Finishing the Side of the House: THE BIG REVEAL!

WELL. This has been a long time coming. About two and half years ago, I embarked on what’s likely the biggest renovation that my house will see under my care, and it was a DOOZY. The goal was to bring the south-facing side of the house back to some semblance of how it was built, which meant demolishing two additions, adding windows (prompting a complete demo of my kitchen, and partial demos of my bedroom and den), insulating, restoring the original clapboard siding and various trim details, re-roofing a bay window (twice!), a ton of prep and paint, adding downspouts…it was a lot of work. Most of it was completed during that first summer, but then the remaining to-do list sort of languished as I attended to more pressing matters. At the end of this past August I was able to dive back in, and over the course of about 2 months I got most of those remaining items completed! There’s still work to be done, but those things could take years and I want to show you what I did NOW!

Did you know that there’s an archive function on Google street view? I did not know! So this is what the Googlemobile captured on its way through Kingston after my house had been put on the market but before I ever saw it! Check out that crazy antenna toward the back of the roof! This was also before the listing agent had a crew of painters quite literally slap a fresh coat of paint over everything (you can imagine how well that’s holding up), which to their credit did fool me into thinking the exterior was in better shape than it actually was. Lol whoops.

Then I moved in, and a few months later had the roof replaced and the fire escape demolished.

Later on I replaced the chainlink fence, demolished that boxy addition off the back, and added a little bit of landscaping. Which left us here! THEN THINGS GOT CRAZY.

More than one person walking by literally asked if we were tearing the house down—that’s how dramatic it looked at times!

I sort of love this photo. That bay window looks so BLEAK. The clapboard is about half new and half old. As in the past, all of the siding was removed, planed, primed, and usable pieces were put back up. I’m not sure why I’m using the passive voice because THAT WAS ME. I DID THAT. It’s a little cuckoo crazy but it feels like the right thing to do, and the old siding boards maintain more character than the new ones do. It would have been nice to have enough stock of old siding to use it exclusively, but I didn’t.

I did take some creative liberties, either where I just had no clue what was here historically or thought I had a better idea. The two new kitchen windows (bottom right) are an example of the former. I don’t feel like they’re especially right, but I was trying to take into consideration the second floor dormer window, which was likely added in the 1930s and isn’t the most elegant thing in the world.

Another departure from history was increasing the size of the cornerboards, which are originally 4″ on this house. What can I say! I like a wide cornerboard on a Greek Revival house! The front/main section of the house now has 12″ wide cornerboards, while the back kitchen addition has 8″ cornerboards. Once the other sides of the house are done, I’ll add some trim to the tops where the cornerboards meet the fascia, which is how they’re typically done to give the appearance of a pilaster.

Speaking of cornerboards, one decision I’m very happy about was to drop a wide “cornerboard” between the main house and the kitchen addition to kind of subtly delineate the two structures. The siding actually was continuous between the kitchen and the rest of the house underneath the vinyl, so it was tempting to stick with that…but I had this eleventh hour idea that I really thought would work, or look completely dumb, so I went for it and I’m glad I did. To me it’s just enough to restore the proportions of the original house without getting too crazy, you know?

Lastly, the windows! Originally, the “window” to the left of the bay and the one directly above it were both faux windows—trimmed with a casing and sill but with a set of closed shutters rather than a window. Purely decorative! People think this is nuts but I SWEAR a) it’s how the house was built and b) it’s actually how a lot of houses were built—you might see it more often than you think! Next time you see an old building with one or two shuttered windows, it might be because there’s nothing behind those shutters!

So anyway, I made the upstairs faux window into a real window, and moved both of them a smidge to the right of where they were originally so that the spacing between all the windows would be more even.

Then I proceeded to take two years to get around to actually modifying the shutters and installing them, so it feels like the whole town knows there’s just housewrap behind them. That being said, literally as I was screwing in the last screw on the shutter hinge, someone walked by and asked why I was shuttering just that one window…so. JUST MAYBE nobody is paying as much attention to me and my house as I am paying to me and my house.

