Tuesday, January 13, 2009

"The Good, The Bad, The Horribly Remuddled"!

"The Good, The Bad, The Horribly Remuddled"! Is a new series that will appear from time to time, showcasing the worst attempts at "restoration." This series is about that "train wreck" remuddle that just stops you in your tracks and makes you ask "What were they thinking?" In this series we will architecturally "dissect" a historic home and highlight just where they went wrong!
Today's inaugural example was once a charming Second Empire Cottage, probably built between 1870 and 1880. You may recall that I recently devoted a blogpost to this architectural style and Cincinnati has some landmark examples of the style, This one?.....not so much!
One of the things that makes this style interesting is the stately sloped mansard roof line on the front of the house and the elaborate bracketwork that would be under the front box gutter. This example looks like it has a "frontal lobotomy". As you can see the entire front eave has been removed, along with the brackets and ornamentation.The elaborate window trim is gone and the slate or tin front decorative roof line has been "pasted" over with cheap vinyl siding and what was once an elegant upscale cottage has been reduced to , well, lets just say it...crap!

At some point this home may have had a porch added on the front. Common in the later Victorian period, many homes in this style were "updated" to reflect the changing taste of the times. It would have been an elaborate turned column porch, perhaps with brackets and while not original to the house would have contributed to the architectural interest. This porch however serves no useful purpose except to perhaps shield the shame of the front facade with its cheap replacement windows and doors. It is too low and the 50's style flat roof and cheap wrought iron post columns do nothing for it. Of course the low porch is in keeping with the inside where they lowered all the grand ceilings. In its original form there would have been an elaborate front door with glass transom and a single or double window to the left which may have had elaborate cresting tiin work.
On every level this is an example of what NOT to do to an old house. The owner however is very proud of his work as he is asking an astounding 50K for it. Let's all hope he isn't holding his breath!

Do you have a "Horribly remuddled" home on your block? If so, send it to me and I will feature it here. Perhaps through better education by showing people what NOT to do , we can stem the tide of bad remuddling in Cincinnati!

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