The Value of Details
It was so sad realizing how beautiful the house had once been, but would likely never be again.
But…but…a company which buys old houses, fixes them, and resells them purchased the house. This is normally bad news for an old house as these so-called flippers usually destroy any soul an old house has.
But not always.
Would this old house fare better?
The answer? Scroll way down…
My heart just soared at seeing this!
But then…but then…I kept looking at the archival image, and the new porch, and realized that a lot was, ah, amiss.
Here below, again, is the archival. Can you spot the differences?
The new porch, while a VAST improvement over how it looked in 2014, is different in important ways from what it was in 1876:
- The overall width of the original columns was wider.
- The original columns had TWO pieces of vertical scrollwork. The new columns have ONE.
- The original vertical scrollwork ended at a solid base, the same height of the handrail. Nice. The new scrollwork just…ends. Oddly. And for no reason.
- The scrollwork brackets extending from the new columns appear a good match to the original brackets. Points!
- Between the columns is scrollwork hanging down from the upper beam. The 1876 version was WIDE. The 2018 version is anorexic.
- Particularly egregious is the height of the railings. The new railings are MUCH higher than the originals. This is normally mandated by code but HOW one conforms with code can make all the difference. I would have installed the new rails at the same height as the originals, and then installed a thick steel wire at code height. The wire, visually, disappears. The new rail height makes the whole house look, ah, squatter. And the double-height porches do not look as tall, as airy.
- The new handrails are also much thicker than the 1876 versions. This, combined with the higher height of the railings, wholly alter the appearance of the house. Look at the archival image again. The facade reads as airy and tall (vertical). Today? It reads as squat and horizontal.
What I will never understand is why go 85% rather than 100%? Today, scrollwork is laser-cut via a computer. What used to be prohibitively expensive is no longer. So, why fail the last 15%?
I see this all the time. People replace original porch columns with something thinner and less detailed. Most columns on Queen Anne-style houses were subtly curvaceous. Their replacements never are. Original porch railings are also routinely replaced with lesser versions, and almost always at code height which impacts the proportions of the whole house.
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