SO ANYWAY.

It was all really intense, you guys. I really didn’t want this to look like the product of recent work (especially major work), so getting those details right was extremely important to me. Moldings had to be recreated, the new windows had to blend with the old, and preserving as much remaining original detail as possible was the name of the game. The whole time I tried to think about how I might react to seeing this house if I didn’t own it…would it look like a new (tasteful, hopefully, at least) renovation, or just a nicely preserved 19th century building? The goal was definitely the latter and…I think I did it?

My, how those little pear trees have grown! Let’s run that back one more time.

Before.

And after!

Before…

During…

After! I don’t miss that skinny enclosed space one bit. The dining room used to be kind of dark and dreary, and now it’s all bright and cheerful! This house already had good natural light, but these changes allowed that to be true in every room and that makes it SO worth it to me. I very rarely turn any lights on inside until the sun goes down—they just aren’t needed.

Recreating the third side of the bay window took some serious patience and even more serious head-scratching, but I’m REALLY happy with how it came out. There are some imperfections if you’re really inspecting it, but I’m considering them part of the history. A professional carpenter might have done a better job, but hiring one would have been too costly and…well, it’s just not the story of this house. It’s not a museum piece. It’s my home. And I do my best with what I’ve got.

In the past when I’ve painted the house I’ve tried to do two colors (bright white trim and less bright white clapboard) in two finishes (flat for clapboard, semi-gloss for trim), and I was never especially happy with it. More and more I noticed that my favorite white houses seemed to be using just one paint for everything, so that’s what I did and I’m so happy about it. It would have been more period appropriate to use a less bright shade of white (evidently they couldn’t make paint THIS white back in the day), but the aforementioned slapped-on paint on the cornices is very white and repairing/repainting those completely is a project for another time, and I wanted it all to blend. Also bear in mind that the front of the house is still covered in vinyl and pretty much untouched, so this keeps everything looking relatively uniform in the meantime. So, white it is!

I can’t give you a color because I got a little frustrated with the color and finish, and ended up combining a few different paints which resulted in a mix with a really nice satin sheen. I wrote down the “formula” so I can recreate it for future painting, but this is what happens when you have a billion half-used cans of paint leftover from lots of projects. I think the color would be similar to Ben Moore’s Simply White mixed at half-strength.

The painting alone felt…ENDLESS. My neighbors started making fun of me after a few weeks because HOW ARE YOU STILL PAINTING THAT HOUSE?! WHAT IS SO WRONG WITH IT?!

Well…enough that it took a very long time, that much I know! I tried to do a REALLY GOOD JOB so I really hope it lasts a long time. Like long enough that I can afford to hire a good painter next time and sit on my ass instead.

I’ve found a couple of shutter hinges in the yard, and you can see where they were mounted on the original window casings. House of Antique Hardware sells very similar reproductions, and I’m really happy with how nicely they match what was here! Someday I’d love for all the windows to have shutters, but for now that’s kind of a pipe dream.

My smoke bush was so tinyyyyyyy.

The shutters themselves I bought new (ordered through The Door Jamb locally), but I had to cut down the length and increase the width. I also added a bead detail to the center, which most old shutters have on the rabbet.

Originally each shutter had two hinges, but they just looked kind of naked so I added a third to the middle. Look at me being so naughty! Original shutters would have probably been black or dark green, but I thought that would look too jarring while the rest of the windows are shutter-less.

The next phase of exterior work will be dedicated to restoring the windows! Four of the original windows still have the aluminum triple-track storm windows, which I’ll remove one by one as I restore the windows behind them. That window on the right was under the cover of that solarium addition for the last century+, so it’s actually in good shape but desperately needs new glazing and paint—it kinda kills me I couldn’t get that one done this fall, but it’ll still be there in the spring. At some point I’ll get around to the little basement windows, too—I think they’ll look much better in black! I’ll also have to repoint the stone foundation down the line, but let’s just pretend I won’t. There’s always something to do.

1950.

2014.

2018.

Thank you for your patience with me, house. I hope you like your fresh new look.

