What I'm Seeing Now

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Old And New

I love inspecting historically-old homes because you see so much old and new.

This 1858 special was no different.  It even had a new addition - put on some time in the 50s.

Look at some of the neat things on this house, and how they melted old and new together, often seamlessly.

Many of the windows on the house were original! Many of them have been replaced, but most are original and extremely wavy as you look outside!

Yes, not very efficient, and some were painted completely shut, but original!

I don't know if the shutters were original, but they were very old.

And they are still on their hooks so they operate to seal off the windows!

But I said old and new.

Can you see the new?

There it is!

The old shutter hold back.

And that is what you think it is - a shutter hold back!

Obviously made more recently (there are restoration blacksmiths still out there), this shutter hold back, actually all of them for all the shutters, works perfectly and does hold the shutter securely against the brick.  It is buried in the brick and swivels left and right.

The rear of the house had a "summer porch."

The summer porch was often found on the second level off the bedrooms, but here it was on the main level off the kitchen.

The summer porch was used for sitting or eating outside, to keep cooler than inside the house.

But also it was where residents and guests could sleep during the summer.

It was far cooler to sleep outdoors!

You can see where it used to be against the main house.

Now it is finished into a breezeway between the main house, beside the kitchen, and leading to the "new" addition.  It has wood siding, to look old, and see the new metal roof?  That will last well over 100 years.

There were many support beams under the house!  And original joists.

The beams are logs, stripped of bark, and cut to fit end to end.  There was no going down to the local lumber yard and buying a few engineered beams for your house.

You engineered your own beams!

And look at the hand-hewn joist to the left and column underneath!  Of course, we need new wiring to go with the old support!

Surely an old house needs old flooring!

And this one is no different.

The flooring was variably wide and narrow, with all the original worm holes, crusty spots, bark and imperfections.

It is a gorgeous red oak.

And it's throughout the "formal" areas of the house.

Last but not least is the entry way and staircase.

We see new flooring, out of the box.  But we also see the original stair treads, newel post and balusters.

Those balusters were hand turned the old fashioned way, in a mill or with a foot pedal.

The lathe used was very similar in appearance to a new, electric lathe.  But you had to provide your own power!

If you can find me a newel post at the bottom of a staircase in a newer house that is as secure and stable as this one (and it is REALLY secure!) let me know.

I'm doubting it!

And this one has been here for how long?

Think of all the hands that have touched that handrail over the years, on the way up the stairs to go to bed.  Think of all the people who have looked out the wavy windows to see what's going on outdoors.  It's fun to think things like this.

My recommendation:  old houses show old and new.  There is always a mish mash of structure, electrical, plumbing and HVAC.  And when well done, as in this house, it can be seamless.  See how complementary the old and new look together in these photos?

 

Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

Office (703) 330-6388   Cell (703) 585-7560

www.jaymarinspect.com


Comment balloon 43 commentsJay Markanich • June 21 2014 04:48AM

Comments

Very cool indeed. The architectural details of our older homes never fails to amaze me. I love to walk through them and admire that work. You know how hard they worked to make them look so outstanding in those days.

Great pics! Thanks!

Posted by Bobbie Smith, 570-242-1891 over 4 years ago

Yes, I always love thinking through the history of all those that lived in these older homes.  We've done several from the 1800's and even a few from the 1700's.  It's really cool.  And, yes, some of those older/original woodwork structures are amazing.  Sometimes I see it in banisters and other times in moldingings.  Very cool indeed.

Posted by Debbie Gartner, The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers (The Flooring Girl) over 4 years ago

And with everything done by hand it took a while, Bobbie!

It took nearly 2 years to build my grandmother's house, circa 1910.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 4 years ago

And the wavy glass is a kick too Debbie.

I tried but was unable to get a good wavy photo!

I did get one on the Old Stone House on the Manassas Battlefield.

http://www.jaymarinspect.com/manassas-stone-house-wavy-glass-manassas-battlefield-park.html

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 4 years ago

Good morning Jay,

It looks like one to visit if you were able. And yes it is interesting to find these treasures now and then.

Make yourself a great day.

Posted by Raymond E. Camp, Licensed Real Estate Salesperson Greater Rochester (Howard Hanna Real Estate Services) over 4 years ago

Thanks Raymond.  And I love visiting!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 4 years ago

Jay, you have a great appreciation for these old beauties! I especially marvel at the old staircases and the newel posts. Thanks for the super pictures.

