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