You can read all about this project from start to finish by clicking the links below! I put them in chronological order and everything.

  1. Restoring the Side of My House
  2. Matching My Historic Windows
  3. The Wreckage: Part 1
  4. See Ya, Second Floor Bay Window Thing!
  5. Found in the Wall!
  6. The Solarium is Gone!
  7. The Bedroom Has a Fourth Window!
  8. Finishing the Side of the House: Part 1

111 Comments

  1. You are a delight and a wonder-bravo!

  2. You are amazing! And congratulations – the amount of work you’ve completed just boggles my mind!

  3. Wow.
    It’s really working Daniel. Your persistence is paying off. That old house is looking beautiful.

  4. Mazel tov! It’s gorgeous!

  5. It is SO NICE to see this all put back together and looking fab! That fake window is fantastic, even if I am generally against the practice. (They put them on dormers in my neighborhood on some house, to make it look like they have a third floor, and it is so confusing.)

    Also, I’m not sure why I never noticed that little orange slice window on your house! I have been reading this site for years, and just never picked up on it. Do you have an attic space up there, behind it?

    • Thank you, Sara! You might like this…the other day I saw fake shuttered windows on the side of a convenience store…WITH FAKE SHUTTERS FLANKING THEM! Double shutters! Talk about confusing and stupid! Hopefully this works a little bit better, haha!

      And yes, there’s an attic! It’s probably not a great candidate to be a finished space, but who knows…maybe I’ll change my mind on that. It’d have to be cozy but the window is super cute—I’m so lucky that nobody ever replaced it!

      • Daniel, what about vaulting the ceiling in your bedroom? then you would get the window light and the sense of more space.

        I also want to say as nice as the white looks, I also found the multicolored, raw feel of the old reused, primed wood to be very interesting. Lots of texture and variation.

        I’m so excited to get a peak into your kitchen, even if unfinished. And that great room that would make a great permanent guest room for little old me, haha! (kidding, but not really.)

      • A vaulted celling just wouldn’t work structurally, but that’s OK! I like the original proportions of that room. But the future guest bedroom (formerly the second kitchen) will have a vaulted ceiling! And since it’s just me over here, maybe I’ll end up wanting that room as mine. :)

  6. It’s a good thing that houses can’t get get a big head or burst open from happiness, because this house is looking wonderful. Old homes can drive one to distraction, but in the end they are worth it when you see your vision coming true. Wonderful job Daniel!

  7. Lookin good!

  8. It looks absolutely gorgeous.

  9. It looks wonderful. I love the extra windows that you added and the room that you took away. It looks balanced and well-proportioned and like it should always have looked like that. You’ve done a great job.

  10. You’ve done such a lovely job! It’s just beautiful!

  11. Indeed, all looking fantastic there Daniel!

    Seeing the side as you have it now, so clean and fresh and without the crumbling additions that had been tacked on over the years, and apparently not all that well done to boot and were not holding up.

    While it may not be 100% period correct, it’s close enough to look great and accommodate modern needs while still retaining as much as you can the original details that made this house back in the day.

    it’s respecting the structure and for that I applaud you.

    Keep at it!

  12. Fantastic, bravo Daniel!

  13. Looks amazing! You should be proud!

  14. Daniel, you have done an amazing job of bringing this old house back to her former glory. I love to see people your age who respect history (you’re the same age as my daughter, who owns a circa 1880 row house in Baltimore). I can’t wait to see your next project – whatever it is!
    Diane

  15. I am literally speechless at how amazing this is. I am so thankful for people like you in this world willing to spend the time/money/energy/sanity to do this sort of work. This almost makes me a little teary, seeing the (mostly) original beauty revealed over time on such a great house.

