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Old 06-09-2015, 04:06 AM
536 posts, read 692,904 times
Reputation: 1484


Since the 1990s I've lived in a house with settlement issues around part of the foundation. These have been very slight for a long time but resumed last summer with all the heavy rains we got.

This summer I will have have helical piers placed under the affected part of the foundation. Then it will be possible to replace my shingle roof (which has lasted well beyond its expected lifespan but is now failing) and also replace at least the front and side windows with impact resistant glass.

My dilemma is design.

My own preference is to restore the house--embrace retro. I'd like to refurbish and repaint the original wrought iron shutters, security gate to the front door, and a supporting pillar (all matching and clean/modern, not Spanish and arabesque, in design). Now that the foundation will be solid, I'd like to replace the shingle roof I put in when I moved here with the heavier cement white flat tile roof it was designed to have.

Yet I have a feeling that for eventual resale, a more practical approach is to update rather than restore.
Driving around, I can see that white houses, light grey houses, and taupe houses prevail. No one seems to be using flat cement tiles now: they seem to be "out." New technologies allow the cement tiles to look like slate, barrel tile, shake roofs, etc, and in all colors.

I dislike white and gray and taupe as exterior colors for single family houses (sure, for businesses, but I don't live in a strip mall). If I do decide to be stubborn and restore, I would go with a warmer neutral, something like a rich cream (French vanilla-esque). The wrought iron would be painted a soft black.

Is a quiet "retro-ization" going to be a problem when I resell perhaps 5 years down the road?

I am thinking that some buyers don't like generic houses, and that period charm is one thing my modest little house has going for it. I have gotten very fond of it as it is and would just like to respect its original design.

I just don't see the point of a smaller mid-century ranch house with a spanish barrel tile roof more suitable for the City Hall of Seville. I worry that if I take off the shutters and other accents in decorative wrought iron, the place will look like a bunker. One of my neighbors has done this and his house has lost its once considerable charm.

Any thoughts on retro vs. resale?

[ETA: Sorry for the thumbs down on the subject line--thought I was posting a question mark!]

Last edited by ladyalicemore; 06-09-2015 at 04:28 AM..
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Old 06-09-2015, 04:46 PM
2,975 posts, read 2,602,761 times
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I'd go with the retro but that's just me.
My 50s house was "updated" by previous owners but that updating is falling apart.
I found some of the original bathroom tiles while digging in the yard. I so wish the bathroom was kept original.

I bought the house because it was affordable for me at that time. I wish I had been more patient and found a house that hadn't been updated,but thought maybe it was a good idea to give up on houses that need work.

My post probably didn't help you at all!

For the right buyer ,your house done retro would be a gem and you would do well with it.How many people actually care about that stuff is anyone's guess.
I want my next house to have open-beamed ceilings and terrazzo, darn it. That's getting tougher to find.
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Old 06-09-2015, 06:30 PM
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Thanks for responding, Bye-Bye! I am glad you see why I want not to gussy up the house too much out of its proper period.

I put tile on my kitchen floor but I am keeping my 1972 mustard Americana range for now, though it isn't original. I just have bonded with it. All burners were replaced a few months ago and it's clean as a whistle and the oven is still good for baking.

I found my shutters buried in the garden about a year after I bought the house. I still have terrazzo in the back of the house but the part affected by the settlement has laminate now, as cement was poured over the terrazzo to level the floor and only laminate is "bendy" enough to conform with the corner that has dipped.

Due to the history of settlement, this house will never go for top dollar anyway; but if I decide to move back to New England, I'd like it to go to "kindred spirits," though I'm pretty sure it will be a flipper instead.
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Old 06-13-2015, 03:47 PM
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Good luck, ladyalice.

I fell in love with a 50s house on Lake Ola ( the listing says it's in Mt Dora but it's actually in Tangerine). It needs some work. I'm sure any buyer would just knock it down as it's on a quarter acre. That hurts my heart as I would just love restoring it.

I saw the house for the first time a few years ago while staying at a bed and breakfast down the street. An elderly lady lived there and a woman who brought her meals befriended me.

The lake view is gorgeous but it is not the right time for me ;(

Anyway, an Americana stove !!! So cool. I put 50s looking appliances in here, but was really tempted to buy an old gold Hot Point or whatever it was that had a fryer in it. Always wanted an O'Keefe-Merritt. There was one in an old house I looked at in Virginia.
I'm not sure where to move; hope you make the best decision.
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Old 06-14-2015, 04:28 PM
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Hi, ByeBye, My brother, who lives in Denver and is retiring, looked at Mount Dora but changed his mind once he went there.

