COFFEE BREAK RECAP – This month’s “coffee break” video recap focuses on various questions and answers related to historic buildings, preservation and restoration. Watch below.

 

VIDEO SUMMARY:

  • Focus: Questions and answers
  • Questions: What is an appropriate Colonial fireplace design? How do you tackle mold on siding? Does an asymmetrical façade/porch on a duplex imply that modifications were made? What are plantation shutters vs. louvered shutters?
  • Solutions: Danielle and Jonathan discussed answers to the questions and provided other information:
       

    1. COLONIAL FIREPLACE ANSWER – know your period style
      -Consider design in keeping with your time period of choice. In this case, the home dates to the mid-1700s, but the room in which the fireplace in question is located includes updates from the 1950s and the 1970s. Knowing these approximate time periods and style differences is an important starting point when deciding what to preserve or restore. This information suggests that restoring the fireplace to fit the home’s original build period of the Colonial era is the best way to create a seamless aesthetic. Danielle suggests referencing the book Early Domestic Architecture of Pennsylvania by Eleanor Raymond for more ideas appropriate to the time period.
    2. MANAGING MOLD ON SIDING ANSWER – sometimes the simplest answer is the best
      -Consider simple options first. In the example case, a barn was converted into a house. A few years ago they put pine siding onto it. Unfortunately, it is plagued by mold and mildew and typical treatments were not working. However, OxiClean did an effective job as a spot-treatment, and the homeowners planned to follow through on the entire project by hiring a power washing company who planned to use bleach in the water. Jonathan suggested the addition of a soft bristle brush to extend the work of the power washing. 
    3. ASYMMETRICAL FACADE ON DUPLEX ANSWER – asymmetry may suggest updates
      -Notable asymmetry on an otherwise symmetrical/mirror image duplex often indicates modifications were made to the original design. In this case, as you’ll also see in our previous video, the historic duplex’s changes to the porch on the left side reveals visual clues indicated it was a later update.
    4. PLANTATION VS. LOUVERED SHUTTERS ANSWER – same style, few differences
      -These styles are essentially the same with minor differences. Plantation shutters are a type of louvered shutter, typical of large plantation homes of the south. Jonathan and Danielle discuss the main differences between the types of louvered shutters. 

IF YOU WANT TO DO SOMETHING THAT CAN BE UNDONE, FEEL FREE TO DO IT –
otherwise issues like some of those above will be significant in the future.

 

BONUS:

  • Watch to the end of the video to see our guest viewer’s home’s historic fabric and unique historical features!

Coffee Break RECAP: Shutters

COFFEE BREAK RECAP – This month’s “coffee break” video recap focuses on identifying shutters by style and age, as well as how to strip louvered shutters for repairing and repainting. Watch below.

 

VIDEO SUMMARY:

  • Focus: Shutters, including stripping paint from louvered shutters, differences between original, modern, and regional shutters, and Danielle’s pet peeves with fake shutters 
  • Question: How do you restore louvered shutters – specifically, how do you strip the paint to prepare them for restoration?
  • Solutions: Danielle and Jonathan discussed answers to the question and provided other relevant shutter information:
       

    1. RESTORATION – follow the 80/20 rule of restoration
           – Consider doing (some of) the work yourself. 80% of restoration requires only semi-skilled labor, and the other 20% requires skilled labor. Following this rule saves you a lot of money in the long run. Start by stripping paint yourself. But remember: stripping paint – especially from louvered shutters – is time-consuming and labor-intensive. It can take approximately 16 hours per shutter.
           – Use Bahco scrapers made from carbide – they come in various sizes so you can pick the right ones to fit between louvres. They can also be sharpened with a diamond sharpener, lengthening their life.
           – Find a local craftsperson to repair the shutters.
           – Paint the repaired shutters yourself.
           – If it can’t be restored or saved, find a local craftsperson to custom build new “old” shutters
      – strong, sturdy woods such as white oak, mahogany, or sapele are best
    2. STYLES of shutters
           – Historic, classical shutters include various styles. Board-and-batten shutters, solid raised panel shutters, and louvered shutters are common in historic homes. 
           – Post-WWII shutters are usually mass-produced and less functional, and in many cases, only decorative. Dupes of traditional louvered shutters are identifiable by “tells” including glue or biscuits in place of mortise and tenon joints, easy rot, shutters that are not comparable in size or shape to the window they adjoin, or shutters that are affixed directly to the wall behind them.
    3. PROBLEMS with modern shutters – pet peeves and DON’TS that make you shudder!
           – Visually unappealing – especially when they don’t match size or shape of adjoining window
           – Glue or biscuit-attached louvers are more likely to break apart and rot
           – No copper caps on top of shutters lead to more rot
           – 2nd growth wood – poor quality and leads to rot
           – Affixed directly to the wall behind them – increases propensity to rot or create negative chemical reactions

POORLY DESIGNED MODERN SHUTTERS COST MORE MONEY IN THE LONG RUN
than restoring sound historical shutters!

 

Further resources:

  • History of shutters, here.