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Design Dilemma
Design Dilemma

What color to paint house? What style is it?

hollyfhigginsDecember 7, 2012
My husband and I are currently in the house hunting process. We love this one (especially the interior), but feel the outside is kind of blah as far as the color scheme.

I have two questions:

1) It was built in 1866. Does anyone know the name for what style of house this is (Colonial, etc)? It's in Southeast Michigan, if that helps.

2) I'm having a hard time imagining what color to paint the house and the trim. I wish the brick was left alone, and I imagine it would be a really big hassle to remove the paint... plus, I don't want to sandblast brick that's so old. Any other exterior suggestions (shutters, etc.) would be appreciated. It's also important to me to make the colors look good with the roof.

Pictures of the interior have been included to give you more of a flavor for the home.

Thanks so much!
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Take me home! As a native of NW Ohio, your post brought me home again. I am no architect or anything, just an armchair designer. I remember lots of homes in my little town like your and my first guess is Gothic Revival (vernacular). Most homes in this style are considerably "fancier" with gingerbread cut-outs around the roofline etc so that's why I added the vernacular part.

Anyways, I would say maybe a light buttercream yellow or light charcoal gray if you wanted something more "today". Brick red may look kinda cool too. Let us know what you ultimately do if you buy the house.
1 Like    Bookmark   December 7, 2012 at 7:16AM
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Lee Design and Interiors
Here is a good resource for you to see what different home styles are called with pictures of each to see what your home make look closest too. http://www.frontdoor.com/buy/home-styles-guide-features-and-examples-of-residential-architecture/1088# - Lee Design
1 Like    Bookmark   December 7, 2012 at 7:20AM
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This house has characteristics of a farm house. One option would be to use a darker shade of what is there.

Historic Farm House · More Info
1 Like    Bookmark   December 7, 2012 at 8:07AM
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I looked at Benjamin Moore and kind of like Portland Gray and Revere Pewter.....but they have a nice site with exterior color palettes and pictures......
    Bookmark   December 7, 2012 at 9:04AM
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I think it is a simple Greek Revival farmhouse. I like the two over two windows and I would paint the mullions black or any VERY dark color of your choice. Leave the brick window frames the white trim color and the body of your house a color you love from the BM Historic Color collection
Ester Exterior · More Info
Warren House · More Info

Ashley Gray HC 87 by Benjamin Moore · More Info

Revere Pewter HC-172 Paint · More Info

Edgecomb Gray HC-173 · More Info

Or: how about Michigan Pine? http://ncfstudio.com/product/cece-caldwell-michigan-pine-quart/
1 Like    Bookmark   December 7, 2012 at 10:27AM
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Western Connecticut Saltbox · More Info
    Bookmark   December 7, 2012 at 10:51AM
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STYLE: With the brick and the tall 2 over 2 windows, slight arch on top and the style of the doorway, it may have been Italianate or Greek Revival vernacular originally. I think it leans toward the Italianate.

Gothic Revival vernacular would have some pointed arched windows or hoods and ornamental barge boards, so that doesn't really fit. It would also have a steeper roof. But there are simularities between Farmhouse gothic, Italianate and Greek Revival in their most simple forms. These were all popular in the midwest about the time your house was built and can be loosly called Victorian farmhouse vernacular. Brick versions were a variation, and most versions tend toward Italianate.

COLOR: Light to medium stone like colors would be appropiate, such as the yellow or gray suggested above, perhaps taupe or brown, and with antique white to tan trim, perhaps some green or burgundy. Some of the window and door trim could be picked out in antique white, tans and perhaps some browns or greens. It is very simple house, so the color scheme will be simple too, but a dark front door and picking out some of the details, like the inner window trim, perhaps a bit of the molding around the doors could highlight it.

Whatever you do, DO NOT SANDBLAST the brick! That would expose the soft inner surface of the brick and cause it to crumble. Some old brick was always painted, esp. if the brick was not fired at high temperatures. It may be possible to chemically strip or steam it off, but it is a tedious and expensive process.