    You live my insane stressful rewarding dream life! :D

  16. Congrats on the huge progress! I’m so impressed and am also very happy for you!

  17. This is really so amazing – you should be so proud of your work!

  18. Lookin good.

  19. It looks so pretty! I’m floored!

  20. Can we circle back to you finding the shutter hardware in the yard. You just find bits of your house in the ground?

    • Kind of, haha! The first shutter hinge was just right under the solarium—the first time I unscrewed the plywood around the foundation to take a (horrifying, alarming) peek, it was just sitting there! Like it was waiting for me! Most of the stuff I find tends to be shards of pottery and sometimes a rusty metal thing, but some of the best finds were the ones that were encased in concrete! Instead of rebar, it’s like they grabbed anything they had around that was metal…so some weird things I haven’t been able to identify (and probably aren’t that old) but also a few more shutter hinges AND the straps so I could match those as well! No gold yet, but it’s only a matter of time right?!?!

  21. Sooooooo good. So so so good. I started reading your blog when you bought the house and I feel like hearing (reading?) about it has been so satisfying so I can only imagine how you feel! I’m so happy for you.

  22. Looks fantastic Daniel. The transformation is amazing. I envy your true-divided light windows and hope to replace my ugly vinyl ones one day with appropriate six over six replacements.

    I have been a reader for many years and I remember when you moved into the house, how much I loved the simplicity of the Greek Revival style compared to later more ornate Victorian styles. Little did I know I would end up owning my own Greek Revival (albeit very different and about a dozen years older) which I would fall in love with due to the simplicity of the interior detailing. It was only today that I made the connection that we both have Greek Revivals.

    • Thank you, Devyn! The greek revival style has to be my favorite period of American architecture…I’m a sucker for symmetry, balance, and simplicity! Love reading about your own—what a great house!

  23. Bravo! You’ve become my Kingston guru! Lovely work.

  24. WOW WOW WOW WOW WOW!

  25. Wowzers, she’s a beauty! I wouldn’t have guessed it but she looks so much better without all those bits and pieces attached! Great job, wonderful result and totes well done, you! x

  26. Look what you’ve done! (When I was a child, this was said to me in a much different tone.) I hope you look at this and feel nothing but pride. Because I look at this and my jaw drops as I think about the hours of work and vision you have for your home. It is beautiful!

    • I do feel a little swell in my chest when I pull up to the house now, I gotta say! It’s so nice not to focus so much on all the unfinished parts and be able to really take it in. It’s always been a beautiful house underneath and I feel so lucky that it’s mine and that I get to do stuff like this!

  27. You’ve done a beautiful job!

  28. It’s almost overwhelming to arrive at this post with you, Daniel! It looks so perfect, its so satisfying. When looking at this side of your house, I always think about the time I visited the Owen’s Thomas House in Savannah Ga, when the docent had us face the house’s back elevation and pointed out faux windows, her best explanation for why they were there was “symmetry…and balance” and proceeded to point out the “symmetry…and balance” throughout the tour as reason for practically every design decision as my sister and I sniggered. Though I have to say, the symmetry and balance you’ve restored has really brought the house into harmony!!

    • Haha, I am that docent!! I had so many kind of embarrassing interactions before the shutters were up…”when are you going to install that window?” and “it’s too bad you had to remove that window, did you add a closet or something?”…and explaining the shutter thing just sounded so hokey and caused a lot of raised eyebrows. Sometimes I’d be with the person later on and be able to point one out on another building in town, which was always met with shock and denial that there was no window there and they’d driven by the building a thousand times and never gave it a thought—ha! But now that’s done I don’t think anybody thinks twice about it! Because it’s supposed to be there! Because…SYMMETRY! AND BALANCE! :)

  29. You must be so proud! Congratulations!

  30. Man, it’s just so wonderful to see all these before an afters from the same angle. It looks amazing, and man, I can just feel your happiness & relief after following along for this entire saga. I doubt the side (and back) of the house ever looked better, frankly. (And I also love me some wide cornerboards on a Greek Revival). I am so friggin’ proud of you!