Posted by Tom White, Franklin Homes Realty LLC, Franklin TN (Franklin Homes Realty LLC (615) 495-0752 or www.FranklinHomesRealty.com) over 4 years ago

Isn't this great, Tom?  I love these old houses.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 4 years ago

Jay, It have to say, I love the newel post, it is simple yet so elegant!  I also love these old beauties like this one, a really appreciate it when additions are added to look like they are part of the original house.

Posted by Tony & Darcy Cannon, The C Team (Aubrey and Associates Realty) over 4 years ago

If I had to guess, T&D, it's made from black walnut.  There are a couple of black walnuts on the property now.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 4 years ago

For Oklahoma City something at the beginning of the 20th century is about as old as we get. The tragedy is when someone remodels the interior and makes it look like a newer suburban home, or adds new that does not mesh with old on the exterior. We should respect the architecture. I once had a client come into an open house on a Mid Century Modern that had one inch thick Phillipine mahogany paneling in the living and he said he would have to paint that. I did everything but chase him out of the house.

Posted by Joe Pryor, REALTOR® - Oklahoma Investment Properties (The Virtual Real Estate Team) over 4 years ago

Old is rare around here. Most of the old homes are ramshakle farmhouses that are barely standing. The character just isn't in them.

Posted by Than Maynard, Broker - Licensed to List & Sell - 405-990-8862 (Coldwell Banker Heart of Oklahoma) over 4 years ago

Jay,

I am so glad I read your blog post. I was clinging to your every word. Not only did you tell us about the history, you told the story like a Great Storyteller! Now that's a gift!!! It's not just about a house, is it? It's about the people that lived there. The mi-sh mash of the old and the new. Attention to details, hand carvings, authenticity, and all that labor of love! I was walking down that staircase with you, holding on to the banister, thinking about the many people that went up and down the staircase. I could almost touch that newel post while I was thinking about the groom carrying his bride up the stairs, the kids sneaking down the wooden stairs on Christmas morning. Oh this is a great house! You are a great inspector and very original! I'm happy to see your story featured!!!

Posted by Patricia Feager, Selling Homes Changing Lives (DFW FINE PROPERTIES) over 4 years ago

That must have been beautiful, Joe.  Good to chase him out!

Than - you are in the "Redman," or "Redskin," state!  That's what Oklahoma means!  There's some old stuff out there!

Thanks Patricia!  You make me feel like Dickens (my mother called me a little dickens a lot, but I think that's a different story) and I wish I could be paid by the word like he was!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 4 years ago

Jay- I am loving your old house tours you've given us and hope you continue with them.  It's even better when the new is added to the old and the whole is even better than the parts. 

Posted by Kathy Streib, Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224 (Room Service Home Staging) over 4 years ago

Thanks, Jay. This so well written post is another great example of someone who both knows and enjoys his work. I appreciate these visits back in time - as well as your more current informative posts.
Thanks for sharing,
Bruce

Posted by Bruce Kunz, REALTOR®, Brick & Howell NJ Homes for Sale (C21 Solid Gold Realty, Brick, NJ, 732-920-2100) over 4 years ago

Jay, we see so much of that here in DC, especially in Georgetown and on Capitol Hill.  And you never know what will turn up!

Posted by Patricia Kennedy, Home in the Capital (RLAH Real Estate) over 4 years ago

Thanks Kathy.  Thought I'd do the contrast.  This place is not far from where you used to live.

And thank you Bruce.  I really, really do enjoy home inspecting - I would do it for free if I could afford to do so.

I see them Pat!  And that skeleton key post the other day was about a house two blocks from the Capitol Building.

Wanda used to own a row house on Maryland Avenue built in 1839.  When we renovated it I pulled out the original fireplace mantel, with 20 coats of paint on it.  I had it dipped and on the back side was written a name and '39 in pencil!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 4 years ago

Nothing like restoring an old house well, to its original luster with some important more contemporary elements.  Such a nice post!

Posted by Joanna Cohlan, Designing, Decorating & Staging Westchester Homes (Fresh Eyes For Your Home) over 4 years ago

Thank you Joanna.  You would probably appreciate my Antique Door Knobs post from a couple of days ago.  Same house.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 4 years ago

Older houses can be interesting to fix up and try to keep them as historically accurate! 