WHY: Gable (the pointed part of the roof) and Ell (a side extension) is a common design for Victorian houses, but it is uncommon for the main door to be in the gable. Typically, the porch and door were nestled in the ell, so to me that would indicate that the gable portion was built first.

It is possible that the original house was the gable portion with a small portico (square porch), but not too long after it was built, the farmer was able to build the side addition, and the porch extension. The brick wall in the kitchen is near the small front door, so that makes me think that that wall is part of the original house. This house doesn't have the typical cornice and brackets, but some country versions did not, or they could have been removed. 1866 is right when this style was extremely popular and common--it hit its peak of popularity right before 1870.

Then probably at some point more recently it lost its porch pillars and maybe had a door added in and the spindels removed and the apron filled in.

If I could see the window detail, the cornice, the front door and the stairwell better, it would be easier to identify the style. I think I can see some cornice detail and window trim that the white paint obscures, and it looks like it still has most of the original windows, which is a good thing. Keep the windows if you buy it. Adding storms is just as energy efficent as replacement, and a lot cheaper. They add a lot of character to the house.

RENOVATION :The first thing I would do is check the footings for the porch and level it. Then I would replace the columns with something more appropiate, maybe a simple square column, perhaps with a bit of molding and chamfered edges, and beef up the lintel, unless you can find documentation for something more elaborate. And then paint.

Later, I would expand the back patio or deck and soften the landscaping in front, add some to the back..

The interior appears to be in excellent shape, which is a plus. Please keep the old woodwork and the original windows--it has such a nice warm tone to it.

LINKS: Here are some decent guides to Italiante architecture and Italiante paint colors and some pics of Italianate brick houses, some fancier than yours.:

(lots of pictures)

http://www.historichousecolors.com/precivwar.html (all of these color combinations could work)

http://www.oldhouseweb.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=9420 (excellent links)

http://www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/photos/0,,20585514,00.html (different choices for 1893 house, first one best for your house, but can go brighter if you wish)

http://www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/photos/0,,20637377,00.html (also includes tips for online paint visualizers)
6 Likes    Bookmark   December 7, 2012 at 11:36AM
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Rio Brewster
This seems to be a theme since gray is THE color right now - so I will post my caveat.

If Michigan is anything like Illinois in the winter, just think about how gray everything is by the end of January - and how long it stays that way. The last thing I would want is a gray house to go with the gray skies and dirty snow.

If you do go gray - make sure you have a vibrant and cheery accent color.
4 Likes    Bookmark   December 7, 2012 at 1:04PM
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ct design studio
I also believe this to be a Greek Revival, there's nothing that makes me think otherwise. You could go classic white with black or charleston green (a blackened green) or something taupey on the base with trim in creamy tone with accents of dark green, burgundy etc. Looks like it's in overall good condition with lots of original details, good luck!
1 Like    Bookmark   December 7, 2012 at 1:26PM
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This is a Victorian era home that has a Greek revival look to me. I second judyg suggestions. Also, if you do get this house, maybe you can replace the seconardy door on the front with a window.

groveraxle, a saltbox has a gable end that goes from the second story to the first in the rear of the house as in the picture you supplied. It was called this because it looked like the box that was used to store salt.
1 Like    Bookmark   December 7, 2012 at 3:46PM
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Greek Revival and Italianate are nearly identical in their simpliest forms. The lack of eave returns and the projection of the window into the gable, and the windows made me classify it as Italianate. Without original porch and other details, it is hard to tell. The styles did mingle as well and have overlapping characteristics, so it may be splitting hairs. Holly probably doesn't care, but I find it interesting.

Square porch pillars are you best bet unless you document otherwise. Italianates had a variety of porch pillar and trim styles--that and the cornice would be the primary difference between the styles for a brick house. Paint colors were similar--both had light-to-medium stone or maybe light salmon or yellow like colors, plus natural brick or stone. Italianate had sometimes darker body colors and either darker or lighter trim, and Greek Revival was mostly light.