  31. WOW, WOW, WOW!!! Simply gorgeous. Great job!

  32. It looks so elegant now!

  33. Oh, Daniel! It looks so good. I feel a little teary. Great work.

  34. I’ve loved your long and amazing progress inside and out over the years, always anticipating your next post. The outside – huge job, looks ‘right’ after all your meticulous work. Garden work and black garage work and the fencing …. well … so worth your hard work.
    Joy

  35. Such an amazing job. It’s been fun to be brought along for the ride, thank you for sharing!!!!

    Also did your house used to have a chimney sticking up on top? Was that from the kitchen or ? Just curious! I saw it on the 1950s photo….

    • Yes, it did! The kitchen chimney is actually the one in the back, but the one coming up in the middle of the main house was for heat before the house was fitted with radiators (probably around 1900). The chimney was pretty nuts—it went up from the basement through the attic floor and then stepped over to the center of the ridge on a rather steep diagonal, which was “supported” by a couple of 2x4s. It was showing signs of structural failure and in turn causing roof damage, so I decided to have it removed when the roof was replaced. I do sort of mourn the chimney but I think because of the way it was built, it would have been impossible install a liner and use safely anyway, and losing it is what allowed space for my laundry to move upstairs…so in the long run I think I’m glad I did it, but it’s one of a few things where I’m not super confident I made the right call at the time. But no going back now!

      • My house is much newer (1925) but like many it has a central chimney that was for the heating system/kitchen stove. My house is new enough that it was a furnace but same concept. We also have a 2nd chimney for the fireplace, we live in a classic bungalow so the fireplace is central to the design of the living room. My point being that the central chimney is very boring looking. It is all the same brick, it is all the same width, and it doesn’t have anything of interest going on. Our fireplace chimney is much more interesting and uses two colors of brick at the top. We had to have the chimney repaired because the mortar was failing from age and the mason literally took the chimney apart 3′ down and rebuilt it. The central chimney however we didn’t bother having repaired. It looks like crap and unfortunately when we replaced the roof we still had the furnace vented through it. Since we’ve replaced the chimney and now it’s just a squirrel haven waiting to happen. Being that sometimes house systems are/were just functional and even the original builders wanted them to just disappear or be less noticeable. I won’t feel bad when I take out that central chimney (it will be such a mess and leave a gaping hole between my dining room and kitchen) and my house won’t look less balanced or symmetrical when I do. :)

  36. Have been following your project for awhile and enjoy your blog very much. I too live in and have worked on historical homes-it’s a love hate thing for us depending on the project. You are doing a wonderful job -love your house. Can’t wait to see what’s next.

  37. It looks like a sleek racehorse now–it used to be an ungainly, loaded down camel. So much work. Congratulations, so much progress.

  38. I’ve never commented before but have been following your posts for years. I’m just so excited for you!!! It’s so beautiful! My house is also always under construction and only about half painted right now (so embarrassing–stupid weather). It’s so stressful, but this is giving me hope. Thank you for sharing all that you do!

    • Thank you, Allie! Stick with it! Painting a house is such a big job…I just kept having to remind myself that every clapboard I painted represented a littttttleeee bit of progress, and a little progress is better than no progress! You’ll get it done eventually—this stuff all takes a long time!

  39. Wow! It looks great.

  40. I love it! I love the clean lines as you removed so many of the warts and the white shutters are much less jarring than the period correct darker ones.

  41. Daniel, I can’t tell you how often I come here to see what exciting thing you’ve accomplished. I’m entertained by all of your posts but have especially enjoyed seeing the exterior of this house regain its glory. You should be incredibly proud that all the dirty, uncomfortable hours you’ve spent have given your town and all the rest of us immense joy. Thank you and I look forward to the rest of your dear old home’s journey. (Should you ever decide to open a GoFundMe page, I would happily contribute.)

  42. You richly deserve a victory lap around the internet!!! I can’t get over how much more dignity this old lady has now. She looks quite grand.

    This post reminded me: I have been trying for a while to find an old post where you recommend a local(ish) guy who restores old windows, or is an old-window expert… am I remembering this correctly? I have an 1890s house in Hudson and the windows need some serious love. Most of them just need someone who knows what they’re doing to fix sash weights and such. If I am not hallucinating this, and you still have this person’s name, I would much appreciate it!