Posted by Gerard Gilbers, Your Marketing Master (Higher Authority Markeing) over 4 years ago

And oftentimes they are long-term projects Gerard!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 4 years ago

Jay, I have a friend here in the valley that has a specialty of restoring these old homes to their original condition, and the average consumer would never know that a support beam that he had hewn was a replacement log.

Posted by Mike Cooper, Your Winchester, VA Real Estate Sales Pro (Cornerstone Business Group Inc) over 4 years ago

If you are trying to keep things to period that is what you would do, Mike!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 4 years ago

Jay - how fun was this post.  I loved the way you pointed out the old and the new.  It truly is great when it is done well.

Posted by Joan Whitebook, Consumer Focused Real Estate Services (BHG The Masiello Group) over 4 years ago

Glad you liked it Joan.  These contrasts were throughout the house, in one way or another.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 4 years ago

Having lived in Connnecticut in a past lifetime have been in many old homes and that was back in the 60's. Bet they are still there. Here in Florida. Not so much.

Posted by Bill Reddington, Destin Florida Real Estate (Re/max Southern Realty) over 4 years ago

I bet there is some cool stuff in CT, Bill.  Florida - the post there could be New and Old.  What is new is old!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 4 years ago

I would love to be in your shoes and inspecting old home. It's a wonderful job and thank you for sharing the joy.

Posted by Chuck Mixon, Cutler Bay Specialist, GRI, CDPE, BPOR (The Keyes Company) over 4 years ago

It's always an experience Chuck!  I have fun too.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 4 years ago

I adore old houses Jay and I love your post. Thank you for highlighting such a historic gem.. seeing your pictures does make one wonder what stories those walls could tell.

Posted by Andrea Bedard, M.A.; REALTOR® Silver Spring, MD and beyond (Thompson Company, REALTORS®) over 4 years ago

It was there during the Civil War, Andrea.  No bullet holes!  I have done inspections on old houses where there are still Civil War bullet holes which every owner has preserved.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 4 years ago

Thanks for the post with the great pictures and tips about how to make old and new flow together.

Posted by Sybil Campbell, REALTOR® ABR, SFR, SRES Williamsburg, Virginia (Long and Foster REALTORS® 5234 Monticello Ave Williamsburg, Virginia) over 4 years ago

Anytime I do one of these I will have more photos Sybil!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 4 years ago

Touring old homes is an adventure.

That said, I wouldn't want to own one.  They can be a money-pit.

Posted by Lenn Harley, Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland (Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate) over 4 years ago

Hey, Jay!  I just included this post on today's Last Week's Favorites List.  Have a great Sunday!

Posted by Patricia Kennedy, Home in the Capital (RLAH Real Estate) over 4 years ago

Lenn - I say to people that these old homes are often ongoing projects.  That said, this one was pretty well updated and maintained.

Gracias Pat!  Always fun to be there!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 4 years ago

Interesting but not for everyone. Yes to charm and uniqueness...No to repairs and...?

Posted by Richie Alan Naggar, agent & author (people first...then business Ran Right Realty ) over 4 years ago

When we visited Washington's home walking into the home made we think of George.  I can picture him walking up the same steps it was something I'll never forget. 

Posted by James Dray, Exceptional Agents, Outstanding Results (Fathom Realty AR LLC) over 4 years ago

I also love the mix of old and new. We have gorgeous, very charming antiques in our area that have been lovingly maintained and equipped with all modern luxuries and amenities. The result is a delight (if the ceilings are high enough!). 

Posted by Olga Simoncelli, CONSULTANT, Real Estate Services & Risk Management (Veritas Prime, LLC dba Veritas Prime Real Estate) over 4 years ago

Someone takes these on from time to time as a labor of love, Richie.  You need time and money!

Once when I was in Monticello I touched the arm rest of Jefferson's office chair James.  The sign said not to touch, but I wanted to touch what he had!

Olga - some antiques require the right room, to be sure!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 4 years ago

Rare to see any homes that old in my market area. Homes that have shutters are for decoration only, not function. 

Posted by Pamela Seley, Residential Real Estate Agent serving SW RivCo CA (West Coast Realty Division) over 4 years ago

They are all just decoration now Pamela, I suppose, but there due to tradition.  On this house they had a function years ago, and still work!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 4 years ago

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