A variety of color schemes would be appropiate. Or you could go with something brighter and less historic. Colorful doors are a modern thing, but do look nice on a variety of house styles. Still, when these houses are done in historic colors, they tend to look their best I think.


and the area around Ann Arbor is a hotbed of Greek Revival :

Note that most of these are now white--how boring!

Some confusion may occur because MODERN plan book companies and real estate guides call most farmhouse styles like this "Greek Revival" and a modern "Italianate" is a fancy "Italian" villa, not anything close to the variety of venacular homes built 150 years ago. And even architectural historians can disagree on a building's classification..

Here's some Greek Revival farmhouses built mostly in the 1850s, as you can see they are quite similar to the Italianates: The final one combines elements of both styles circa 1860, with a bit of Carpenter Gothic in the porch edging, and Italianate style doors and porch pillars and trim and uses a yellow brick.

Anyway, It looks like a great house and a nice location. I hope you buy it.
1 Like    Bookmark   December 7, 2012 at 4:02PM
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Not any shade of grey. It is grey all winter here in Michigan in a way those of you who aren't here can't imagine. The house is lovely. Cream with dark mullions might be gorgeous. Cream with medium green mullions?
3 Likes    Bookmark   December 7, 2012 at 4:20PM
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Something like this.
    Bookmark   December 7, 2012 at 5:26PM
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Shar Buse_Croy_Wilbert
It would be really nice if you could add a wrap around porch on the house with heavy columns.....the roof on the existing porch looks weak.....then sided it in a Vanilla color and add Dark Green shutters....
    Bookmark   December 7, 2012 at 5:51PM
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Shar Buse_Croy_Wilbert
woops...just noticed u r painting...same color scheme as I suggested ;)
    Bookmark   December 7, 2012 at 5:52PM
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I love historic homes. I'm sure you can find a color that will be attractive and standout without looking like a circus tent there in the Michigan landscape, but I definitely think that you need to paint the house a color and the windows and porch details something different. Some posters have already given you a lot of info about styles, but-like many houses here its probably not just one style, and as old as it is its had lots of stuff removed or added, I'm sure, over the years. If you buy it, you can always try and do some research into its history, From just a generic POV, I think its a nice, comfy, farmhouse that needs another family to house for another generation.
I also love that brick wall in the kitchen. So many decorating possibilities with that.
Anyway, if the color is all that's stopping you, that really is a simple fix. So, good luck.
1 Like    Bookmark   December 7, 2012 at 6:50PM
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Interesting, informative and fun thread.
Have to share this pix.
Island-Time Living · More Info
    Bookmark   December 8, 2012 at 7:10AM
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ct design studio
victorianbungalowranch is right that you can't use today's categories and real estate listings to correctly identify a style, seems like everything is either a colonial or ranch by their standards. Anyways I put my money on Greek Revival based on size, footprint/floorplan of house, shallow pitch in roof vs square roofline, shallow overhang, low interior ceilings, window detail, shallow foundation. Things do get muddled over the years and this was probably a farmhouse so it was probably pretty simple from the beginning. Regardless I think you are getting a lot of great color suggestions. Also if you buy it, you can check around with the courthouse (city and county), library and any other local archives you can find to possibly find an old picture of the house that may give you an idea of what you want to do.
1 Like    Bookmark   December 8, 2012 at 7:29AM
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It never ceases to amaze me how thorough, knowledgeable, and generous people are in these threads. Thank you so much for all of your suggestions.

I'm a 'newbie' to being interested in homes and architecture. I'm young and a first-time homebuyer, but I've developed this overwhelming love of old homes (I rarely like anything pre-1930s.) This site has been so helpful.

I often don't know terms people use on here: gables, eaves, lintel, etc. Can anyone recommend a comprehensive primer (site or book) about basic architectural terms and history?

If you Google '224 Grove Ypsilanti,' you can find the listing and pics. Some of the remodeling is too modern. I would want to make the bathrooms and kitchen more classic.