  43. wow.
    SO gorgeous and RIGHT.
    I can just feel the house sighing in contentment and feeling very proud to be so beautiful again!
    You amaze and inspire me every post.

  44. You are doing such a wonderful job on your beautiful home. I’m enjoying seeing your progress. I love your dedication and you always inspire!

  45. The 2018 house looks amazing. Your perseverance and vision are paying off in spades.

  46. This is spectacular! Congratulations on persevering—The end result is certainly a worthy reward!

  47. Can you tell me what’s wrong with vinyl siding other than it’s not original? I’ve never really noticed if houses have it or not unless poorly done. I was raised in the Southwest where, as far as I know, it doesn’t exist except on mobile homes. I ask because I was recently in St John’s, Newfoundland and every house there had vinyl siding with wild colors. I assumed it helped with keeping houses warmer and that there isn’t the work that wood can be. I’ve always found wood to be difficult with weathering and such.

    • My issue with vinyl on old houses comes from a couple angles. The first problem is that its installation usually results in various original details being removed—in this case, the decorative drip caps above the window casings had all been hacked off, which is so sad! I’ve also seen cases where the ends of window sills were removed, which is awful. It really screws up the look of a historic house because you no longer have the dimension and shadow lines of the original construction—to me, the difference between this side of the house and the still-vinyl-encased front is like night and day, even if it might not look too terribly different in photos. My main concern with vinyl, though, is the overall health of the structure…old houses need to breathe and they need maintenance and upkeep no matter what. The reason a lot of homeowners like vinyl is the same reason people like me hate it—it covers up any problems (mold, rot, early signs of structural failure) and defers all that maintenance until the day it gets torn off. And because it doesn’t breath, it can trap moisture and accelerate rot—so even if the house looks pristine, there’s probably some gross stuff happening underneath. With new construction built with vinyl in mind as the exterior cladding I don’t super care one way or the other, although there are much better looking composite siding products out there (like Hardie or SmartSide) which aren’t terribly different in cost and should last a lot longer and look much better doing it.

  48. Dear Daniel, I really think you did an excellent job. The proportions seem much better now. By the way, I had previously heard about your blog on AT, but hadn’t found time to read it until earlier this year. I read all your posts chronologically, right from the start and it has been one of the things that I looked forward to everyday :) Thank you for this amazing content; I share your passion in DIY renovations and find every aspect of it fascinating. Take care :)

  49. i LOVE THIS!
    I think the next trend in exteriors will be “aged layers of old paint under sultry matte” i think you just invented an entire trend.
    marvellous.
    Em

  50. I’m stunned by how that first photo gets every ugly angle possible – and how clever you were to see this diamond in the rough.

    The elegance of the house as it now stands is undeniable.

  51. What a transformation … the house looks so good!

  52. Just INCREDIBLE — I’ve been reading along for years, but I think this might be the first time I’ve reached out — I had to write just to tell you that I’m so crazy proud of you! Look at what you’ve done!! Truly stellar work… congrats on it all!

  53. Oh my! I feel like we’ve been on this journey forever. You, doing all the work. Me, lurking on the internet. I could not possibly love this more. Its like you removed a poor old lady’s tumors and let her be beautiful again (is that a weird comparison?). My husband is working in Kingston and I’m very jealous since I secretly want to stalk your house and see it in person (weird again, sorry).

  54. This is really, really, REALLY incredible! You did such an amazing job and the love and care for your house and it’s history is so evident. I’ve been reading your blog foreeeeeeever and I’ve never once commented (because I am the worst), but now that I’m restoring my own old house (1909) I kind of get how big a deal this truly is and I want you to know what an inspiration you are!!

  55. Truly truly truly so beautiful. I can feel the love you have for your home emanating through the screen. You should be so proud. Greek revivals are such gems, something about the greekness just feels solid and meaningful and you’re bringing that underlying feeling back to this house by restoring it’s character lovingly and as accurately as possible. Bravo!

  56. Looks amazing!!

  57. “Look at me, being so naughty!”

