PART 2 OF THIS SERIES of working on your old home explores replacement in-kind. Replacement in-kind refers to replicating the original in all respects except improved condition, when absolute preservation is not possible. This is a follow-up to Part 1’s general information about maintaining your home’s historical relevance and period style. Regarding replacement, it is easy to think that if the look of a historical building is maintained, as well as the types of materials used, then the building has been successfully preserved. But preservation is not just about preserving how something looks, it is primarily focused on preserving how something is, so that it remains as original as possible for future generations. 

Photo of Keperling Preservation Services’ completed work on the Harris Mansion porch in 2014, which necessitated some replacement in-kind. 

As important as it is to preserve how our historical buildings actually are, inevitably replacements will need to be made when features are so deteriorated that stabilization, conservation, or restoration are simply not viable options. In these instances, the National Park Service’s Standards for Preservation and Guidelines for Preserving Historic Buildings allow for “replacement in-kind” (replicating the original feature in all respects, except improved condition) if there are surviving features that can be used as prototypes. The Standards & Guidelines also notes that, “The replacement materials need to match the old both physically and visually, i.e., wood with wood, etc. Thus… substitute materials are not appropriate in … preservation.”

Using similarly styled or patterned ceramic tile to replace a terracotta tile, using a different wood when replacing cabinetry, removing wallpaper in favor of uncovering the plaster walls, using shingles that are of a different dimension, are all changes that can easily be made in ways that are in keeping with your building’s period of significance. Yet doing so can be confusing to anyone researching historical architecture by suggesting these features (or aspects of them) were there during the building’s period of significance when, in reality, they weren’t.

Further, removing these features permanently alters your building’s historical fabric, sometimes irretrievably. Original wallpaper that is often destroyed during the removal process can’t usually be replaced with in-kind period wallpaper. Replacing one species of wood with another sometimes can’t be undone if the original species of wood is not readily available, or is priced so exorbitantly that it is not financially feasible for your project. In order to avoid significant, and sometimes irreparable, damage to your building, consider replacing only the deteriorated or missing parts of your building’s features, use materials that match the old in design, color, and texture (both physically and visually), and document the original material and the replacement process and materials used extensively for future reference and research.

Ask yourself:

  • Do I have documentation of all former replacements, including documentation of the original features?
  • Have I had my buildings evaluated by a qualified contractor to identify any inappropriate replacement materials or approaches?
  • Do I document all replacements I do, including written and photographic documentation, noting the materials, details, and tooling on both the original and the replacement?
  • Are there any parts of my building’s original features that are deteriorated or missing and need replacement?
  • Is it possible to just replace the deteriorated parts instead of replacing the whole feature?
  • Have I checked with a qualified contractor to see if remediation is needed for any not-in-kind replacements previously performed on my building?

Next week: PART 3 OF THIS SERIES focuses on using a good design.

Typically, on homes built in the mid-1800’s until the early 1900’s, the most unexpected maintenance problem deals with the internal gutter system. This is because the problem is hidden until the failure has begun. However, regular inspection and maintenance can catch the problem before it is too late, and damage is done.

First, I bet you are wondering, “what is an internal gutter system?” What we call internal gutter systems are also known as “Yankee Gutters,” or built-in, sunken, box or integral gutters. These drainage systems have been used on houses from the 1700’s through the early 1900’s, though they are most commonly found on buildings from the Victorian period. Typically, they are incorporated into the cornice along the roof line, on a porch, or bay window. The usual construction is a wood trough lined with metal. Because of the cornice trim covering the gutter, problems with the metal lining (typically the first problem – allowing water into the structural framing and eventually the trim) remains unseen until damage is spotted from the water infiltration.

Signs your system is not functioning properly include: peeling paint, moist wood, damage to the masonry (at the roof level), and plaster damage on the interior of the house (at the bay window). Unfortunately, once these symptoms are presented, there is often damage to the structural walls or ceiling, not to mention the decorative moldings of the cornice, making the repair a restoration project (replacement to match the original) rather than a preservation project (maintenance) – an expensive proposition.