The ceilings are actually VERY high. There is a mix of oak floor and wide plank flooring through the house.

What do you all thimk about a light sage, grayish green for the exterior? Thanks so much!
4 Likes    Bookmark   December 8, 2012 at 7:58AM
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Light sage / grayish-green would look pretty, if you keep the trim white. I like some of the other suggestions too though. Definitely a Greek Revival farmhouse! Love the simplicity and elegant proportions. The roof does look like it might need repair in the not-too-distant future -- did you have the house inspected, and did they tell you anything about how old your current roof is?
    Bookmark   December 8, 2012 at 8:05AM
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ct design studio
Ok I couldn't resist looking at your listing, love the interior brick! The wing may have originally been a sleeping porch or summer kitchen and eventually closed in, hence the brick wall. Some things like the fan, track lighting etc are modern but looks like in overall good condition. I see now how high the ceilings are, couldn't from the first pics. There's a good chance the beams were not originally exposed, by the 1860s plaster was generally used to create proper ceilings. The open vault will make the space harder to heat so whether you keep them or not is up to you. The original floors in this part of the country were generally wide planked pine, narrow oak planks if you had money.

What knowledge I have has come from schooling and experience so I'm afraid I don't have any books on my bookshelf I would recommend. Every style evolves from something else and comes back a time or two so it's very evolutionary. I would visit a bookstore and thumb through a few books on American homes in this time period and find something that looks helpful to you. In the meantime there's the good ol' internet where terms like lintel and eaves can be googled.
    Bookmark   December 8, 2012 at 8:16AM
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The roof is actually in really great shape. That picture was taken at a weird angle and makes it look like it's caving in. It's a slope... I wish there were more of a separation, though. The house is in awesome shape. No inspection yet -- we're putting in an offer soon. New electric, plumbing, attic, it's ductwd but not in an ugly way, the basement is DRY, the attic is new, it has first floor laundry... sigh. Most houses we like hav e a ton wrong with them. The only thing we would need to do is change cosmetic things to our taste and do a few external upgrades (porch posts, etc.)
4 Likes    Bookmark   December 8, 2012 at 8:23AM
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ct design studio
Well the brick walls will kind of dictate what you can and can't do with HVAC, electrical and plumbing, but overall it sounds like you found a real gem! Just make sure you get that inspection, good luck!

Oh, yeah grayish/green sage would be pretty with light trim and a cranberry or aubergine door.
2 Likes    Bookmark   December 8, 2012 at 8:40AM
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Ha! I didn't mean to sound naieve with my comment about asking for resources. I have been Googling things and poking around online, but just wanted to know if anyone had suggestions for comprehensive beginner's resources.
    Bookmark   December 8, 2012 at 9:00AM
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I got my first intro to architecture in a great Fine Arts class in college. The prof was so interesting. Anyway, start your educ right here on houzz and take a look at these ideabooks. >:)
    Bookmark   December 8, 2012 at 9:14AM
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ct design studio
You don't sound naive. I never had much luck researching online, finding vague, generic websites or snippets of someone's thesis put up by a university. Books have been more helpful for me, but like judyg said, houzz has some nice ideabooks.

Ideabook: Timeline of American House Styles · See Ideabook
    Bookmark   December 8, 2012 at 9:33AM
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I'm glad the roof is in great shape, but DO have an inspection when considering purchasing such an old house. Sometimes there are hidden issues which cost thousands. (I love old houses too -- just know that they can become money pits.)
    Bookmark   December 8, 2012 at 10:25AM
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Here is a long list of old house resources that I use quite a bit and find to be accurate and useful.

I need to look up my hazardous materials lists for another post. If you have children and plan on doing a lot of demolition or window replacement (please don't) or paint stripping, you need to pay particular care, perhaps even keeping the pre-schoolers at grandma's house until the demolition is cleaned up.