I know the frustration of waiting for the right time when the money's (or the timing's) not there yet.

I am thinking of fixing up the house (still don't have final word on financing, though my credit status has passed muster the house itself may not--it's homely at the moment) so I can turn it into a family compound. Though it's tiny and I hope everyone doesn't show up at once.

I want to see my large and great family more (for almost 20 years we divided the care of my dad, who had early onset Alzheimers and was almost immortal, being a thin, long-distance runner). They are great people and their kids are, too.

I am beginning to think I will see them more if I stay in FL and invite everyone to come and stay when they wish. Maybe rent up north in Aug and Sept which are the months where the heat really gets to me.

I have only been there a few times, but do you like St Augustine? And all my other cool friends live in Sarasota.

Difficult decisions for sure.

Last edited by ladyalicemore; 06-14-2015 at 04:45 PM..
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Old 06-16-2015, 11:40 PM
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Yes I do like St Augustine. A friend of mine moved to Crescent City which is kinda rural and I think a little SW of there.
What didn't your brother like about Mt Dora? After Denver it would be culture shock. I was told I probably wouldn't be too happy there because vegan atheists are in short supply in such places. My problem is that I love Southern Gothic literature and tend to gravitate towards areas that resemble swampy Spanish moss covered places. I forget that a lot of the people may not have progressed much since the days of Flannery O'Connor etc.

I love all the birding and nature festivals up that way and get a kick out of Lisbon and the Emerelda Marsh area.
I also tend to like extremes- either big city or rural. So I have a lot of suburban angst right now.
I looked into some areas up by the Ocala National Forest but was told it might not be too safe for a woman alone. Who knows.
I hope to win the lotto and move to Portland teeheehee
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Old 06-19-2015, 08:17 AM
Location: Arlington South of Southern
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Hi, I'm a realtor here in Palm Beach County and I can tell you the trend now is retro.. very.. but the point is to update it with all the modern conveniences. Meaning, yes bring back the harvest yellow fridge but make sure it's self defrosting, has an ice maker do funky kitchen cabinets, maybe a farm sink, but still have granite counters. In the bathrooms, you can use subway tiles which aren't that expensive compared to the others you see in the mags.. but bring the tile up to the ceiling... get an old style sink but make sure it's up to date with technology.
And if you are serious about switching the roof.. go with a metal roof.. has just as long a life as tile (I think it's about 40 years) and comes in a slew of colors.. I live in the coastal area in Lake Worth and these retro and earlier homes are going fast and hard.. prices are still going up even without the updating..
Get a tankless water heater for instant hot water throughout the house. (saves on space too)
We are hoping to purchase a home that had a fire damage, and if we are lucky enough to get it.. I hope to do all this to update it but still keep the charm of the 50's era it was built in. (even get solar panels for electricity)
I am also from NE (Berkshire County to be exact) used to live in a home that was over 100 years old and loved every minute of the old creaky place.
So good luck with it all.
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Old 06-22-2015, 08:49 AM
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ByeBye, I am not sure, but I think perhaps my brother's wife thought that Mount Dora was too sleepy and bucolic. She's a fan of cities. Don liked it a lot. I am looking at Portland ME, near my sister--that or maybe SE Mass, though it's out of my price range, really.

Nina, Thanks so much for the vote for retro. I love Berkshire county, taught in Williamstown for a short while and found it very beautiful but really really cold. I've taken notes on your advice.

The metal roof--$7000 more than the tile estimate, 15,000 more than the shingle estimate.

I'll have to see how the foundation repair goes--those folks are cowboys and I am just hoping they can do what they say they can. I'm never sure what to invest in this house, due to its strange intermittent settlement. But at this point it is very pronounced and they won't be able to really pull it up--just stabilize it and maybe raise it a little. They are afraid the roof struts will snap.

So...still waiting though it seems the house passed appraisal. Then the cowboys raise the house and stabilize it. Then...I decide how much to invest in a roof. The shingles, to me, do look tatty but the main thing is that they do keep out the elements, which my present roof doesn't.

Thanks so much to you both! I didn't expect two votes for retro and feel encouraged.
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Old 07-15-2015, 08:58 PM
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I would just update it when you are about to move if you ever do. That is just my opinon.
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