    Oh, Daniel. Thank you thank you thank you for your funny voice and for documenting your love affair with this house. I am not PARTICULARLY interested in old home renovations or landscaping but reading your posts and watching your dedication to this project somehow renews my faith in humanity. I can’t wait to see more inside renovations (kitchen!!!!!) but for now I’d say you’ve earned a break. Well done, sir.

  58. It’s funny, I always questioned that painting the garage black would make it fade into the background, but in that last picture, it does exactly that! Such a good trick! The house looks amazing. I can’t help but hope that when it’s “done” you continue to live in it and satisfy your reno needs with outside projects, unlike most of the reno folks I know. :)

  59. It looks so wonderful! Restoring those two windows really does balance out the house. Great job!

  60. I have seriously enjoyed following along as you restore this beaut! Its a lucky house to have someone so caring looking after it. At some point I would LOVE to see your window related processes – both restoring your existing original windows, and how you sourced the new/replacement ones!

  61. Daniel- you are amazing, such talent and vision. Your house is beautiful!! What endurance. Your writing is priceless, love it so much, you always make my day. Cannot wait to see the kitchen/ pantry/ mudroom coming along. You have drive, buddy. This restoration, my 6th, has just about chewed me up. But, so worth it to try to get it right. TRY- the operative word.

  62. You are taking such good care of this house! Flipping between the before and afters you can practically feel the house standing straighter, our from under the weight of those heavy additions!

  63. Hello Daniel,
    Long time reader here.
    I have a question for you about that dormer over the kitchen.
    Do you think it would be less bothersome to you visually if the soffit and fascia on the left side of the dormer at the roofs edge where the same as the right.
    It might tie the dormer in and make it look more intentional than it does with only siding on the left side.
    I know you mentioned you didn’t like the look of that later added dormer was why I commented.
    The side looks great, know how much work these things are.
    In the midst of a 1830’s Stone Pennsylvania farm house remodel.
    Love your stories, good luck with the never ending saga of a remodel.

    • This is actually a great idea – to make the dormer window look more the same on each side. No doubt it is harder to figure out the angles with no corner on the side that needs to be added onto, just a cornerboard separating the addition from the next section of the house. I’m wondering if Daniel has kept any changes to this to be made with the eventual cornice restoration he refers to doing someday. Plenty of time, then, to mull over how to make the dormer look better between now and then.

  64. Looks great, a beautiful restoration job! When you feel like it, I’d love to see shots from the interior, comparing the “before” dark and dreary rooms to the “after” flood of light (And now maybe you can get the town to straighten out that stop sign on the corner? haha!)

  65. Such a happy house now. It even looks like it’s standing up straighter, it’s so proud of it’s new look!

  66. What I want to know is…WHAT HAPPENED TO THAT STOP SIGN!?!

  67. I absolutely love how you were able to take the hot mess it was when you bought it and bring it back to it’s gorgeous, close to original state. I know it was a lot of work, but it looks AMAZING

  68. Your redoing the old clapboards literally brought tears to my eyes. It’s such a connection to the gifted hands who made the house. And now yours, too. Such an excellent summitting. Thank you for sharing the whole story with us.

  69. It does my soul good to see such beautiful proportions emerge from a remuddled mess. The corner board to delineate the kitchen addition was just brilliant. You’re just amazingly talented at this!

  70. It really is looking more and more like an older home that has been loved and cared for and not futzed with and added on to and on to and on to over the years. What an accomplishment to make it look so…natural and original again from the street. Looks like it’s always looked that way. Well done, sir!

  71. Love it! You’ve done an amazing job! And it’s been so much fun to read about. One question – not a criticism just curious – why not replace the faux window with a real one?
    Can’t wait to see pictures of it decorated for the holidays.

    • Good question! I did consider it, but on the other side of that wall is my big wall of bookshelves in my living room! And because the downstairs windows are larger than the upstairs ones, that would have forced the window to the corner of the room, unless I moved them over toward the front of the house and then the even-ish spacing of the windows would be thrown off. At the end of the day I wanted to preserve one of the very few large walls in my house rather than trade it for another window—the room already has three! This house is so full of doors and windows and radiators that there actually aren’t very many large usable walls for art or storage or furniture.