One way to minimize the cost is to make sure the gutter is regularly inspected and the solder joints in the metal are properly maintained. These inspections can be done semi-annually when the gutters are cleaned of leaves and other debris.

PRO TIP: Never use roofing tar to seal the joints (rather than soldering the metal seams). This will trap the water into the wood, causing the same problems you are trying to prevent.

Some people roof over the internal gutter system and use external gutters for their water management – this is an option for saving money, but it does change the original appearance of the building by covering the decorative cornice. Further, this solution does not address the damage to the structural systems. Often, unenlightened homeowners will wrap the problem in vinyl or aluminum using the “I can’t see it, so it’s not a problem” approach to maintenance. Of course, this causes larger problems and sometimes results in losing the entire front porch.

If you have external gutters, you should regularly inspect them (semi-annually) to ensure that they are doing their job keeping water out of the house and moving it away from the foundation. If replacement becomes necessary, be sure you replace them with half-round gutters and round or rectangular downspout styles appropriate for historic buildings. NEVER replace them with K-style or corrugated downspouts.

Joe McCormick, realtor, joined the Practical Preservation podcast to discuss real estate and historic homes.  

We discussed:

  • Tips for historic home buyers and sellers
  • How to choose a real estate agent for your historic home search or listing
  • Why older properties are good values for real estate taxes
  • Understanding any regulations that may impact your property rights

Contact:

Joe McCormick – 610-637-8598 (text or call) or email: [email protected] serving Chester and Delaware counties in Pennsylvania

After our Practical Preservation event in June at Lancaster History I reached out to our contact to see if they would have someone share their resources for researching house histories on the Practical Preservation Podcast.  Kevin Shue joined the podcast and shared his more than 30 years of experience working with the collection at Lancaster History.

There are many resources to help you find the history of our home.  The two areas of concentration most people are searching for are the year the house was built and/or the history of the people who built and subsequently lived in the house.  

Resource options:

  • Tax records
  • Deed recordings
  • Historic Preservation Trust of Lancaster County – individual property records from county surveys
  • Census records: population, manufactures schedule to show craftsman and trades, and agricultural schedules to show crops, livestock, and acreage
  • Estate Inventorys
  • Countywide maps
  • Fire Insurance maps
  • Photos

Photos of the Lancaster History Collection:

Bio:

Kevin worked at LancasterHistory for thirty years.  He has helped thousands of researchers over this time period.  He has help authors of numerous books, and given lectures on various topics here in Lancaster;, as well as, Dublin, Ireland, Belfast, Northern Ireland; County Tyrone, Northern Ireland; and Quinnipiac University in Connecticut.

Contact:

Lancaster History – lancasterhistory.org (research) or 717-392-4633

Hours: Monday-Saturday 9:30am-5pm

Robert Young, PhD of the University of Utah’s College of Architecture + Planning joined the Practical Preservation podcast to discuss the intersection of sustainability and preservation. During our discussion we discussed how stewardship of existing buildings is the ultimate green building (plus it is large scale recycling). Some of the other topics we discussed are:

  •  The environmental impact of building
  •  The Three Pillars of Sustainability 
  •  Trends in technology and preservation
  •  And the challenges he sees facing adaptive reuse and how to combat common myths

Robert Young, authored two books, Historic Preservation Technology and Stewardship of the Built Environment.