I think the color you picked could be very nice. Restoring an old house can be like writing a good detective novel--it takes a lot of research to pull the parts together, but it can be rewarding in the end. You may find clues by talking to past owners, old pictures, digging around in the attic or basement or accessory structures and talking to neighbors. You may also find a lot of resources at the local library and historical society.

I think you can keep the current porch roof if you level it. That may require some pillar replacement, maybe some structural reinforcement (looks like the middle post was doubled--but may have been screened in at some point) and perhaps railing replacement (which is the detail most people get wrong). Wood has quite a bit of flex to it if you are careful.

This is a pretty full list--I got to admit, even though I went to school for this sort of stuff, I'm still learning terminology and so forth!

Illustrated Dictionaries:

The BEST for basic terminology and lots of pictures!: http://www.historichawaii.org/HPRC/howto/chapters/Chap_5.pdf

Unfortunately, you have to know what term you are looking for to use thee:
http://www.buffaloah.com/a/DCTNRY/vocab.html (museum of architecture--lots of links and detail)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glossary_of_architecture (has some of the more obscure terms)


About.com has a very good tutorial on historic rsidential architecture and related topics. It also has active links and definitions for any terminology within the style descriptions, which come in handy. It and eHow have some pretty good info on how to clean masonry, etc... http://architecture.about.com/cs/schoolsstudyhelp/a/research.htm
AntiqueHomeStyle.com has some good information and original plans, but mostly post 1900. Lots of original renderings. Excellent basic style guide post-1900 http://www.antiquehomestyle.com/styles/
See also AntiqueHome.com http://www.antiquehome.org/Architectural-Style/ And

AntiqueHomesMagazine.com is mainly real estate listings of historic homes, but it has a brief style guide on pre-1900 homes, but the pics are pretty small and unfortunately not as many examples http://www.antiquehomesmagazine.com/info.php?info_id=5 (click on the styles navigation link for drop down box of styles)

Bob Vilas left the "This Old House" crew and created his own website, which tends to be more DIY than This Old House. Some good stuff, but the articles tend to be rather general. The style guide focuses on venacular housing styles

Dove publications has lots of inexpensive reprints of old plan books, furniture, etc..Some are coloring books, but are still worthwhile.

If you are interested in authentic mid-1800 rural style, Dearfield Village is an excellent resource. The movies of "Little Women" and "Gone with the Wind" are pretty good too, and there are a number of nice house museums areound.

I find doing Google Image searches and searches on PinInterest and Flicker useful for house, garden and interior styles, but you have to keep an eye out for the authentic versus a modern or remodeled version, or something that siimply is a totally different style. Houzz isn't that good for authentic historic house styles--more on historically-inspired styles. Use a variety of keywords for the best results. There are a number of excellent old house blogs out there too.

Renovation Guides:

Old House Journal has some good articles and the old compendiums (out of print now) are worth checking out. Best source I found on repairing old plaster. This Old House is geared more for renovation, and too high end for my tastes, but there is some good info there too.

These are excellent sources for wood windows:
http://starcraftcustombuilders.com/windows.htm (excellent summary of benefits of keeping them)
http://www.historichomeworks.com/hhw/reports/reports.htm (THE window guy, also has book, lots of useful videos and safety tips)
http://www.oldewindowrestorer.com/steamstripper.html (safer and more economical than other methods)

Other technical issues--the authority, the National Park Service, Preservation Services Division: http://www.nps.gov/tps/index.htm
Preservation Briefs: http://www.nps.gov/tps/how-to-preserve/briefs.htm (tuckpointing brick, etc...)

Old House Guy is entertaining and has the best guide to porch railings and porportion and how to avoid common renovation style mistakes. I don't agree with everything he says, but he makes some good points. http://www.oldhouseguy.com/

Plus an excellent reference list (many of these you can probably get through the library)

Reader Digest and other basic DIY books are worthwhile, especially the older ones that detail traditional carpentry and window repair.

