly "modest". They're 1300-1600 sq. ft.
1. I don't know if they are tract insofar as they aren't in neighborhoods where every house looks identical. But these designs are a dime a dozen in 1920s/1930s Pittsburgh neighborhoods.

2. Houses of these size might not be worker tenements, but they were not built for the wealthy either. They tended to be the middle-class housing of that time. Regardless, my own rowhouse is 1260 square feet, not much smaller than these, and we have one of the smaller houses in our neighborhood. Regardless, if you want smaller houses with these features, here's one, and here's another. Here's an absolutely tiny one, at 864 square feet.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
I see four single family homes in the links that eschaton posted. I don't see any row houses. I know how much some of the stuff in those homes costs, from having done work on our house. Granite countertops, butcherblock countertops, huge kitchen appliances, etc. These are not modest houses. Those stained glass windows could have been put in any time. They all look like they've had work done on them.
Every house that's 90+ years old has had some work done. You're not going to find an original kitchen unless a house is derelict, in which case it's not going to be for sale with internal pictures anyway. The neighborhoods I linked to are mostly lower-middle class now. I will admit I am filtering out a lot of houses which had obvious remuddling done, but a Craftsmen-era house was supposed to be all about producing homes which were modest and understated, but contained "fine materials" for the growing middle class.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
Yes, I saw that later. Sorry I didn't say anything. I have to say, I seriously doubt those are unremodeled homes. The paint looks pretty fresh for 100 years old or so.
They were restored within the last 10-15 years, but that is what Pittsburgh frame houses looked like when they were new. Check out this photo blogs for a nearby blighted neighborhood. You can see some of the houses which are intact, yet abandoned and have largely the same external features.
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Old 04-03-2014, 07:52 PM
Status: "Summer!" (set 15 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
86,987 posts, read 102,540,351 times
Reputation: 33045
Quote:
Originally Posted by eschaton View Post
1. I don't know if they are tract insofar as they aren't in neighborhoods where every house looks identical. But these designs are a dime a dozen in 1920s/1930s Pittsburgh neighborhoods.

2. Houses of these size might not be worker tenements, but they were not built for the wealthy either. They tended to be the middle-class housing of that time. Regardless, my own rowhouse is 1260 square feet, not much smaller than these, and we have one of the smaller houses in our neighborhood. Regardless, if you want smaller houses with these features, here's one, and here's another. Here's an absolutely tiny one, at 864 square feet.



Every house that's 90+ years old has had some work done. You're not going to find an original kitchen unless a house is derelict, in which case it's not going to be for sale with internal pictures anyway. The neighborhoods I linked to are mostly lower-middle class now. I will admit I am filtering out a lot of houses which had obvious remuddling done, but a Craftsmen-era house was supposed to be all about producing homes which were modest and understated, but contained "fine materials" for the growing middle class.



They were restored within the last 10-15 years, but that is what Pittsburgh frame houses looked like when they were new. Check out this photo blogs for a nearby blighted neighborhood. You can see some of the houses which are intact, yet abandoned and have largely the same external features.
As jade408 said, either in this thread or another within the past couple of days, everything built at about the same time looks similar! Certain styles are popular, certain materials are popular, certain colors even.

Some people dropped some big bucks into the appliances in some of those houses.

Last edited by Katarina Witt; 04-03-2014 at 08:08 PM..
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Old 04-03-2014, 10:59 PM
 
Location: Oakland, CA
27,165 posts, read 29,650,120 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
As jade408 said, either in this thread or another within the past couple of days, everything built at about the same time looks similar! Certain styles are popular, certain materials are popular, certain colors even.

Some people dropped some big bucks into the appliances in some of those houses.
What I like about my neighborhood and the surrounding ones, even though there are lots of 50s to 80s fabulous multi family buildings, there are older homes mixed in from different eras, craftsmans and Victorians mostly. But it is a lot better than having blocks and blocks of stuff from the same decade. Much of Oakland is like this actually. A hodgepodge of styles from various decades.
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