Contact information:

Robert A. Young, PhD, FAPT, PE, LEED AP

Professor of Architecture

Historic Preservation Program Director

University of Utah College of Architecture + Planning

375 South 1530 East; 235AAC

Salt Lake City, UT 84112-0370 T: (801) 581-3909 E: [email protected]

Bio:

Robert A. Young, PhD, professor and historic preservation program director at the University of Utah College of Architecture + Planning, specializes in stewardship of the built environment which synthesizes historic preservation, adaptive reuse, sustainability, and community revitalization. His career bridges both professional practice and academia where he has advocated for stewardship of the built environment. He is the author of the books Historic Preservation Technology and Stewardship of the Built Environment. He holds a doctorate in Metropolitan Planning, Policy, and Design and has several graduate degrees that explore resource conservation in the built environment.

Professor Young has won numerous awards for his leadership in advocating historic preservation education and practice including the Utah Heritage Foundation Lucybeth Rampton Award, the University of Utah Distinguished Teaching Award, and the University of Utah Distinguished Service Professorship. He is a licensed Professional Engineer, a member of the Association for Preservation Technology College of Fellows, and an honorary member of AIA-Utah. Originally from Maine, he has travelled to all fifty of the United States, several Canadian Provinces and parts of Europe.

Beaux Arts “Beaux-Arts” was originally a french term meaning “fine arts” or “beautiful arts”, but in the late 1800’s it came to refer to a specific style of Parisian-influenced architecture in the U.S.  A style of architecture that can be summed up with two words…

Massive and grandiose.

Marrying the classical design elements of largesse and symmetry from the Greek and Roman architectural traditions with the elaborate ornamentation from the Rennaissance design ideas, Beaux-Arts architecture became synonymous with larger-than-life, over-the-top architectural identified by the following elements:

•Constructed with stone
•Balustrades
•Balconies
•Columns
•Cornices
•Pilasters
•Triangular pediments
•Lavish decorations (swags, medallions, flowers, and shields)
•Grand stairway
•Large arches
•Symmetrical façade
•Main entrances are the center of the main facade

 

CLICK HERE TO OGLE A BUNCH OF REALLY GORGEOUS BEAUX-ARTS BUILDINGS

 

 

Never ones to do things in a ho-hum way, we’re throwing a Preservation Circus for our client appreciation day on Friday, August 22nd from 4pm to 7pm.

postcard-4inx6in-h-front

Whether you are a client, thinking about becoming a client, are just curious about what it’s like to be a Historic Restorations client, are into historic preservation, or just want to come for the free fun – come out and enjoy:

 

  • Meeting Penelope the Preservation Puppy
  • Live Bluegrass Music (one of America’s historical music forms)
  • Free food and drinks
  • Colonial themed activities for the kids
  • Touring our shop and office
  • Asking your old house questions

 

Bring a non-perishable food item for a chance to win door prizes! We’ll be collecting non-perishable food items for to help the Council of Churches restock their dwindling food bank supplies. The Council of Churches works together to provide three “no obligation” meals a day at locations throughout Lancaster City and this is the time of year they struggle to keep their pantries stocked with the amount of food they need to do so. Their important work literally feeds hundreds of people each day, with no strings attached, and we are happy to support their efforts.

Please RSVP by calling Moira at 717.291.4688 or visit www.historic-restorations.com/circus.

 

astleyDid you know?

The father of the modern circus was Philip Astley.  In the mid-1700’s he performed “feats of horsemanship” in a circular arena he called a “ring”.  Not only did the circular shape help the audience to see him at all times, it also generated the centrifugal force Astley needed to keep his balance while standing on the back of his galloping horses.

In 1770 he decided he needed more novelty in his performances and added acrobats, rope-dancers, jugglers, and a clown.  And so the modern circus was born.

 

 

 

Hi! I’m Penelope and I’m new around here, but my Mommy and Daddy know a lot about historic preservation and have been teaching me new things every day.Penelope Pic (1)

Yesterday they taught me not to chew on Karri’s office slippers (even if I really want to) and then they taught me something that really blew my mind…

Historic wood windows are one of the most “at risk” features of our historic homes.

Now, I’m still learning words, but “at risk” sounds pretty bad to me.  And apparently it’s all because the replacement window industry wants us to believe their plastic windows are better than wood windows.