Reference books for your home:

(probably can borrow from library, but nice to have own copy)

The standard reference on American architectural styles

Good all-around reference for fixing up old houses

http://www.amazon.com/Working-Windows-3rd-Repair-Restoration/dp/1599213117/ref=pd_bxgy_b_text_y Good basic book on window repair
(Leek's book is excellent but is $40)

Get Your House Right--a guide to avoiding common mistakes in proprotion and detail. Particularly importatnt for a simple and dignified older homes like yours--don't try to fancy it up too much..
1 Like    Bookmark   December 8, 2012 at 12:13PM
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Holly almost bought another historic house nearby. I hope you shared the info I gave you with the realtor on that one--I thought it was a diamond in the rough.


You must have an affinity for that period of house! Both are very nice with loads of potential. I actually like the opened up and more modern kitchen in this one--it can be a nice contrast to the rest of the house, and the construction looks well done, the old doors and such were kept and respected the original fabric of the building.

Good luck on house #2!
    Bookmark   December 8, 2012 at 1:04PM
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Victorianbungalowranch, I LOVED the other house, but it had several issues, including a bad roof and severely sloped floors. I did share your extremely helpful info with the seller, who turned out to be my landlord... I had no idea! She said she almost wished she wasn't moving so she coud implement your ideas. I really was heartbroken that the home needed more work than I thought.

I like pre-30s homes in general, and craftsman bungalows are my favorite, but homes in this style are a little more common in the area. I like the modern kitchen in this one, too, but don't care for the cabinets and the fake granite inlay. If we buy it, I want to give the kitchen more of a farmhouse look and make the bathrooms more era-appropriate. I am a gardening nut, too, and the huge, sunny backyard is a dreamy blank canvas.

I would love it if you could point me to some info on storming old windows and making them more energy efficient. I'd definitely like to keep the originals.
    Bookmark   December 8, 2012 at 2:16PM
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Ah, nevermind, you posted window stuff already. Thank you! I don't plan on doing any demolition... just new tile and fixtures in the bathrooms and new cabinets. I also plan to have someone refinish the painted wide plank floors upstairs. I'll keep you posted on whether we buy. I am so excited!
    Bookmark   December 8, 2012 at 2:57PM
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Ah, nevermind, you posted window stuff already. Thank you! I don't plan on doing any demolition... just new tile and fixtures in the bathrooms and new cabinets. I also plan to have someone refinish the painted wide plank floors upstairs. I'll keep you posted on whether we buy. I am so excited!
    Bookmark   December 8, 2012 at 2:58PM
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Leigh Durand
Always test your colour! Depending on the light, colours can be bleached out or intensified.
    Bookmark   December 8, 2012 at 3:22PM
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Those cabinets are in good condition. I would look into painting or refinishing first before replacement--that really adds up in a hurry. Haven't tried the Rustoleum yet, but have heard good things here about it.

It is a tight market and she will probably have to do the repairs or reduce the price to sell it. A floor can be leveled fairly reasonably with jackposts (assuming she has a basement). If it is just a crawlspace, that's harder of course, depending on the depth. I kind of fell in love with it too, and the garden was georgous.

Countertops are easily replaced and put your money there. Even formica custom fabricated on plywood can look nice--either retro with the metal banding, or done to look like a piece of soapstone or something. Much cheaper too. Butcher block (can get reasonably from IKEA) is another option that is quite historic--once all counters were wood, with zinc or soapstone or porcelian for the sink, unfitted of course. Obviously anything you put in will be a whole lot different from the original, but maybe you can incoporate some touches of the old, like a farmtable and chairs, or a Hoosier cabinet, a farmhouse sink (salvage or IKEA). I have some ideabooks on historic kitchens and retro style and have posted a lot of stuff about 1920s-1960s kitchens.

AntiqueHomeStyle is an execellent resource for that, and 1912 Bungalow http://1912bungalow.com/2011/03/before-kitchens-were-gathering-areas/ has lots of pics of old kitchens and bathrooms.