  72. Wow, anybody who has been reading along has seen how very much work this was – and you got it done!
    The side of your house looks soooo…. much better. Bet you weren’t thinking you’d be tearing all those extensions off the house when you first bought it. What’s next for the exterior – on to redoing the clapboards front of the house?

    Funny how we all look at historical details differently. I know your house originally had fake windows, but I think they are a historical oddity I couldn’t see replicating. I’d have put in a real window (I know, you like your bookcases where they are.) A historical detail I would have kept is the original spacing of the windows you added, rather than moving them to right 8 inches to be symmetrical with the windows in the next room back – I think they crowd the bay window a bit in their current placement – but I get it, our brains all focus on different things, and yours like symmetry more than mine does – I think they look more balanced in their original placement. I like the cornerboard separating off the kitchen addition – though I would have added longer windows to the kitchen to match the others on that side of the house – I’ve seen many a kitchen renovated in an old house with windows that stretch below the countertops, and haven’t found them to be a problem, and much prefer that look on the outside of the house. Quibbles, really – we all look at historical details differently – all in all, a great restoration of this side of your house. Can’t wait to see the kitchen renovation inside!

  73. Oh my word, LOOK at that renovation! Top to bottom, inside and out. This is just magnificent and I’m so happy to see it come together so nicely! A job well done.

  74. Stumbled across this and so glad I did!! I need to keep following along. We live in an 1820s greek revival (I *think*) and I need inspiration like this! Thanks for sharing!

  75. I found you when you first bought this house, and have followed you ever since. I know you have to be proud of the work you’ve done, it’s just stunning! I love your humor and the way you do your projects; I’d say we would get along perfectly, but maybe two of the same person wouldn’t get it done the same way you do! Keep on keeping on. I love reading!

  76. It’s a GD masterpiece. A masterpiece!

    The historic board is telling me that I need to install a dummy door on the outside of my house when I remodel the kitchen. It pains me so. But, I feel better knowing you have a dummy window. Will you reassure me that everything will be okay?! Will it? Will it?

  77. Just wow. I am seeing it 5 years in the future when the trees are filled out and the windows are redone, it is a stunner. I cannot believe how much work but it was so worth it. You are incredibly skilled and have the patience necessary to complete it well. Very inspiring.

  78. Wow Daniel! You have given your house her dignity back and that’s no mean feat. Congratulations! It was her lucky day when you decided to buy her. Your neighbours should be eternally grateful that they have such a beauty to look at after all the loving care you have bestowed on the outside.

  79. Your home looks AMAZING. I have been reading your blog through the whole process (since before this house, actually) and I wish I had a fraction of the patience, knowledge, and talent that you have. Congratulations!

  80. Just amazing! Seriously, I so appreciate your historic preservation mindset. I think your house is so much happier now.

  81. I know it has taken a lot of time, blood, sweat, and tears, and probably felt like pulling teeth at several points, but what an amazing change! It looks so nice and fresh compared with the “before” pictures! (That crooked stop sign in the last photo is bugging me, though. But that’s the city’s problem and not yours!)

  82. I am in awe. The amount of work you’ve done is incredible. And it is such an improvement. It looks beautiful. I’m sure the house is happy as well. Look at her, it seems as if she perked up a bit and took a deep breath of fresh air. You did well.

  83. IT LOOKS AMAZING!!!
    seeing it all laid out like this and thinking of the amount of work and care that went into it is mindblowing!

  84. Congratulations, great job! Your house now really looks fantastic. I’m sure that anybody walking by and looking to your house won’t never ever imagine how much work have you made on it. You put great interest in many details and that makes the difference. Awesome!

  85. Love Love LOVEEE! It is so good! I don’t know what Iove more! Your landscaping, the garage, the exterior reno. All of it is Perfect

  86. Looks amazing Daniel! I’ve been following your work on this, and I know it must feel amazing to have finally reached this point. It’s exciting to see!

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