But my Mommy and Daddy tell me it isn’t true.  They say wood windows not only look better in old houses, they don’t cause the moisture issues replacement windows do, AND they are more energy efficient.  They told me the guidelines for the best way to take care of America’s historic buildings say you should preserve and maintain your wood windows instead of replacing them.

And Mommy and Daddy don’t usually lie to me.

My Grandpa Chuck tells me that so many people didn’t know this and fell into the replacement window sales company’s clutches, that he’s been replacing a lot of replacement windows lately.  (I guess when people realize the plastic windows they put in weren’t the right choice they call him to make wood windows for them.  I wanna be just like him when I grow up.)

Now I have a secret to tell you, but you have to promise not to tell my Mommy and Daddy…  They gave me a report I was supposed to read so I could tell you more about this, but I was too pooped from spending the day at the office and I fell asleep before I finished it.

So I’m going just going to let you read this report for yourself:

“Put Replacement Windows to Shame: 10 Tools to Make Your Historic Wood Windows Last for Generations”

Window Report Image (Smaller File)Mainstream consumer trends would have you believe that you should replace your historic wood windows with vinyl, or other synthetic replacement windows.

Of course, you own a historic home – not a McMansion – making you anything but the typical consumer who follows mainstream trends.

Boy is this report for you, because in it we are going to give you the knowledge and tools you need to buck the system and put replacement windows (and their uneducated salesmen) to shame.

To get your copy of the report, call or email Moira at 717.291.4688 or [email protected]

There is no architectural element in our historic architecture more nostalgic than the American porch.  We remember playing on them as kids.  We hung out on them with our friends as teenagers (probably stealing a kiss or two we weren’t supposed to have yet).  We sat on them as adults sipping iced tea on hot summer evenings.  We visited with friends and family laughing and playing cards.  We sat on them to watch parades.  Some of us even slept on them to escape the oppressive heat inside on hot summer nights.

But where did porches come from and how did they become the porches we know today?  Here’s a quick primer on the history of the American porch.

Late 1700’s –

Porches were utilitarian covered doorways or flanked “stoops” that protected the main entrances from the weather and served as transitions to and from the outdoors

historic porches, history of porches,

Governor’s Palace, Colonial Williamsburg
Photo by Fletcher6 on Wikipedia

 

1778 –

George Washington sets the porch building standard with his American classical porch at Mt. Vernon

historic porches, history of porches

George Washington’s Mt. Vernon
Photo by Martin Falbisoner on Wikipedia

 

Early 1800’s –

Longer porches that span the entire front of homes become more popular

 

1800’s –

Porches in the Northeast were called “piazzas”, a word adapted from the Italian word for “open space”

 

Porches in the south were called “verandas”, a term that reflected British colonial design influences from India.  This term would eventually become the dominant term along the East Coast.

 

Porches in the French colonial areas of the deep South wrapped around the entire house and were referred to as “galleries”.

 

Porches in Spanish colonial architecture were called “arcades”.

 

1830’s & 40’s –

The classic columns of the Greek Revival make their way onto porches of public buildings, hotels, and mansions

Historic porches, history of porches

Millford Plantation, South Carolina
Photo by Jack Boucher on Wikipedia

 

Mid 1800’s –

Porches have fully evolved from transition spaces into gathering places for socializing

 

The growing middle class builds homes with elaborate porches dressed with fancy millwork in new suburban neighborhoods.

 

Late 1800’s –

Highly decorated wrap-around Queen Anne style porches became wildly popular and are even added to small and simple houses.

historic porches, history of porches

Carson Mansion in California
Photo by Cory Maylett on Wikipedia

 

 

Porches are now used as outdoor living spaces and their shaded and landscaped privacy offered a discreet meeting spot in an age obsessed with propriety.