Here is some more window stuff I posted recently--http://www.houzz.com/discussions/265169/Stay-with-old-wood-Anderson-windows-or-update-

Michigan Historic Preservation Network trains workmen to fix windows--maybe you can get a referral. It isn't that hard if they are in decent shape, but is time-consuming. I'm on the 3 year plan myself with my windows--done a little at a time, and then some new paint for the whole house once I do the surface prep and caulking.

I have a bungalow that actually predates 1894, but has been through several extreme makeovers during its lifespan. I like most periods of homes, but the early 20th century bungalows and revivals are my favorites. At least for now....I also own a venacular farmhouse type house, now a duplex, circa 1903, and that one is built to last...Each house has a personality, and each room can reflect a different aspect of its history.
1 Like    Bookmark   December 8, 2012 at 4:38PM
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Dawn Cook Design
Check out 23550 Fairmount Blvd in Shaker Heights, OH. Looks very similar but with a reverse porch. The owners removed (saved) the old windows but for the most part, everything was left as it was found. I will confirm the color if you like it.
    Bookmark   December 9, 2012 at 6:46AM
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I wouldn't go grey, only because, as stated above, winters are very grey for such a long time here. I love the clay, terracotta, brick-red tone photos above with a dark shutter and light trim, although the buttery yellow and olive is pretty too. I would say, just find a photo that you instantly love and go with it.
2 Likes    Bookmark   December 9, 2012 at 7:21AM
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Kathryn Peltier Design
Hi Holly: I am actually familiar with that area! ( I live in an 1890 Victorian in Northville) At first I thought that this house was in the historical area of Ypsilanti, and I was going to suggest taking a cue from neighboring houses for color, but I believe that this house is more in a mixed area of housing (newer and older) - am I thinking of the right area? Anyway, if that is the case, I think you can go in any direction you would like with color, and I would go with a color as opposed to a neutral. The photo is a little fuzzy, but it looks like you may have brick lintels (curved portion of brick) over the windows? If this is the case, I would go with a 3-color paint scheme: the body (brick) of the house, the trim and the window muntins. When I put together a scheme like this, I usually use 2 shades of one color with a 3rd as an accent (e.g. a darker green on the body, a lighter green on the trim and a pale wheat color on the muntins). Or how about a darker wheat on the body, a lighter wheat on the trim and a dark green on the muntins? The possibilities are endless. I agree about gray - there is just too much opportunity for color here which will make this house a standout, to go with a light gray (although dark gray with an interesting accent could work).

I don't mind the kitchen cabinets - I think the door style is appropriate -, although the kitchen looks a bit dark for such dark cabinets. I used Benjamin Moore Cabinet Coat at our cottage. There is a Benjamin Moore paint store, I believe, right on Washtenaw just East of 23 (North side) - Anderson's? Go and talk to them about it. I believe the paint was about $60/gallon, but you don't need to prime. I got very good results with it and you can get it in any BM color. I love the exposed brick wall - we had this in our previous house in Northville, which was an 1870 Italianate. You can do so much with this space. I redid the kitchen in our current house. I wanted to keep the feeling of the period in the details (trim, cabinet door style), but a kitchen - unless you go with the period-styled appliances, which I personally don't like and which are also exceedingly expensive - has to include modern appliances. I like this mix, and I think it makes a home more interesting, I will post a photo of our kitchen, because we have painted cabinets and a similar space (although ours was done over 20 years ago). The countertop can be easily replaced, and you have a huge opportunity to do a wonderful backsplash (are you familiar with Virginia Tile in Farmington Hills - you need a field trip!)

Victorianbungalow has given you a wealth of information and resources. I would also mention that EMU has a Historic Preservation program, so you could always contact them for local resources, too. As the owner of several old houses, as well as the designer/planner for many more, the house has so much potential to be absolutely charming, and as long as it is structurally sound, it seems like a winner (I would try to pretty aggressively negotiate that price though - things are still not bouncing back around here.) Oh, and I love the backyard, too (there is that Heritage Rose Co, somewhere around Ypsi - perfect opportunity)
Project: Ambrose/Peltier Kitchen · See Project
1 Like    Bookmark   December 9, 2012 at 8:32AM
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I live in an area with a lot of victorian style houses, so people do use colour. I suggest a nice yellow with white trim. Whenever I pass a couple of neighbours houses that are yellow I always feel good!
1 Like    Bookmark   December 9, 2012 at 6:10PM
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Italianate style. I would go with Benjamin Moore "stony brook" with white trim and. Black door. The color looks good all year and changes with the time of day and weather. It's a great color, it's old fashioned and different.
    Bookmark   December 9, 2012 at 8:07PM
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Cat Rowe
I would paint the outside a butter or polen colour. Cute house Holly. Love your mature trees!
Good luck! Cat Rowe
1 Like    Bookmark   December 9, 2012 at 8:26PM
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How nice to hear from a local! The house is indeed in the historical district of Ypsilanti, which is an incredible resource I haven't tapped yet. It doesn't have a historic plaque, though I would like to go to them and find out what I could do renovation/modification-wise to get a plaque on the house. It's directly across the street from the Gilbert Mansion (second down on this page: http://www.yhf.org/before_and_after.html), and because the home is on a hill, it overlooks the mansion and the city of Ypsilanti at night, providing a wonderful sunset view.

I'm excited to check out Virginia Tile! If we get the home, I definitely want to replace the ugly tile in both bathrooms with something period-specific. I'll definitely need to check out the rose place, too. There are several great antique stores in the area, and my in-laws live near Marshall, Michigan, which is a hotbed of antique stores (including an antique hardware store ... swoon).

Your kitchen is gorgeous! I've thought about painting the cabinets a similar blueish-greenish-gray, though my heart has always been partial to white cabinets with a bit of open shelving.

A friend of my landlord's has his degree in historical preservation from EMU. While a degree in the subject is a far-off "maybe someday" dream, I've been meaning to check and see if they have non-degree or certificate-type programs available... even some sort of adult education weekend course.

mbmckenna, the stonybrook color is wonderful -- exactly what I had in mind. I worry it might be a touch too dark, but I think I'd order a couple of sample cans of that color and a shade or two lighter.
1 Like    Bookmark   December 10, 2012 at 10:17AM
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ct design studio
victorianbungalowranch-can't wait to dig into some of these websites, thanks for sharing!
    Bookmark   December 10, 2012 at 10:21AM
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Kathryn Peltier Design
Hi Holly: I have been to that antique hardware place in Marshall and I have been on the house tour there a couple of times - it's a darling town. There are so many cool homes in Ypsi - I certainly hope you get this one! The location sounds just charming :-)

Virginia Tile carries everything from builder's price stuff to the VERY expensive. If you happen to be looking for the traditional hex tile at some point, American Olean has a very reasonably priced tile. They will also do borders of the hex tile, and you can select the colors. Just a little FYI.

I painted my cottage cabinets white and installed glass in one cabinet and painted the back in turquoise. Again, I would highly recommend the Benjamin Moore Cabinet Coat product.

One more place you might want to scout out if you are looking for cool antique pieces is Senate Antiques in downtown Detroit. https://plus.google.com/110815077448527172527/about?gl=us&hl=en They have some cool old architectural pieces (fences, columns, corbels, etc.) When I was there Saturday, they had a ton of old turbines (the big bubble kind which went on industrial buildngs). Another place I've found some cool stuff in the past is Larry's Building Materials
http://directory.metrotimes.com/larry+s+building+materials+used-everything+for+the+home+used+doors-windows-sas+used-everything+for+the+home+used+doors-windows-sas.9.112607755p.home.html It's in a not-great area, so go with someone. They used to have a parking lot of old claw-foot tubs, etc. but I haven't been there in quite a long time. I have also found some very cool stuff at the Ann Arbor Reuse It Center. It is DIRT cheap there!

Anyway, let us know what happens. I wish you luck and hope it turns out in your favor!
    Bookmark   December 10, 2012 at 3:34PM
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