 

1873 –

President Rutherford B. Hayes: “The best part of the present house is the veranda.  But I would enlarge it.  I want a veranda with a house attached.”

 

Early 1900’s –

Growing understanding and acceptance of germ theory brings medicinal value to porches as doctors begin touting the benefits of fresh air.

 

Hipped roofs and exposed rafters hit the scene on porches with bungalow architecture.

 

SLEEPING PORCHES BECOME A POPULAR AS TUBERCULOSIS SOARS.

historic porches, history of porches

Sleeping porch at the Eleanor Roosevelt National Historic Site
Photo by Rolf Müller on Wikipedia

 

1920’s – 50’s –

As autos hit the roads, porches move to the side of the house as we retreat from the noise and dirt and seek more privacy.  Eventually they will end up at the back of the house where they will predominantly stay in new architecture for the next fifty or sixty years.

 

This article is a part of a series from the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission’s excellent field guide on the architectural styles found in Pennsylvania.  In it, they’ve assigned key periods of development – from the Colonial period in the 18th Century to the Modern Movements of the 29th Century.  This article focuses on an overview of the Traditional/Vernacular style in Pennsylvania from 1638 through 1950

PA Architecture Bungalow/Craftsman Style 1900 – 1930

Identifiable Features

  1. One or two stories in height
  2. Overhanging eaves with exposed rafters or braces
  3. Front facing gables
  4. Multi pane windows
  5. Low pitched gable or hipped roof
  6. Full or partial front porch with study columns
  7. Prominent gabled or shed roofed dormers
Bungalow

The Bungalow or Craftsman style developed in California at the turn of the 20th century and was inspired by the English Arts and Crafts movement which brought a renewed interest in hand crafted materials and harmony with the natural environment. The original form of the Bungalow came from one story buildings surrounded by verandahs built in India in the 19th century to serve as rest houses for travelers known as “dak bungalows.”  This Eastern influence can be seen in the development of the form, setting and crafted wooden details of the Bungalow style. The Bungalow style emphasizes low, horizontal lines and a design that becomes a part of its natural setting. The hallmarks of the style, wide projecting eaves and overhanging gables with exposed rafters, and open porches with heavy square porch columns often atop stone bases, give these buildings a sense of solid construction. Architect brothers Charles Sumner Greene and Henry Mather Greene are credited as the most influential early practitioners of this style.  They designed Craftsman-type Bungalows as early as 1903 in Pasadena, California.  Their beautifully detailed early designs were well received and were promulgated throughout the country through popular magazines like House Beautiful, Good Housekeeping, and  Ladies Home Journal.  Pattern books with a wide variety of Bungalow designs and complete mail order house kits soon followed, allowing the Bungalow style to spread quickly across the country.  While examples of the Bungalow style can be found throughout the United States, the style is often associated with California, since it originated there, was well suited to the warm climate and became extremely popular there in the early 20th century. With appealing, small scale house plans readily available, the Bungalow or Craftsman house was an ideal answer to the need for affordable houses for the growing middle class and developing suburbs in the first half of the 20th century.

Bungalows are square or rectangular in floor plan, usually one or one and one half stories in height with low-pitched overhanging roofs, and often include large front porches with heavy porch columns. The columns may be tapered, square, paired, or set upon stone or brick piers.  Bungalows usually have a front facing gable on a front porch, a projecting dormer or at the main roof line. The overhanging eaves usually have exposed roof rafters or decorative braces and stickwork.  Bungalows are often of clapboard or wood shingle, but may also be of  stone, brick, concrete block  or stucco. Less commonly, bungalows of log construction were built in a subtype sometimes described as Adirondack Lodge Bungalows.  Another hallmark of the Bungalow style is an open floor plan of interconnecting rooms, with the front door often opening directly into the living space.

Bungalow style houses can be found throughout the state, in a variety of both high style and vernacular forms. Whole neighborhoods of bungalows developed in the period between 1900 and 1930.